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Author Topic:   What was your first astronaut autograph?
Ken Havekotte

Posts: 2299
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 02-05-2004 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What was your first astronaut autograph?

I've been asked this question before as an avid space buff and collector. In thinking back throughout 35+ years or so, my very first autograph came from, no other than the elusive and usually non-signer, Bill Anders!

My Dad had just retired from the Air Force in 1968 and moved the family, when I was 12, to Florida's Space Coast on Merritt Island, home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Launch Complex 39. My parents purchased a home on the south-side of the Island in which the street, at that time, was a dirt road.

Our next door neighbor was one of the original Space Task Group workers (retired) and his daughter worked at KSC's Flight Crew Training Building where all the Apollo flight crews were in constant training around the clock. She knew, even at my early age, that I appeared to be very interested and enthusiastic when talking about rockets, space travel and the astronauts.

One day in early/mid Dec. 1968, she brought over for me my first astronaut autograph ever... an Apollo 8 crew-patch cachet cover (also my first-ever space envelope even though it was never stamped or postmarked) autographed especially for me, she said, by Bill Anders while he was taking a break from simulator training where she worked as a branch secretary.

Within a short period of time from receiving that gift from her, of course, Anders was on his way to orbiting the moon along with crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell. I still have that autographed cover and I consider it one of my best autographs of Anders.

Still, as a young teenager during NASA's Golden Era of manned spaceflight, there were many other early astronaut autographs that I was able to obtain in-person. Many while viewing Apollo and Skylab launches into space from KSC's VIP viewing site areas, functions and even launch-related parties here on the Space Coast. Some of my early favorites along with many fond memories are: McDivitt, Conrad, Young, Irwin, Lovell, Mitchell, Duke, Anders (again, but at the VIP site), Cernan, Stafford, Bean, Evans, Schmitt, Slayton and Brand (just to name a few).


Posts: 1537
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-05-2004 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph was an 8x10 OSS of Franklin Chang-Diaz. The second was John Glenn. Both of them are my one of my favorite and have a special part in my collection for being the first.


Posts: 502
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 02-05-2004 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe my first autograph was a Deke Slayton space shots card. Oh how it opened up a fantastic hobby for me. Hundreds of Astronaut and Cosmonaut autographs later the hobby is still just as much fun.

Andy McCulley

Posts: 230
From: Lansdale, PA USA
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 02-05-2004 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy McCulley   Click Here to Email Andy McCulley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph was Neil Armstrong on a piece of my personal stationary. At that time I wasn't actually planning on collecting.

I was so dumb back then, I didn't know collectors' groups existed. It was Vivian White that explained to me that Neil didn't sign philatelic material. I actually spoke to Neil Armstrong on the phone then.

That was what got me into this wonderful hobby

Ed Krutulis

Posts: 145
From: Plainfield, IL USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 02-05-2004 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed Krutulis   Click Here to Email Ed Krutulis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Glenn got me hooked on our hobby.


Posts: 201
From: Duluth,Ga.
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-05-2004 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul   Click Here to Email Paul     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was from Gus Grissom way back in 1961, shortly after his sub-orbital flight! Still have it!


Posts: 79
From: Johnson City, TN
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-05-2004 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sthomas9999     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was A Neil Armstrong WSS I bought from Peachstate in 1999. I learned last summer the autograph was a fake. Mr Frohman gave me a refund, and I now have an authetic Armstrong WSS in my collection. All ended well.


Posts: 41
From: Charlotte, NC, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 02-05-2004 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for redstorm63   Click Here to Email redstorm63     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was actually Alan Shepard during his Moon Shot booktour in 1994. It was Father's Day 1994 and I was 14 at the time and I had begged my father all week to go and he finally said yes, so I have my signed copy of Moon Shot as my first astronaut autograph.


Posts: 900
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 02-05-2004 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was Jim Lovell. I got him to sign my copy of Lost Moon last summer. I received the book the day after my 44th birthday. I grew up with the space program but I never dreamed that getting the astronauts to sign prints or books was possible. I know that my collection will never approach those of people that started as kids but that is ok.

