Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal

Apollo 15 Postal Kit

Copyright © 2006 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
The flown postal items are in the collection of the U.S. Postal Service
and are displayed at the
Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum.
Photos courtesy Jim O'Donnell of the Postal Museum.
Last revised 16 January 2006.
Apollo 15 Postal Kit

Post-flight photo of the Postal Kit with a mission patch added.
The cancellation device in the left forground is a duplicate of the flown item which,
according to the U.S. Postal Service, is believed to have been left on the Moon.

 

Apollo 15 Cancelled First Day Cover

Post-flight photo of the First Day Cover
cancelled by Dave Scott during the EVA-3 Close-out.
As indicated in the transcript below,
Dave cancelled the stamp twice and
added a necessarily-gloved 'thumbprint'
represented by the smudge of lunar dust on the left.

 


 

Video Clip of Dave Scott Cancelling the First Day Cover ( 1 min 16 sec )  

 


 

Postal Museum Display

Apollo 15 display at the National Postal Museum
with the Postal Kit at the bottom.
As noted above, the cancellation device is a duplicate.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

 

First Day Cover

First Day Cover displayed at the National Postal Museum.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

 

Postal Kit

Postal Kit displayed at the National Postal Museum.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

 


 

From the Apollo 15 EVA-3 Close-out:

167:18:32 Scott: Okay? (Pause) Got a good picture, Joe?

167:18:39 Allen: Good picture, Dave. Have at it.

[Fendell gets Dave centered and zooms in on an envelope he is holding. It is a First-Day Cover.]
167:18:43 Scott: Okay. To show that our good Postal Service has deliveries any place in the universe, I have the pleasant task of canceling, here on the Moon, the first stamp of a new issue dedicated to commemorate United States achievements in space. And I'm sure a lot of people have seen pictures of the stamp. I have the first one here on an envelope. At the bottom it says, "United States in Space, a decade of achievement," and I'm very proud to have the opportunity here to play postman. I pull out a cancellation device. Cancel this stamp. It says, "August the second, 1971, first day of issue".
[Dave gets a rubber stamp out of the cloth Post Office kit and presses it on what looks like an ink pad.]

[Jones - "What did you use? Just a plain old rubber stamp and an ink pad?"]

[Scott - "As I recall, it was just a plain old kit."]

167:19:30 Scott: What could be a better place to cancel this stamp than right here at Hadley Rille. (Pause)
[Dave places the envelope on a flat surface on the MESA and, after carefully positioning the rubber stamp, presses it down and then lifts it off.]
167:19:48 Scott: By golly, it even works in a vacuum. (Pause)
[Dave examines the envelope.]
167:19:51 Scott: But not too well. But it's the first time, so I guess they're just learning. (Pause)
[Dave re-cancels the envelope.]
167:20:11 Irwin: You can put a thumbprint on there, Dave.

167:20:14 Scott: Well...

167:20:15 Irwin: If there's room left.

167:20:17 Scott: I've got several dusty thumbprints. Now, I'll stick this back in our special mail pouch here, and we'll deliver it when we return.

167:20:32 Allen: Roger. (Pause)

[Dave puts the envelope in the Post Office bag but has some trouble getting it closed properly.]
167:20:40 Scott: I think that's pretty good; after only 10 years, here we are spending 3 days on the Moon. That's moving ahead.
[Jones - "Do you remember if the Post Office approached NASA about the stamp cancellation? Any idea how that showed up?"]

[Scott - "Nope. It just came through the system. (To commemorate the) First Rover and all that stuff."]

[Jones - "Was it something that you were interested in doing? Did it catch your fancy?"]

[Scott - "Not particularly. We weren't really into the stamp business at that time. But it was one of the things they wanted to do; so, okay, it sounded like a good idea."]

[To complete the stamp story: in May 1971, Deke Slayton (Dave told me in a 1996 letter) introduced Dave to a German business man named Horst Eiermann who proposed that, in addition to the 250 authorized first-day covers, the crew take along and cancel 400 additional covers for later resale - 100 for each member of the crew and 100 for Eiermann. Although the crew insisted that the covers not be put up for sale until after the end of the Apollo program, Eiermann began selling his not long after the flight. When they learned of the sales, the crew promptly canceled their agreement with Eiermann and refused to accept any money from the sales. Nonetheless, the incident generated a great deal of bad press and, ultimately, the crew was reprimanded by NASA. Readers can find fuller discussions of the incident in Jim Irwin's To Rule the Night in Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon, and in Deke Slayton's Deke!.]


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