It has been over 30 years since the last Astrophilatelic Handbook of 36 pages, was published. A lot has changed since then in this niche area of philately. The last U.S. price list was published in 1973 by Jack McMahan with additions to dates after (through 1976) being released in 2008. There are currently no accredited judges or apprentice judges who list themselves as specialists in this collecting area. Exhibiting rules from the Federation Internationale de Philatelique have not been adequately presented to potential exhibitors of Astrophilately and this collector has documented several caveats to F.I.P. SREV regulation 3.3 which are carried over into the APS Manual of Philatelic Judging and need to be updated. The FIP has been notified.
For these reasons this handbook was prepared by this collector of over 41 years. The difficulty of acquisition is worth about one-third of the points which are considered by judges and yet there are no judges in the U.S. who understand the various levels of difficulty in acquiring, much less understand Captain's Covers, Crew Covers, Insurance Covers, VIP Cards, KSC Officials, Ames Officials, Marshall Space Flight Center Officials, Vandenberg AFB Officials, Day-after recovery covers, CINCPAC covers, various precursor covers and many others.

This handbook not only explains those, but for the first time acknowledges that cachets play such an important part in the Difficulty of Acquisition arena that they are not additions as they are in First Day Covers but are instead the key defining factor in identifying both covers such as those listed in the preceding paragraph and the estimated values of these envelopes. Over 1,100 illustrations work in conjunction with text and a listing of program's precursor covers and event covers by program to enable collectors to build an encompassing want list.

Not all Secondary Recovery Ship covers are from ships actually assigned to the missions. These are identified herein. Dozens of illustrations of fake and suspect covers are shown, several including VIP cards created by German dealers, and some previously uncovered Cape Canaveral fakes, along with an Apollo 11 USS Hornet fake and are identified and pictured in this book.

This author previously wrote the first handbook on Primary Recovery Ship covers: Primary Recovery Ship Cover Handbook. After discovering how to identify privately produced copies of NASA VIP Cards, he authored a monograph on all VIP Cards. He has written Astrophilatelic articles in most US Philatelic newspapers and magazines as well as those in at least six other countries. He is a former President of the Space Unit and former Executive Director of the ATA.

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Last modified on 2011 March 11