I envy those that were able to collect while they were young. Be proud of what you have.


Posts: 280
From: Columbus, Ohio USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-05-2004 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DSeuss5490   Click Here to Email DSeuss5490     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back in the early 80's I inherited a massive collection of signed autograph books from my grandfather. I was the only member of a large family that showed any interest at all - I thought they were neat; I didn't care that they might be valuable.

My grandfather was a station master/post master for almost 50 years at a large railroad terminal in New York. He collected autographs from Presidents, entertainers and notables such as Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, New York sports legends, even Einstein and Walt Disney who drew a crude Mickey Mouse sketch on one page. This collection got me hooked.

I started writing to people personally back when it was relatively easy. I remember seeing an ad in the Pen and Quill magazine where for $5 you could send away for a NASA crew litho and the address of the three Apollo 11 astronauts -- or send them $100 for one already signed by the crew. There was no way I could save up $100 any time soon working for minimum wage, plus I was looking forward to the challenge.

The information I received stated that Neil Armstrong was for sure the best bet for a quick response. When I arrived home from school, just a few days after I mailed the photo, my mom said that Neil Armstrong's office had called! Apparently my photo arrived bent and they wanted to know if I cared if it was replaced with a different picture -- a single photo of Mr. Armstrong(WSS).

For whatever reason my mom told the lady who called that I was really looking forward to having the entire Apollo 11 crew signed photo in my collection, but the photo of Mr. Armstrong would be wonderful just the same. Exactly four days later two signed photos came to me with Neil Armstrong's return address -- a new crew litho AND a signed WSS (as well as my bent photo!).

It was such a wonderful early experience for me; definitely the reason why I got hooked into space memorabilia collecting.


Posts: 1079
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 02-05-2004 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph -- and somewhat "space" related -- was a Buster Crabbe signed Flash Gordon black and white photo. When I was growing up, my father introduced me to the world of old time radio shows and his favorite serial shows from his youth. Our local PBS station would show Flash Gordon on Saturday's and I was hooked!

A little later in school -- some 25 years ago -- I was introduced to the Who's Who books... and thought, "Now who, of all these famous people in the world, would I want to write to?" You guessed it: Ol' Flash himself. I sent my letter off to him in Arizona and about a week later was thrilled to get an envelope from him. I opened it with great anticipation, and was amazed to see a handwritten note on a 3x5 card. He thanked me for my kind letter, and then told me that he was sorry he could not send me an autographed photo.

Due to the cost to produce quality photos and postage, he wrote, he only answers requests for signed photos if the person sends along $7. (I am not kidding. Crabbe charged seven big ones, 25 years ago -- so he had a head start on all of them!)

I pulled together the cash, put it in an envelope and got the photo. That Christmas, I "ordered" one for my Dad, in which Crabbe signed it to my Dad from me and from "the ol' Flash." Priceless. But also my introduction to the world of "pay to play." I was hooked... and space themes and sci-fi were my thing!

That followed with letters to Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame, Carl Sagan as I was hooked on Cosmos, Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and on and on.

Which ultimately lead to astronauts! My first astronaut was Neil Armstrong. I found his address in Who's WHo and wrote to him, asking to interview him for our school paper. I got a nice note back from Vivian telling me that, do to the volume of requests, Mr. Armstrong could not help me with my request, but hoped I would accept the signed photo instead. What a classy touch: I didn't even ask for it.

This first astronaut autograph is also my first great regret: Due to a cash shortage on my part a few years ago, I sold the photo via RR Enterprises and got a whopping $300 for it. It was a signed WSS litho, in blue, uninscribed -- and a great signature! The only "fault" was a paperclip indention on the upper left hand side. Oh, the humility and regret!!!

Someone out there has got to have it! I sold it, including the original letter of transmittal, which would have included my name and old home address on it. If you've got it, and you ever want to sell it -- do contact me! I'd pay market price to get that treasure back, with letter intact!


Posts: 1365
From: Huntington Beach
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 02-05-2004 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph... a "crew" signed copy of "Night at the Opera," by Queen. (I won a radio station contest to meet the band after a concert.)

