Apollo 11 cover nears $36K at auction

A 1969 cover flown to the moon aboard Apollo 11 and then held in quarantine with the flight crew sold for about $36,000 at a U.S. auction in mid-December.

“This cover flew to the moon on one of mankind’s greatest adventures, the first manned lunar landing mission,” auctioneers said.

The “Type One” cover, hand-numbered C-41, features the signatures of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin to the right of the colour cachet reading “NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club Official Commemorative Cover of the First Manned Lunar Exploration.” A 1969 U.S. six-cent stamp (Scott #1371) honouring Apollo 8, which took place a year earlier, franks the cover. An Aug. 11, 1969, cancellation from Webster, Texas, ties the stamp, beneath which a handstamp reads: “Delayed In Quarantine At / Lunar Receiving Laboratory / M.S.C. – Houston, Texas.”

On July 24 of that year, as Apollo 11 successfully returned to Earth after an eight-day mission to the lunar surface, the astronauts and equipment entered quarantined.

“As soon as this cover was released, it was taken to the nearest post office for cancellation,” auctioneers added. “This is the ultimate for any collector of space philately.”

One of only 214 examples, it sold for $26,250 US (about $36,000 Cdn.) as Lot 50061 of Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 15-16 Space Exploration Signature Auction.

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