Absolutely unique and superbly provenanced.Apollo 15 Flown 1928 Airmail Cover Signed by Orville Wright with Signed LOA from Mission Command Module Pilot Al Worden. An Airmail philatelic cover with a 5¢ Civil Aeronautics Conference stamp bearing a Jackson, Michigan, postmark dated December 17, 1928, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. It is addressed to Forrest E Cook of Cement City, Michigan. A hand stamped cachet at left (and also on the verso) commemorates that anniversary and bears a handsome signature of the man who took that first flight: "Orville Wright". The cover was flown inside a folder made from a cardstock stamp album page which is still present. Inside that folder, Forrest E. Cook has written in pencil: "This is the folder which/ held the Orville Wright/ cover carried to the moon/ on Apollo 15-1971/ The cover was removed/ by me December 20, 1971 after/ return to me by Mr. M. B./ Worden/ Forrest E Cook". One of only two unique covers flown on the Apollo missions. Cover and folder in fine condition. From the Steven R. Belasco Collection of Space Memorabilia.
Included with this lot is the original letter of transmittal from Worden, a one page typed letter on NASA letterhead, 8" x 10.5", December 16, 1971, Houston, Texas, to Forrest E. Cook. It reads, in full: "This letter is to certify that I carried for you one commemorative cover honoring the Wright Brothers first flight and signed by Orville Wright aboard the command module 'Endeavour' during the Apollo 15 flight to the moon 26 July - 7 August 1971." Signed at close: "Al Worden" as Lt. Colonel USAF and NASA Astronaut. Minor tape stains at left corners, otherwise very fine.
This cover was mentioned specifically in NASA News Release 72-189 titled "Articles Carried on Manned Space Flights", dated September 5, 1972. Under a list of authorized covers, it reads: "1 Wright Brothers commemorative cover, dated 1928 and autographed by Orville Wright, which was carried by Worden for a friend and is currently in that friend's possession." Note: that cover could soon be in your possession!
In Worden's recent book Falling to Earth- An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2011, page 148), he mentions this particular cover as part of his accounting of the flown covers controversy: "I also added a Wright Brothers commemorative cover, autographed by Orville Wright himself, sent to me by Forrest Cook, a friend of my parents. Forrest, who lived in a small town just outside of Jackson, was a kind, gentle man and asked me to take the cover to the moon for him. I was happy to help a family friend and right after the mission sent it back to him. I added all of these covers, and everything else I took, to the PPK contents list that I provided to Deke." A copy of this page of the book is included. Don't miss out on this opportunity.
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