My first space autograph was 20 years later and it was Buzz Aldrin. I paid $10 to buy a WSS Kodak at the charity event for Buzz to sign. I thought that was a lot at the time!


Posts: 1868
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 02-05-2004 10:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph came when I met my first astronaut, Mario Runco, as he gave a speech at City College (where he went to school) in New York. He was rather friendly to me; I think he sensed I had an interest in the space program as compared to most of the people there.

On edit: It just occurred to me that my first astronaut autograph was not Runco... it was Jeff Ashby. First time I ever went to Florida was to see STS-93 launch (well, I saw it get scrubbed!). And right next to our car on the causeway was one of Jeff Ashby's best friends. I'm still friends with her 5 years later. And a month after he got back from his rookie flight, in my mail appeared a well inscribed photo from him to me, via her surprise request.

It also happens to be the only non-in-person autograph I display on my website.

My first in-person autograph came when I met my first astronaut, Mario Runco.


Posts: 46
From: Terre Haute IN
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 02-05-2004 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for William     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was Jim Lovell back in 1989.

I was working with a guy who left a job to work in corporate communications for Centel Communications, a firm in the suburban Chicago area. He said Jim Lovell was CEO of the company. Before he left to start work on the job I gave him a Life magazine and asked to get Mr. Lovell to autograph it. It got sent back to me about a month later, with my former fellow employee saying he did not sign that type of thing but that he provided his own picture for the autograph.

I pretty much forgot about it, but about two months later, I received a tube in the mail... The return address was the company with the name LOVELL in the return address. I took it out and it was the famous Earthrise picture, 11x13, with a personalized inscription, including BEST WISHES FROM THE MOON, and his signature. That one got me started.


Posts: 166
From: Phoenix, AZ USA
Registered: May 2002

posted 02-05-2004 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for scout706   Click Here to Email scout706     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph was Pete Conrad, I was 9 years old, and the big family vacation that year was to Houston and then on to Galveston TX. I had begged, pleaded, washed dishes, extra chores for months to get a trip to JSC. In the 70's the Visitor's Center was actually on JSC and not outside as it is now. I was just amazed, all of the Apollo hardware and early space program displays.

We went on the tour, and we were going through the building where all of the Skylab training mockups were located (where the shuttle/ISS training hardware is located now). As we were going through the building, I saw Pete Conrad, I have always had a hard time being quiet when I get excited and yelled pretty loudly, "Holy crap, that's Pete Conrad!" He heard, (I think half of JSC must have heard) turned around and walked over to us!

I was sure I was going to get in trouble for being loud and disrupting training, not at all. He stated laughing and asked my name and chatted with our group for a couple of minutes. Then he leaned down and asked me if I wanted an autograph. He signed my Vistor's guide, laughed and walked off.

I don't think I stopped talking about it for months. That autograph was the only one I had until I was 33 and found out through this website that you could write to an astronaut and get an autograph or heck even buy one!

My first purchase was an Alan Bean from Space Source and then a Richard Gordon and and ISP (to Tom no less) from Farthest Reaches, and hope one day to collect all of the Apollo astronauts.


Posts: 147
From: Leesburg, VA USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 02-06-2004 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jamato99   Click Here to Email jamato99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was also Alan Shepard during his 1994 Moon Shot book signing tour. He was doing the signing at Pentagon City Mall in Alexandria, Va., at Nordstrom's.

I've since learned that Mr. Shepard could be quite moody and not always the most polite person, and apparently I caught him on one of his "off" days. He signed my book and when I asked if he'd sign my 1959 Life magazine, he looked at me as if I had 10 heads before turning down my request.

Undeterred, I got back in line (there were maybe 50 people there to meet him) and I was the last person in line. I asked him to sign my magazine again and he reluctantly agreed.

I then extended my hand to shake his and received a look similar to the one mentioned above. He reached out with his left hand and squeezed my right hand as if to say "I'm too important to give you the satisfaction of shaking hands with me."

I was 16 at the time, but even then I remember thinking that he was a complete donkey.

