Description

    Rare crew-owned "Sieger" cover, Lunar Module-flown

    Apollo 15 Lunar Module Flown Crew-Signed "Sieger" Cover #57, Originally from the Irwin Family Collection, with Signed and Notarized Certification. A lightweight philatelic cover with a color cachet based on the Apollo 15 mission insignia. At upper left is printed the following: "This envelope was/ carried to the moon/ aboard the Apollo 15/ #57 of 400 to the/ lunar surface in/ L. M. 'Falcon'". At lower left are the signatures of the crew: "Dave Scott", "Al Worden", and "Jim Irwin". It bears two 1¢ "Thomas Jefferson" stamps and a 6¢ "Apollo 8" stamp at upper right cancelled on the launch date of July 26, 1971, at Kennedy Space Center. At lower right is a se-tenant pair of 8¢ "United States in Space / Decade of Achievement" stamps cancelled on board the U.S.S. Okinawa on the splashdown date of August 7, 1971. At upper right on the verso is a small serial number "044 ADH" written in blue ink by NASA's general counsel S. Neil Hosenball at the time of confiscation. Excellent.

    Accompanying is an original notarized typed Certification letter, one page, 8.5" x 11", July 19, 1983. It was created for this particular "Cover No. 57" and has been signed by all three crewmembers: "Alfred M. Worden", "David R. Scott", and "James B. Irwin". It explains the chain of provenance from start to finish. The complete text is available on our website.

    Also included with this lot is a signed letter from Jim Irwin's widow stating that this particular cover had been in the family estate since July 19, 1983.

    The story behind these famous, moon surface-landed covers is extraordinary. In 1970, a German stamp dealer by the name of Hermann Sieger set out to recruit an Apollo crew to carry some philatelic covers to the moon and back. The Apollo 15 crew agreed to carry one hundred covers for a payment of $7000 to each of them. The agreement was that they would not be sold until after the Apollo program wrapped up. Along with Sieger's covers, the astronauts added 300 of their own (actually 298 as two of the 300 were destroyed before the flight). The NASA rule was that the astronauts had to obtain permission prior to taking anything with them on the spacecraft. For unknown reasons, these were never reported. All the covers were cancelled just after midnight the day of the flight and then rushed through the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building, where they were vacuum-packed and sealed in fireproof fiberglass. They then went to Launch Complex 39A where Scott took the package and put in a pocket of his spacesuit. These were not properly manifested. After the flight, the crew had the covers stamped and cancelled onboard the rescue ship. They signed the covers on the way back to Houston. Shortly thereafter, the one hundred covers were forwarded to Siegel in Germany and he immediately began to sell them. The astronauts made efforts to retrieve the covers, but failed. They returned his payments but a congressional inquiry caused NASA to suspend all three from active flight status. The 298 remaining covers were confiscated and held until 1983 when NASA settled Al Worden's lawsuit out of court and returned the covers to the crew. It was at that point that they drafted a certificate of authenticity for each cover such as this one.


    More Information:

    CERTIFICATION

    Re:  UNITED STATES LUNAR MISSION - APOLLO 15

    July 26 - August 7, 1971

     

    The undersigned, COLONEL ALFRED M. WORDEN, COLONEL DAVID R. SCOTT and COLONEL JAMES B. IRWIN, certify that:

     

    1. They were the crew members of the United States Lunar Mission - Apollo 15 during the period from July 26 to August 7, 1971;

     

    2. Postal covers were carried aboard the Apollo 15 Mission, which postal clovers were stamped and postmarked at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the date of the launch, July 26, 1971, and carried aboard the Apollo 15 Spacecraft during the entire term of the Mission, to include orbit of landing on [initialed in margin AMW, DS, JBI] the moon, and were returned to the Earth at the termination of the Mission on August 7, 1971. At that time, the covers were again stamped and postmarked aboard the U.S.S. Okinawa, Pacific Ocean, and signed by each of the Astronauts, COLONEL ALFRED M. WORDEN, COLONEL DAVID R. SCOTT and COLONEL JAMES B. IRWIN;

     

    3. The postal covers were in the possession of one or more of the undersigned until 1972, at which time they were deposited with the United States Government; and

     

    4. The undersigned have this date inspected Postal Cover No. 57, bearing NASA Serial No. 044, and aver, affirm and certify that said Postal Cover is a cover which was carried aboard the United States Lunar Mission - Apollo 15.

     

    The undersigned have this date executed this Certification for the purpose of identifying said Postal Cover and certifying that said Postal Cover was carried aboard the United States Lunar Mission - Apollo 15.

     

    Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19th day of July, 1983.

    [signed] Lois M. McIntosh

    Notary Public

    My Commission Expires August 3, 1986

    [Blindstamped SEAL present]

     

    [signed] Alfred M Worden

    Alfred M. Worden

     

    [signed] David R. Scott

    David R. Scott

     

    [signed] James B. Irwin

    James B. Irwin



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