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Launch Covers Question (Satellites)  
 

 
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Valued Member
United States
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Posted 12/01/2016   5:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add sjtwxgirl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
A question for space cover experts...Is there a certain date when launch covers typically started in the US? Details below...

I don't normally collect covers, but I have a collection of meteorology-related stamps and covers, and some of them include weather satellite launches. I picked a few up on eBay through the years. I have decided it might be fun and hopefully inexpensive to collect a cover for each weather satellite launch of the US.

There are many easy-to-find covers out there for certain TIROS, GOES, ESSA, etc. I have a list of dates for all the launches. I did a quick eBay search...which leads me to my question. I can't seem to find any so far for the early launches. I find them from TIROS 4 onward rather easily (1962), but nothing before that. TIROS-1 was launched April, 1960. I see some later ones are quite common, but not seeing others so far.

Any tips/pointers/people that might be able to help? Of course, the hunt for the elusive ones are part of the fun!

Thanks!
Amy
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
4165 Posts
Posted 12/01/2016   5:36 pm  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You might contact the American First Day Cover Society. You can find them under http://afdcs.org and if I remember this correctly they also do flight- and rocket covers.

Peter
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Posted 12/03/2016   11:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I suppose it all depends on how you would like to define US launch covers. If you were to limit yourself just to covers that were created to commemorate NASA launches perhaps one might argue that the earliest might be January 31, 1958 with the launch of Explorer 1. Below is an image of one of these covers. Or if you are more interested in weather related flights you might start with the covers prepared commemorating the Century of Progress Stratosphere Balloon flight of August 5, 1933 though of course those are not rocket ones. Or if you want to collect covers that were actually flown on rockets perhaps the earliest documented rocket mail flight was The first U.S. Rocket Mail flight was on July 1, 1931 at Struthers, Ohio though there are claims for U.S. rocket mail flights as early as the May 5, 1904 rocket mail flight from a balloon at McConnellsville, NY.

If you would like to be in touch with the big time experts on astrophilately as well as people like yourself who focus their collecting on astrophilately I might recommend joining the Space Topic Study Unit of the American Philatelic Society. Here is their website link: http://www.space-unit.com/

Instead of collecting indiscriminately, my suggestion is to not only join the Space Topic Study Unit, but even more importantly to buy one or more of the books that catalog the different covers and flights. That way you can keep track of what you have and inform yourself on what you should look for. These will also give you a sense of when you are getting a fair deal on prices or when you are getting taken for ride and overpaying. Some of them will also help you learn just what to look for so you will not be fooled by some of the forgeries that are out there, especially for the less common or more expensive material. Here are a few catalogs you might consider starting with. My suggestion might be to borrow them from the American Philatelic Society Library first and then decide if you want to buy your own copy or perhaps just photocopy some parts of them for your personal use. The APS Library's website is http://stamps.org/About-the-Library

"Space Covers: Dictionary & Identifier" by Bruce Cranford

"COSMOS Catalog" by Espace Lollini (he has a number of different space related catalogs, but the one that is best for commemorative covers is the COSMOS catalog. COSMOS is an abbreviation for Catalogue des Oblitérations Spéciales et des Marques Officielles Spatiales.

"ELLINGTON-ZWISLER ROCKET MAIL CATALOG: Set of 2 volumes." Volume I-1904-1967 International Unabridged; Volume II-1968-1972 International Unabridged, Plus Additional New Listings Discovered Since Publication of Volume 1. Edited by Perry Zwisler This is the definite catalog of covers that were actually flown in rockets up from the beginning and up and until 1972. You would not find commemorative covers for rocket launches here.

Here is a photo of an Explorer 1 commemorative launch cover:
http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL23...03734437.jpg
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Edited by Kimo - 12/03/2016 12:04 pm
Valued Member
United States
38 Posts
Posted 12/03/2016   11:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sjtwxgirl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, Kimo,

Thanks a ton for all the suggestions. Looks like there's a lot more to this than I thought. I will indeed take up your suggestions. I have noticed a lot of variation in prices of some launch covers on eBay. I have a pretty good idea of stamp values, but covers are a whole different story for me. I will have to check out some of the catalogues. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Amy
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Posted 12/04/2016   9:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Amy. The great thing about astrophilately is that you can make it a hobby for an entire lifetime and never get bored with it if you have an interest. And the more you learn about the details of each flight and why and how things progressed through time you can get really enthralled by it all.

As for prices on eBay you should keep in mind that the majority of eBay sellers are fishing for people who do not know the values of things and so they set their starting bids unrealistically high in hopes of catching unknowledgeable buyers. A smart thing to do is to spend time looking at and keeping track of prices that are actually paid and ignore starting bids. The way to do that is to filter your search for "SOLD ITEMS" and you will see what people actually paid for things. After a while you will get a good idea of what these covers go for. In general most are inexpensive with a few exceptions such as the very early ones or ones that have rare cachets. For example you can find two covers commemorating the same launch with one going for $1 and the other going for $20 with the difference being the cachet. Autographs also add to values but you need to spend time learning how to tell real autographs which can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars added value. Real autographs add value, while "autopen autographs" which are made by a machine are worth almost nothing. Investing in a couple of key reference books, spending a few bucks to join the society and then participating in it making friends and asking questions from the experts, and spending time rummaging through the on-line catalog of the APS Research Library and borrowing and reading the relevant books, and being methodical about tracking actual sales prices on eBay are all worth the time and effort and money in terms of your really enjoying your collecting and having a nice collection to play with.
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Edited by Kimo - 12/05/2016 4:40 pm
Valued Member
United States
122 Posts
Posted 12/05/2016   08:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mml1942 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Amy:

Another source of information can be found in the on-line Exhibits in the Astrophilately section of the EXPONET site here:

http://www.exponet.info/exhibit_sel...gory_CLS_ID=

Some will be in foreign languages, but the covers are educational.
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United States
1973 Posts
Posted 12/05/2016   5:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As usual Wikipedia has tons of data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIROS-1
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Posted 01/05/2017   6:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are two 1 April 1960 TIROS 1 covers listed here. I have no affiliation with the seller, but find the site to be a great reference:

http://www.spacecoverstore.com/prod...type=keyword

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