Hart Sastrowardoyo

Posts: 3037
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 02-06-2004 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ahhhh.... memories!

It was one of the I-Con science-fiction conventions in Stonybrook, NY - Deke Slayton and Georgy Grechko were there. At the time (1991) I was more into autographs than writing, so it never occurred to me to transcribe their talks or interview them (I got a second chance with Grechko when he was in Toms River, NJ in 1993.)

Slayton signed my NASA astronaut bio booklet, dated June 1986 (which I still have) and a NASA photo of him, Leonov, and I think Brand from ASTP. This was back in the "dark days", and I had the print made from a NASA negative I had - I might have even slipped it into another, unmarked slide holder to pass it through the photo place's inspection.

For whatever reason, they weren't sure how to print it, so they printed it twice, one normal, the other reversed. The quality was lousy compared to digital and Otofo now, but I still have that photo, and later got Leonov to sign it through Hankow, I believe.

I remember frantically looking for something for Grechko to sign - and I finally located a copy of Newkirk's Almanac of Manned Soviet Spaceflight. I opened it up to the entry with his first flight, and when he saw it, he exclaimed, "Soyuz!"

There ensued a frantic flipping of the book by Grechko, enthusiatically jabbering, with his interpreter trying to catch up.

Not only did Grechko sign the book in Cyrillic and English, but he also gave me a business card, which he also signed, when I mentioned that I wanted to send him a copy of the book (which I did, after frantically scouring NYC for a second copy!)

I only hope he received it. Ah, the good old days when the likes of Slayton and Grechko could be had for the price of a convention ticket (Carpenter was there the year before), and they signed more than one item - all for about $10 for a weekend pass (yes, that's a sawbuck....)


Posts: 528
From: Seminole, Florida, United States
Registered: May 2000

posted 02-06-2004 01:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for apollo11lem5   Click Here to Email apollo11lem5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was Neil Armstrong. I purchased it for the enormous price of 10 (Ten whole dollars). Obviously that was long ago... way back when I still had brown hair.


Posts: 2313
From: Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, WA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 02-06-2004 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph(s) were from Deke Slayton, Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, and Betty Grissom. All at the same time. I met them at the Seattle Museum of Flight for a book signing. I had them sign my copy of We Seven. That is probably one of my most treasured books in my collection. I think that was about 10 years or so ago, I forget exactly when it was. I've been adding to my collection ever since then!


Posts: 591
From: Madisonville, Louisiana
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-06-2004 05:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph was a copy of Apollo 13 signed by Jim Lovell. I orginally sent him a WSS 8x10. About a week after I mailed it, it came back with a letter saying that he only signs his book. So my wife went out and bought the book, wrote him a letter, and gave me the book, autographed, for Christmas. This was in 1999. I remember some of the first letter successes I had were Franklin Chang-Diaz, Mike Mullane, and Fred Haise.


Posts: 193
From: Inverness, FL
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 02-06-2004 05:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OPOS   Click Here to Email OPOS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first was an inscribed Gene Cernan book and a signed "Nova" picture, obtained when my parents went to a PBS reception with Cernan and a host of others in Boston. The moment I opened that book, I was hooked!

My first "in person" was at FSU (Boo! Hiss! Go Gators!) while there at a conference. Winston Scott was then an administrator there, and no one at the conference cared that he was an astronaut!! Needless to say, that gave me ample time to get a unique signature (on his FSU bio) and just shoot the bull! What a great guy! Very fortunate to have him be the "first" I met and talked to!

John K. Rochester

Posts: 1291
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 02-06-2004 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Way back in 1973, I was 19 years old, and there was a bus trip to DC for President Nixon's inaugural to protest Nixon's involvement in whatever. I had never been to DC, so I signed up to go!

Once we got to DC the protesters went one way, and I went to the Smithsonian to see Freedom 7, then walked over to the staging area for the parade. There sat a Lunar Rover!! While I was taking a picture of it I heard a voice say "It's really a blast to drive that baby on the moon..." sure enough it was Gene Cernan!

