DescriptionJames Lovell's Original International Association of Turtles Membership Card, Signed by Wally Schirra, Directly from His Personal Collection, with Signed LOA. An International Association of Turtles card, green in color and 3.5" x 2.25" in size. It is dated August 17, 1963, made out to James A. Lovell, and signed by the Imperial Turtle in blue ink: "Walter M Schirra/ Ruler of the Outer Shell". An interesting period souvenir from this legendary club. Some wear, very good.
By most accounts, this organization started as a fun, fraternal drinking club among World War II pilots. Admission is gained by answering four questions that would apparently have vulgar answers, but in fact do not. Examples are found on the back of this card. Also, the password must be given when asked by another member: "Are you a turtle?" The only acceptable answer, "You bet your sweet *** I am," had to be spoken in a loud voice or the one challenged had to buy the drinks. This was based, of course, on the assumption that all members owned a certain animal related to a donkey. Wally Schirra was the High Potentate of the astronaut club and during his Sigma 7 flight, he was asked the ever-important question by a ground controller just minutes into the mission. He recorded his answer off-radio for later playback. A similar situation came up between Slayton and Schirra on Apollo 7.
Included with this lot is a signed Letter of Authenticity from Lovell on his company letterhead stating, in full: "I hereby certify that this International Association of Turtles Card was presented to me by the Ruler of the Outer Shell - Wally Schirra. It is from my personal collection of space artifacts and has been in my possession since it was presented to me."
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