APOLLO RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Apollo 9 (AS-504) - 13 March 1969

Recovery Force Ships
Ship Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USS Guadalcanal PRS - Carrier LPH-7 Y
USS Algol SRS - Amphibious Cargo Ship LKA-54 Y
USS Paiute SRS - Fleet Ocean Tug AFT-159 Y
USNS Vanguardi SRS - Tracking Ship (Dual Role) T-AGM-19 Y
Pacific
USS Cochrane SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer DDG-21 Y
USS Leonard F. Mason SRS - Destroyer DD-852 Y
USS Nicholas SRS - Anti-Sub Destroyer DD-449 Y
Tracking & Communication Ships
USNS Redstone TS - Pacific T-AGM 20 Y
USNS Huntsville TS - Pacific T-AGM 7 Y
USNS Vanguardi TS - Atlantic T-AGM 19 Y
USNS Mercury TS - Pacific T-AGM 21 Y
Recovery Control Center
Norfolk VA Atlantic Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Kunia HI Pacific Recovery Control Center N/A Y (scarce)

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Guadalcanal Hand Cancel - Guadalcanal at Top Common
USS Guadalcanal Hand Cancel - Guadalcanal at Bottom Common


Cachets
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows an Apollo rocket
@ 45 degrees

 Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows an Apollo rocket
@ 45 degrees

 Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
Apollo 7 Cachet with the 7 removed - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows an Apollo Capsule

Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachetii - Pacific 1 Similar to Navy Cachet - Should be Atlantic Blue Printed
Beck Cachetii - Pacific 2 Similar to Navy Cachet Green Printed
Artopages Artopages cachet with a maroon Navy cachet on back of cover Orange & Blue Printed
Orbit Cachet3a Complex Printed Cachet showing Astronauts and Rocket etc - Navy Cachet usually on Back Green Printed

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Guadalcanal Apollo 7 - Maroon, Black
Apollo 9 - Black
782 (Blue)
USS Algol Apollo 7 - Maroon, Black
Apollo 9 - Maroon, Black
783, 784 (Blue)
USS Cochrane Apollo 7 -
Apollo 9 - Maroon
780 (Green)
USS Leonard F. Mason Apollo 7 -
Apollo 9 - Maroon
None
USS Nicholas Apollo 7 -
Apollo 9 - Maroon, Black
778, 779,781 (all Green)
USS Vanguard Apollo 7 -
Apollo 9 - Black
784 (Blue)

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
 USS Guadalcanal  Unusual Map of Central America & Atlantic Cachet Maroon Rubber Stamp
 USS Guadalcanal Beck B782 cacheted cover with hand cancel and with PACIFIC blacked out and replaced with ATLANTIC. Very unusual. Blue Printed
USS Guadalcanal Mission Emblem cover - Ship's name on bottom Multicolour Printed
USS Guadalcanal Mission Emblem cover - Ship's name on top Multicolour Printed
USS Guadalcanal 'Return to Norfolk' cover - pmk Mar 16 1969 - Navy cachet Black Rubber Stamp
USS Guadalcanal Postcard showing Apollo 9 Astronauts with Guadalcanal at top of postmark Blue Printed
USS Guadalcanal Great postcard showing Apollo 9 Astronauts with Guadalcanal at bottom of postmark plus ship's and Navy cachets Blue / Black Printed Rubber Stamp
USS Guadalcanal Great Britain Stampsiii - Ship bottom of pmk Black (on Back) Rubber Stamp
USS Guadalcanal2 Great Britain Stampsiii - Ship top of postmark Black Rubber Stamp
USS Guadalcanal4 Interesting cover from a member of the Associated Press with Navy and extra Lunar Module cachets Black / Black Printed Rubber Stamp
USS Guadalcanal1 Unusual blue cachet Blue Rubber Stamp
USS Nicholas Great Britain Stampsiii - Navy cachet on back Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Nicholas Great Britain Stampiii - Another example Maroon Rubber Stamp
Atlantic Recovery Force Navy Apollo 9 Cachet - Cape Canaveral
postmark 26 Mar 1969
Black Rubber Stamp
Atlantic Recovery Force Navy Apollo 7 Cachet with the 7 removed - Cape Canaveral - postmark 26 Mar 1969 Maroon , Black Rubber Stamp

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - most of these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date

USS Guadalcanal

Cover signed by the Executive Officer 13 March 1969

USS Guadalcanal

Cover signed by the Commanding Officer, Capt. Roy M. Sudduth 13 March 1969
USS Guadalcanal Great cover with Commanding Officer Anti-Submarine Squadron corner card and signature plus rare postmark variation 13 March

USS Guadalcanal

Cover signed by 4 members of the UDT team 13 March 1969
USS Guadalcanal3 Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by the Air Boss 13 March 1969

General Notes:
i) the USNS Vanguard had a dual role, firstly as a tracking ship and then it was moved to a different
position and acted as a Secondary Recovery Ship. Hence, two quite different cachets exist.
ii) The Beck covers for this mission are unusual. Although two different colours were produced as usual, both contained the 'Pacific' label. It can only be assumed that the blue coloured cachet was meant to be for the Altantic fleet and the die was incorrectly made with a Pacific label. It's also interesting that only the Vanguard cachet was overprinted with the word 'Altantic'.
iii) See article which shows that non USA stamps should not be used

Other Notes:
1) From the collection of Tom Steiner
2) From the collection of Antoni Rigo
3) Sold on eBay during 2014 a) 2017
4) From the collection of Joseph Volutza

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 1 November 2018

 


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