I asked him to sign the cover of a space model I had bought at the Smithsonian store and he took the box with him into a tent, came back with a crew signed box cover... and Ron Evans right behind him (Dr. Schmitt was sick and stayed in the tent) and we talked for about 10 minutes on the mission of Apollo 17. I could have asked a million questions, but they had to go.

The box got framed, and was stolen about five years later from my house. I still remember quite vividly how cool Gene was to just come up and talk to some kid who he didn't know from a bag'a dirt!!

...and by the way, did I get bitched out when we all got back on the bus to come home, and I had three bags of space souvenirs from the museum!


Posts: 280
From: Columbus, Ohio USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-06-2004 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DSeuss5490   Click Here to Email DSeuss5490     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a similar note as John., i.e., a Gene Cernan experience, I was at KSC to view the night launch of STS-8 in August, 1983. My brother works for ABC News in NY and had participated in all of the shuttle launches for them. I was fortunate to have been invited along on this trip.

First, I was at the press mound chatting with a pretty petite woman (rather small talk) while we were standing in the background watching the live broadcast with Cene Cernan. I commented to the woman that it was cool to see so many astronauts in one place. I asked her if she had gotten any autographs from them and I remember her telling me that she was not "into" that.

A few minutes later she politely excused herself -- she was summoned to the interview table -- on my gosh -- I had been talking to Sally Ride!

Later, I saw Cernan sprinting through the press mound area and I quickly asked him for an autograph. Just as quickly he said "NO KID NOT NOW" because he had an "emergency" to attend to -- I turned to see him entering one of the many portable toilets on site.

Several minutes later and still in shock that I did not recognize Sally Ride, Cernan caught up with me, tapped me on the shoulder and said he could now sign my picture. And although I was quite embarrassed, Sally Ride was later quite happy to sign a couple of autographs for me.


Posts: 1008
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 02-06-2004 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autographs, I believe, were in 1981 when my dad took me to a Springfield Redbirds jubilee where they had Joe Dimaggio, Satchel Paige, Stan Musial, Ken Boyer and numerous other baseball stars. I got to stand between Musial and Boyer and chat with them while Musial browsed through my program. I was only 8 and I remember chasing after Keith Hernandez as he was quickly leaving with some blonde woman and saying "Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Hernandez", as Keith just kept walking and ignoring me. My dad came up and tapped him on the shoulder and said "Hey Keith". THEN he finally stopped and scribbled on my program.

Those Cernan stories sure were funny. I think it would have been hilarious to get back on that bus with your model, hold it up above your head in front of everyone and say, "Hope you enjoyed your stupid protest suckers! I know I sure did!"

Larry McGlynn

Posts: 966
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-06-2004 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut signatures were acquired at the same time in November of 1971.

I played high school football for our town. We had an ok year finishing in the middle of the pack. Every year we had an end of the season football team banquet.

We didn't expect much except dinner and a few speeches about the team from the coaches, so you can imagine our surprise when in walks John Glenn and Alan Shepard. They both gave talks on their missions (Shepard had walked on the Moon in February). I was amazed, but most of the other guys didn't really care or understand (walking on the moon was such a mundane thing back then).

Shepard left immediately after the speech, but left a bunch of signed photographs for us. John Glenn did stay after the dinner and sat with about eight of us at a table and talked about flying in space for about an hour. He signed for us. Then the host came back and said they had to leave. It was a wonderful experience.

I kept the photographs tucked away in my high school yearbook for years. About five years ago, my daughter wanted to see my yearbook and those photographs were still there tucked in the sports section of the book. That gave me a kickstart to get back into the hobby of space collecting. The Alan Shepard litho is framed and hanging in my office along with several other astronaut signatures.


Posts: 805
From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 02-06-2004 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was from Jim Lovell, who I met during his book tour for "Lost Moon." I had already finished the book, so I had the chance to briefly speak to him about its content. The one distinct aspect of the evening that I recall is the general laughter from the audience when Capt. Lovell mentioned that the book had been purchased for conversion into a movie and that they were talking about Tom Hanks starring in the film. Most found it difficult to envision Hanks, of "Splash," "Big" and "Bossum Buddies" fame appearing as Jim Lovell. Little did we know.


