Members Exhibits

Award Levels & Other Notes

1. ASTP by John Macco

1a Charpex 2006 Exhibit Critique
1b Southeastern Stamp show 2006 Exhibit Critique
1c Americover 2008 Exhibit Critique
1d Charpex 2009 Exhibit Critique
1e Springpex 2010 Exhibit Critique
1f Charpex 2010 Exhibit Critique
1y General Comments
1z Members Critiques

2 In Their Prime by David Ball

In Their Prime was one of about two dozen Digital Philatelic Study (DPS) exhibits at the American Stamp Dealers Association (ASDA) Fall Mega Show held in New York in October 2006. In the long history of postal exhibitions this was the first virtual exhibit. I am proud to report that In Their Prime was awarded the Viewers Choice Award for best exhibit at the show. It seems fitting that a Space Unit study should win the first cyberphilatelic contest. ... David Ball

3 Project Mercury: To Put a Man in Space by Dennis Dillman

Project Mercury: To Put a Man in Space – This exhibit was a two frame astrophilatelic exhibit prepared for NAPEX 2011. It evolved from my earlier “Display Class” exhibit of the same name.
Anyway, please enjoy Project Mercury!
Dennis Dillman
2011 August

4 X-15: The Forgotten Spaceship by Dennis Dillman

This exhibit was set up as a two-frame "Display Class" exhibit, meaning that a certain amount of collateral (non-philatelic) material was allowed. So you will see some trading cards, photos, and postcards mixed in here to help tell the story.
This was exhibited at SpringPEX, a local show in Springfield, Va., in 2004. It won a vermeil there. I have not exhibited this since then. In fact the exhibit has not been updated since 2004, so some parts of it have been overtaken by current events (like the awarding of astronaut wings to the NASA X-15 pilots who broke the 50 mile altitude barrier, and the accidental death of Scott Crossfield).
Anyway, please enjoy this snapshot of the X-15 program from 2004.
Dennis Dillman
Feb. 19, 2007

5 I Believe That This Nation by Ray Cartier

The exhibit is the result of 41 years of collecting and research which depicts covers for major space events, from Explorer 1 through the Return to Port of the Apollo 17 Primary Recovery Ship. Examples of a wide range of cover types are shown herein, including launch, recovery, tracking, VIP Cards, KSC Officials, Crew Covers, Captain’s Covers, CINCPAC covers, Insurance covers, flown covers (including a flown-to-the-moon cover) and others, all explained in the text.

The author believed that two changes were necessary in FIP and APS judging rules. As a result of research and submitting documentation to the FIP Section on Astrophilately, many more covers can be exhibited today. SREV Article 3.3 has been changed from:

“Covers must be cancelled at the place nearest the launch and on the exact date of the event.” to…“at a nearby post office”. This allows for KSC Officials for Gemini, unmanned Saturn launches and Apollo 7 covers legitimately use KSC cancels, even though launches took place from Cape Canaveral. It also allows for use of Cape Canaveral or Patrick AFB cancels for KSC launches as all three play distinct launch activity roles. Also, KSC cancels for manned Deep Space Events can be used as the author pointed out that Merritt Island, FL is on 62 acres of KSC land and that this site converted digital video images from Apollo craft and the moon to analog to allow KSC and the world to view the images shown on television.

5z Members Critiques

6 Onboard American Rocketplanes by Dennis Dilman

This was a one-frame exhibit prepared for NAPEX 2011. It shows covers that were actually flown onboard US rocketplanes from the 1930’s to the present. Many of these covers, including those flown on the Douglas Skyrocket, X-2, X-15, and lifting bodies exist only in single-digit or small double-digit quantities. Please enjoy these covers “that were actually there”!

7 Americans in Space: Project Mercury, Gemini and Apollo by David S. Ball (4.6 MB pdf file)

This 8 frame was first shown in Charleston in February where it received a Silver. With very minor modifications it was shown again in June 2011 at NAPEX with a good response. It was awarded Space Unit Gold, NAPEX Gold, United States Society Award, and an APS Award of Excellence (1940-1980).

7z Members Critiques

8 Primary Recovery Ship Covers and Markings by Ray Cartier (11.5 MB pdf file)

            Astrophilately, the collecting of postmarked covers for space-related events, started with the launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957.  But not much attention was paid to the hobby of collecting Recovery Ship covers until John Glenn’s flight of February 20, 1962.   Recoveries of both manned and unmanned precursor flights did not receive much collector’s attention prior to that flight.  As a result, there were only 44 covers recorded aboard the first manned U.S. recovery ship on January 31st, 1961 by Alan Shepard.  There were even fewer, and for some of the “Boilerplate” tests of the space capsules, no covers aboard some recovery ships.

