SKYLAB RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Skylab 2 (Manned Skylab I) - Launch 25 May 1973 - Splashdown 22 June 1973

Recovery Force Shipsi
Ship Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USS Escape SRS - Rescue & Salvage Ship ARS-6 Y
Pacific
USS Ticonderoga PRS - Carrier CVS-14 Y
USS Grapple SRS - Rescue & Salvage Ship ARS-53 Y
Tracking Ships
USNS Vanguard TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-19 Y
USNS Redstoneii TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-20 Y
Recovery Control Centers
Norfolk VA Atlantic Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Kunia HI Pacific Recovery Control center N/A Y

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Ticonderoga  Hand Cancel - Ticonderoga at Bottom - Day of Recovery
Used in Hawaii
Common
USS Ticonderoga Machine Cancel - Day after Recovery
Used aboard PRS - these are normally extremely light
Rare
USNS Vanguard Cape Canaveral - 25 May - Launch Common
USNS Vanguard Mar Del Plata - 29 May - nearest port to tracking area U/K
USNS Vanguard Mar Del Plata - 29 May - different postmark - red U/K
USNS Vanguard Mar Del Plata - 6 June U/K
USNS Vanguard Jamaica - 13 Jul U/K
USNS Vanguard Cape Canaveral - 22 June - Recovery U/K
USNS Vanguard Unusual cancel Naval Ship Vanguard Skylab Mission without a date and without any other postmark. Comes in black, blue, aqua and maroon Common
USNS Vanguard Unusual cancel Naval Ship Vanguard Skylab Mission without a date over a Mar Del Plata postmark U/K
USNS Redstoneii Cape Canaveral Hand Cancel - 25 May Common
USNS Redstoneii Cape Canaveral Machine Cancel - 26 May Common
Kunia HI 25 May - Inner & Outer Space Printed Cachet U/K
Kunia HI 22 Jun - Inner & Outer Space General Skylab Cachet U/K
Kunia HI TF-130 cachet with postmarks for 14 May & 22 June U/K
Norfolk VA 22 Jun Machine Cancel Common
Norfolk VA 22 Jun Hand Cancel Less Common
Norfolk VA2 22 Jun Dual Hand & Machine Cancels Rare


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

Designed by Morris Beck it shows the Earth, capsule, parachute etc

 Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows the Earth, capsule, parachute etc

Maroon Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Atlantic Similar to but larger than Navy Cachet Blue-Orange-Black Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacific Similar to but larger than Navy Cachet Green-Red-Black Printed
TF-130 Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force - Pacific
Shows a capsule & various Recovery Craft
Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
TF-140 Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force - Atlantic
Shows a capsule in the ocean with parachutes
Black, Blue Rubber Stamp

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Ticonderoga Navy - Maroon B888, B889
USS Escape TF-140 - Black, Blue None
Norfolk Navy - Black
TF-140 - Black
B890, B891

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Ticonderoga JSC Stamp Club Cover Multicolour Printed
 USS Grapple  Photo of Skylab plus ship's cachet Black Printed/Rubber Stamp
USS Grapple1 Two different cachets on a USS Grapple cover with a corner card Black, Red Rubber stamp
USS Escape Skylab I Mission Emblem - Jacksonville pmk 30th Blue Rubber Stamp
USS Escape Photo of ship - Cape Canaveral pmk 26th Black Printed
USNS Redstone4 A Bob Boudwin cover showing the mission emblem Red Rubber Stamp
Norfolk VA Colourful Astro cachet shows capsule being recovered Multicolour Printed

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - covers postmarked on 23rd were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
USS Ticonderoga Helicopter Recovery Cover marked 22 June 1973 and signed by the pilot & crew of one of the recovery helicopters 23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga Helicopter Recovery Cover marked 22 June 1973 and signed by the pilot & crew of the Swim-1 recovery helicopter 23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga3 A different helicopter Recovery Cover marked 22 June 1973 and signed by the pilot and crew of one of the recovery helicopters probably 23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga PRS cover signed by the ship's Captain Norman Kenneth Green 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga PRS cover signed by 12 Recovery Frogmen (7 signatures are on the back). 23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga3a PRS cover signed by Rear Admiral J.Butte Jr and the ship's Captain Norman Kenneth Green 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga3a A postcard and PRS cover signed by the ship's Captain Norman Kenneth Green 22 June 1973
23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga2 PRS Cover marked 22 June 1973 and signed by the pilot of one of the recovery helicopters 23 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga2 This unusual cover from the USS Ticonderoga is dated for the launch of Skylab 1 and is signed by the Skylab II medical team 14 May 1973
USS Ticonderoga3a PRS cover with late postmark signed by 15 members of the medical team 28 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga PRS cover with late postmark signed by 6 frogmen from the UDT #11 Team 29 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga This cover was signed by the three Skylab 2 Astronauts. It was probably not aboard the PRS during recovery. See companion covers for Skylab 3 & 4. 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga3a The cover was signed by Conrad, Kerwin, Weitz and the Swim-Team ? June 1973
USS Ticonderoga5 Signed by recovery aircraft commander CW2 Robert A Price 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga Signed by pilot & crew of main recovery helicopter 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga Signed on front & back by 13 members of the UDT crew 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga Signed on front & back by 11 members of the UDT crew 22 June 1973
USS Ticonderoga Signed on front & back by 13 members of the UDT crew 22 June 1973

Notes General:
i ) The USS Escape was the launch site recovery ship for the launch on May 25. The USS Ticonderoga and the USS Grapple were recovery ships for the splashdown on June 22.
ii ) The USNS Redstone was stationed in port on standby

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of John Macco
2) From the collection of Tom Steiner
3) Sold on eBay 2009    a) 2011
4) From the collection of Luc Jallot
5) From the collection of Timothy Preston

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 21 April 2018

 

 


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