APOLLO RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Apollo 17 - 19 December 1972

Recovery Force Shipsii
Ship Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USS Adroit SRS - Minesweeper MSO-509 Y
USS Alacrity SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-520 Y
USS Assurance SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-521 Y
USS Fidelity SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-443 Y
USS Recovery SRS - Salvage & Rescue Ship ARS-43 N
USS Saginaw SRS - Landing Ship Tank LST-1188 Y
Pacific
USS Ticonderoga PRS - Carrier CVS-14 Y
USS Camden SRS - Replenishment Ship AOE-2 N
Tracking Ships
USS Vanguard TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-19 Y
Recovery Control Centers
Norfolk VA Atlantic Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Kunia HI Pacific Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Not Involved
USNS Redstone TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-20 Y

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Ticonderoga Hand Canceli Commom
USS Ticonderoga Machine Cancel for 20thi
See also A Rare captain's Cover2
Rare
Norfolk Fleet Br. VA Large Postmark Common
Norfolk VA Smaller Postmark Common
Norfolk VA Double Ring Postmark Less Common
USNS Vanguard3 Cape Canaveral Hand Cancel U/K
USS Assurance US Postal Service SC 294 U/K


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

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a square general Recovery Force cachet with a parachute or NASA emblem in each of the four corners

 Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a square general Recovery Force cachet with a parachute or NASA emblem in each of the four corners

 Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Atlantic Similar but larger version of the Navy Cachet Atlantic:Black/Orange/Brown
Pacific :Black/Red/Green
Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacific Similar but larger version of the Navy Cachet Atlantic:Black/Orange/Brown
Pacific :Black/Red/Green
Printed
TF-130 TF-130 Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force Pacific shows Apollo capsule and Recovery Forces Red Rubber Stamp
TF-140 TF-140 Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force Atlantic shows Apollo capsule in sea with parachutes attached Blue Rubber Stamp
Goldcraft Cachet Shows Apollo Capsule in the Water & a Helicopter Black Printed
Artopages Cachet Navy Recovery Ship cachet Blue & Orange Printed
NASA Cachet Apollo 17 NASA shows various items Blue Rubber Stamp

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours & Type

Beck Numbers

USS Ticonderoga Maroon Navy B884, B885
USS Adroit Blue TF-140 None
USS Alacrity Blue TF-140,
Maroon TF-140 (scarce)
None
USS Assurance Blue TF-140 None
USS Fidelity Blue TF-140 None
USS Saginaw Black Navy None
Norfolk VA Black Navy B886, B887

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Ticonderoga Hand drawn cachet of the Ticonderoga plus Navy cachet B/W plus Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Ticonderoga Unusual Cachet B/W Rubber Stamp
USS Ticonderoga Lunar Map cover with Navy cachet Greyscale plus Maroon Printed and Rubber Stamp
USS Ticonderoga Postcard Multicolour Printed
USS Ticonderoga Interesting Drawing on Back Multicolour Drawn
USS Ticonderoga1 Postmark missing the DEC Maroon Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Goddard Tracking Team USNS Vanguard Cachet - USPS postmark with cover marked Dec 19 1972 Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Similar to above but with CC machine postmark and cover marked Dec 13 1972 Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Similar to above but with CC hand postmark and cover marked Dec 13 1972 Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Master USNS Vanguard corner card with CC Dec 7 postmark Aqua Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Master USNS Vanguard corner card & signature plus Navy and ship's cachets Black / Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Card with Master USNS Vanguard corner card & signature plus Mission emblem and ship's cachets Blue / Black Rubber Stamp
Norfolk VA TF 140 - Norfolk Fleet Br. Postmark Black Rubber Stamp
Norfolk VA Navy Atlantic Cachet - Norfolk Double Ring Postmark Black Rubber Stamp
Norfolk VA Mission Emblem Cover Multicolour Printed
Norfolk VA TF-140 cachet plus Apollo 17 cachet - Norfolk 14 December postmark Blue / Aqua Rubber Stamp
Kunia HI Inner & Outer Space Mission Emblem Cachet - Splashdown - Dec 19 Multicolour Printed
Kunia HI Inner & Outer Space TF 130 Cachet - Dec 6 Blue & Gold Printed
Kunia HI TF 130 Cachet - Dec 19 Maroon Rubber Stamp
Cook Islands Special Splashdown Postmark Black Postmark
Western Samoa Special Splashdown Postmark Black Postmark

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 Ticonderoga Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by the pilot of main Recovery Helicopter 22 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga Cover signed by 3 members of the SWIM recovery helicopter 20 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga Cover signed by the Backup Helicopter Pilot & Co-pilot 11 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga3 Similar to above but with a clearer (late) postmark 22 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga4 A postcard and a PRS cover signed by various members of the recovery crew. 28 November 1972 &
27 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga4a Cover signed by 10 frogman 22 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga Cover signed by the Commanding Officer Captain Norman Green 19 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga Cover signed by the pilot & crew of the main recovery helicopter 19 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga Wonderful cover signed by 11 members of the Recovery Team. Also postmarked aboard on the 22 December 22 December 1972
USS Ticonderoga4b A set of two covers signed by 16 members of the Recovery Team 22 & 27 December 1972

General Notes:
i) The Post Office on board was closed on the recovery date 19th. Thus the first postmark available to collectors actually postmarked on board was for the 20th. The USS Ticonderoga postmark from the 19th was postmarked on shore.
ii) Chart showing launch support forces

Other Notes
1) From the collection of Tom Steiner
2) From the collection of Steve Durst
3) From the collection of Luc Jallot
4) Sold on eBay during 2010 4a) 2011 4b) 2013

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 26 September 2018

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