Moon Landing Must-Haves: Signed Apollo 11 Postal Covers

February 16th, 2011

An autograph of the first man who walked on the Moon is a must-have for space-history collectors. But an astronomical number of forgeries of Neil Armstrong’s signature fly around in the market place, so buyers are understandably nervous.

The so-called “insurance” postal covers from Apollo 11 are a safe way of acquiring the crew’s autographs. As Buzz Aldrin has explained, “Since we were unable to obtain adequate life insurance due to the high risk nature of being an astronaut, we signed this group of covers and evenly distributed them to our families for safe keeping while we performed our mission. If an unfortunate event prevented our safe return, the covers would have provided a limited financial means of support to our families.”

An insurance cover with the right postmarks (the launch date of July 16 or the lunar landing date of July 20, 1969), the right cachets (printed images of the Apollo 11 crew emblem or the lunar surface), and a letter of authenticity from one of the astronauts gives you a gilt-edged piece featuring the autographs of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Expect to pay upwards of $5,000 in auction.

(Matthew Haley is the Specialist in Fine Books and Manuscripts at the auction house Bonhams.)

5 comments so far

  1. Bob Mandell Says:

    Think about it:
    In those days, these people were committed to an ideal, patriotism, and courage in the face of danger. Today, some are, but they are fewer. I think it has to do with having faced mortal enemies in World War II, and then a determined world adversary in the Soviet Union. It was a big contest. And it made people bigger.
    They weren’t looking to ‘make a buck’ so much as buck the unknown.
    Get the spirit back.

  2. Liz Says:

    I have a coin with the moon rock that was given to the Admin crew of the Navy ship that picked them up. I also have the tie clasp of the helo pulling them out of the ocean. Very good memories.

  3. Gerald W. West Says:

    There is nothing I could say that has not already been said before and better. I’m 89 and I have followed the space program from it’s inception. In my opion, the space program must continue because it’s inherent ability to stimulate the imagination of the next geneation.

  4. Insurance Cover Says:

    It was really a beautiful experience going through your post and knowing about Apollo insurance postal covers. Thanks.

  5. Matthew Haley Says:

    Thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

    Matthew Haley

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We didn’t want to do that ticky-tacky thing where you had one piece that was authentic surrounded by replicas.