            The U.S. Navy provided a string of Primary Recovery Ships (PRS) and Secondary Recovery Ships (SRS) to ensure the safe recoveries of manned flights, especially after the loss of some monkeys during the earlier test flights.  This proved helpful when Glenn, scheduled to be recovered by the USS Randolph, an aircraft carrier, was recovered while inside his capsule, by the SRS, USS Noa, a destroyer, and then he was flown to the USS Randolph by helicopter.  Collectors had begun to send small quantities of covers to the designated PRS, but extremely few to the SRSs.  As a result, covers actually carried aboard the USS Noa are extremely difficult to find.  However, the postal clerk backdated a little over 300 covers once the ship returned to port three days later.  Project Mercury stamps had been affixed to these covers but the ship had none on board on the date of recovery.  This led this collector to search for backdated and fraudulent cancellations to help educate viewers about the validity of covers they purchase.  There were not a great number of covers aboard the USS Randolph either and those too, are difficult to locate.

            There were no cachet servicers of early collector-submitted covers and some ships began putting their own rubber stamp (RS) cachets on covers. (Ship cachets.) The only printed cachets for Project Mercury were the “Goldey” covers for the USS Noa and then Morris Beck’s creations starting with the last manned Mercury recovery of Gordon Cooper.  These “Beck” printed cachets appeared on all PRS and most SRS covers through the end of the manned recoveries by ship. The cachets bore a number, preceded by a “B” for Beck for all that were made with the exception of his giving 25 “Unnumbered Becks” to some ships for three of the early Gemini flights.  Examples are in this exhibit. Cachets play 2nd only to cancels in Astrophilately and Becks are favored.

            When the Commanding Officer’s either added their corner cards to recovery dated covers, and later began having covers  cacheted aboard, starting with Gemini 4, these “Captain’s Covers” with smaller quantities became collector favorites.  Mr. Beck provided two Rubber Stamps for the Navy postal clerks to use to cachet covers submitted to the ship for cancelling on the recovery dates. (NRSC – Navy Rubber Stamped Cachets).  These are found in a variety of colors, (mostly magenta) and, being cancelled by government paid postal clerks, are route markings.  Some ships had Machine Cancels (MC) on board and these would usually have only MC cancels . Some ships used only Hand Cancels (HC)s.  Some used both. Those that were exclusively Machine Cancelled, in some cases, had a very few HC when a postal clerk noticed that the MC did not touch the stamps.   Some HCs had ship’s names at the top of the hub or the bottom of the hub, or both.  Collectors also try to locate these varieties.

            500 Insurance covers were given to each moon bound astronaut to sign, by a collector, for the Apollo 11 through the Apollo 16 missions. These were all cancelled at Houston or KSC to be given to wives of these men who could not obtain insurance, so that their children could be put through college.  Besides the Apollo 15 flown-to-the-moon covers, the only other won that I know to having been cancelled aboard a PRS, was sold to this collector by an astronaut who said he had received it from another astronaut. This is in the Apollo 15 section, along with another flown to the moon cover, cancelled aboard the PRS.  Finally, in the late 1990s this collector discovered an Apollo 16 cover sent with the Commander-In-Chief –Pacific (Cincpac) corner card.  Since then one other was found for Apollo 17 by this collector and and Apollo 12 and an Apollo 15 were found by others.  These covers were sent by Admiral John McCain, Sr. to “special” people such as diplomats.  A very few missions had special covers, printed and cancelled aboard the PRS, for the recovery teams.          

         This collector wrote the first handbook on Recovery Ship Cover markings in 1992, and was the first to name the “types” of hand cancels from PRSs. Previously this exhibit has been awarded Gold Medals at two other WSP shows as well as at two regional shows.   (It was now awarded its 3rd Gold at TEXPEX 2014)


Viewing Notes

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Call for Comments

The Space Unit and exhibitors welcome YOUR comments on the above exhibits - you can be the judge and provide your own critique of the exhibit or just provide some general comments. Exhibits are improved as comments are received from philatelic judges and other people who view them on what their likes and dislikes are about the exhibit. Please send all comments to the Webmaster. Please note whether it is a Critique or a General Comment. Please also include your SU member number if known.


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Last modified on 2014 April 8