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Apollo 15 Flown to the Lunar Surface Cover

One of the infamous flown covers first confiscated and later released by NASA

Price: SOLD



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This Cover is number 66 of 398 covers that were flown to the Lunar Surface on Apollo 15. Originally 100 covers were requested to be flown to the Moon by H. Walter Eiermann who was acting on behalf of German Stamp dealer, Hermann Sieger. The crew agreed in return for a trust fund of $7000 being set up for each Astronaut in a Swiss Bank Account. The crew also wanted to carry a further 300 covers for themselves, but 2 were destroyed before the flight, making the total number of covers flown 398.

The covers were not listed in the Crews preference kits, but instead carried in the pocket of Dave Scott's space suit. Once back from the moon and while on the USS Okinawa the crew added the stamps and had the covers cancelled and date stamped at the on-board ship's post office, they then signed the covers on the flight from Hawaii back to Houston.

Of the total 398 covers, 100 were sent to Hermann Sieger and the remaining 298 were kept by the Apollo 15 Crew. It had been agreed that no covers be sold until after the completion of the Apollo program, but Sieger started selling his 100 covers almost immediately at $1,500 each.

When the crew heard about the sale, they tried to retrieve the covers from Sieger, but were unsuccessful and so tried to save their reputations by returning the $7,000. However a Congressional investigation wanted to make an example of the Astronauts and so NASA had no choice but to suspend them from flight status. NASA also confiscated the 298 covers.

In 1983 Al Worden successfully had the 298 covers returned to the crew after suing the United States federal government when similar covers were to be flown on the Space Shuttle. It is thought that had the crew declared the covers in the first place then there would have been no problem.

This cover is one of the 298 that belonged to the crew and comes with a certified letter of provenance which they supplied with each cover hand signed by each crew member.

This cover was given by Jim Irwin to his daughter Joy Irwin, who has provided a letter confirming the gifting. (see below)

It is in overall good condition, with signs of handling and subtle bend above the green Jefferson stamps

This cover rates very highly on Howard C Weinberger's , "A Hierarchy of Desirability"

Look closely at the twin "Decade of Achievement" stamps at the lower right of each cover. Although the twin stamps are separate stamps depicting separate images, put together they show one complete contiguous image. The left image is of the Earth and LM in the background and the right image shows Scott and Irwin in the Lover rover. When properly positioned the lunar surface as well as the trail in Space align together, and there is no gap between the two images. So imagine the astronauts aboard the recovery ship affixing stamps. They just wanted to complete the task of getting the stamps put on the Covers and not really considering the configuration.

Then there is the issue of the single stamp in the top right corner. It seems that the Earthrise and the First Man stamps top the list of popularity. The Antarctic Treaty stamp, having nothing to do with Space or the Moon is least desirable. Some feel that the Earthrise is most desirable, not just because of the iconic image, but also due to the extra two Jefferson 1 cent stamps that had to also be affixed to complete the required postage, which required yet more effort on the part of the crew.

Next is the serial number consideration. Low serial numbers are always considered most desirable by collectors no matter what the collectible is. Covers numbered 99 or less (2 digits) would be considered most desirable. Also, as noted above, the first covers certified by the crew also had the handwritten correction in the upper left that changed the number to 400 from the printed 300. The highest number with handwritten correction found thus far is 94., so we will speculate that Covers numbered 100 and under have the handwritten correction.

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Comes with a letter from Jim Irwin's daughter Joy Irwin who was given 5 of the covers



And the Certified Letter


Top left corner


Signatures


Subtle Bend

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