Posts: 3304
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 02-06-2004 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong, on an index card I sent to his office in early August 1990 and received back signed soon after.


Posts: 618
From: BURTON ON TRENT /England
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 02-06-2004 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although the Apollo 12 crew have been heroe's to me for the last 30 odd yrs it was only last January that I finaly got my first Astronaut autograph via a good freind in Florida,it was Alan Bean holding a soil sample ( most of you guys have probably got the photo).Even though its a common autograph its still my pride and joy.
Getting Glenn's (my first written request) is also up there along with my astronaut encounters at the two autographicas last year.


Posts: 48
From: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 02-09-2004 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voodoo   Click Here to Email Voodoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first astronaut autograph I obtained was a signed copy of "To rule the night" by Jim Irwin, purchased by mail from a used book dealer for what (at the time) seemed like an absurdly expensive $50 about six years ago. (I was a lot more naive back then regarding fakes. I'm reasonably sure the signature is authentic, but I would have had no way of telling then even if I had bought it in person).

The first that I obtained myself were two years back, when I got my copies of "Lost Moon", "The All-American Boys", "The Way of the Explorer" and Glenn's Autobiography signed by mail. I'm glad I did that when I did, given that the number of signers by mail continues to dwindle. (Book tours by Astros rarely make it here to the Great White North, or even to Buffalo across the river, so mail is usually the only option).

My greatest "near miss" was running into Frank Borman at the 1998 Wings of Eagles airshow in Elmira, New York. I had just bought a used copy of "Countdown" a few weeks before, but I hadn't known that he was going to be at the show, and didn't have the book with me! I was able to congratulate him on the gorgeous P-63 Kingcobra that he had brought to the show. I wish that I had thanked him for the "Genesis" speech during the Christmas Eve 1968 broadcast -- I now think that it's my most cherished moment of the Apollo program.

Russ Still

Posts: 535
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-09-2004 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know I've told this story before, but some may still get a laugh out of it.

I had been collecting space stuff ever since Shepard's Mercury flight. Primarily, magazines and print literature, plus a few phonograph records and odds/ends. Anyway, come 1985 or 86 I get this odd idea that maybe I can get some of the guys to sign the covers of my magazines. I try John Young first.

After a few weeks, my magazine is returned in the mail, unsigned, but an autographed litho of Young is included. Crap. He wouldn't sign my magazine! I looked at the litho and figured "what the heck would I want with this?" I threw it in the trash can. True story. Hehehe...


Posts: 141
From: Columbia, SC, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 02-09-2004 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denem   Click Here to Email denem     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut meeting (and autograph) was Alan Shepard (while he was doing his Moonshot tour). Soon afterward, i began sending letters out requesting autographs of other astronauts. I received replies from McDivitt, Cooper, Schirra, Haise, Glenn, Borman, Mattingly (can you believe it?), Schmitt, and others. 10 years ago wasn't THAT long ago but alot has changed since then as many of these astronauts do not sign anymore.

NC Apollo Fan

Posts: 261
From: Belmont, NC USA
Registered: Jul 2000

posted 02-09-2004 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NC Apollo Fan   Click Here to Email NC Apollo Fan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I actually had no autographs until I purchased one of Alan Bean's 'In the Beginning' prints. I'll never forget how thrilled I was to receive it - I must have spent hours just getting up close to the print and looking over the signatures. Going from nothing to having 20 Apollo astronauts, including seven moonwalkers, was a real thrill. I had started collecting Apollo long after the great 'Send a Request Through the Mail' era, so I have never known the satisfaction of coming home and finding a response in the mailbox.

Rick Mulheirn

Posts: 3442
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 02-09-2004 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first autograph was Mike Collins. Circa 1974 I sent him a label to sign which I then stuck inside a copy of Carrying the Fire. A year or two later I wrote to Jim Irwin about a flag presentation he made to the British Prime Minister and he kindly wrote back a personal and lengthy letter.

It did not occur to me to ask either for a signed photo..........WHAT A BURKE!!!!


Posts: 1125
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 02-10-2004 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love this thread and wish I would have thought of it. Harrison Schmitt was my first in-person signature by an astronaut. Great guy 20 years ago, boy, has he changed

Those are the moments why one may love to collect autographs, for the pleasantries... and inspiration for generations to come; irregardless of what the value of item they sign may be worth now or when all of us are no longer here.


Posts: 201
From: Duluth,Ga.
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-10-2004 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul   Click Here to Email Paul     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russ, the next time I come over to your place, would you mind if I went through your trash?!!


Posts: 53
From: Rockville, Maryland, U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 02-11-2004 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jo_genius00     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first in-person autograph was Stephen Oswald in which I was at Goddard Space Flight Center and he was there making a speech in which I obtained the autograph afterwards.

Steve Smith

Posts: 503
From: Wichita, Kansas, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 02-14-2004 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Smith   Click Here to Email Steve Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exactly seven years ago (almost to the exact hour) I was completing a flight from Dallas to Salt Lake City to Billings, Montana when I noticed in the paper that shuttle STS-82 had completed successful repairs of the Hubble Space Telescope. I was fascinated that Steve Smith was one of the main repairers during multiple EVA.

I thought that this was a valuable and successful project, and full of pride that a namesake did it.

When I should have been napping I poured my heart out in a multipage letter, I'm afraid in very bad hand writing, to Steve Smith. I sent it simply to NASA, Houston, Texas, ATTN Astronaut Steve Smith figuring it would never be seen. I complimented Steve Smith and the team, and poured out my long love affair with Space Exploration.

Needless to say I was surprised and thrilled months later when one of those famous brown NASA envelopes arrived, and my wife asked what the heck this was. Astronaut Smith sent me several personalized autograph pictures. One is to me by name "From a namesake and the entire Astronaut Corp, Steve Smith".

The other is a wonderful picture of Steve Smith on an EVA repairing Hubble, inscribed to me saying "Steve Smith, I wish there was enough room on Hubble for both of us; Steve Smith".

To top it off, some time later I ordered some 40th anniversary Mercury memorabilia from Ken Havekotte. I was surprised to find a piece of flown scrap liner from STS-82 in my delivery, free of charge. My first flown piece. It is wonderfully framed with a STS-82 mission patch, and the above picture. A treasure to me. I have to think it was divine intervention that led this to me.

Thank you Steve Smith, and Ken Havekotte. You don't know what pleasure you bought me.


Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 02-14-2004 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought Apollo 11 individual SPs in the early 1990s.


Posts: 30
From: Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 02-14-2004 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert777   Click Here to Email robert777     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was Edward Gibson back in the early 90s. Book signing. At least I met him in person.

I have recently purchased a beautiful Premiere Space Edition 16x20 framed "visor" print signed by Buzz Aldrin (didn't pay their retail though - got it for a steal!), Then I bought what I thought was an authentic Neil Armstrong and thanks to you folks and the folks at R&R Enterprises, I discovered it wasn't. The eBayer did in fact refund me my FULL amount paid.

Now I'm excited to get Michael Collins from Novaspace signing. I of course still need an original Armstrong which is proving to be more difficult to find. I really wish I could meet these gentleman in person. I know that's the real way to get autographs!

skippy in space

Posts: 251
From: Aberdeen Scotland
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-16-2004 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skippy in space   Click Here to Email skippy in space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first astronaut autograph was from the crew of STS-51A sent from the public relations office of KSC. I didn't actually ask for it but said I was interested in space.

I'm actually not sure who my first serious through the mail was but it was some one who was free in 1998, I'm sure it was either Hartsfield or Brand.

My first in person was Dick Gordon at Autographica 2000, then Walt Cunnigham, then Ed Mitchell and last was Al Bean

First paid for was Shepard (about a month before he died along with a Dick Gordon and Pete Conrad) from Galaxy. It was supposed to be an Aldrin but Novaspace had run out of 10x8 and didn't think they were going to get any more but a year later things had changed.

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