Postal Updates

Postmark commemorates the first lunar rover mission

Aug 10, 2021, 9 AM
The Aug. 2 Apollo 15 pictorial cancellation honors lunar module pilot and Pittsburgh native James B. Irwin.

Postmark Pursuit by Molly Goad

A Pittsburgh, Pa., pictorial postmark is available for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth of the lunar missions to land astronauts on the moon and the first to use the lunar roving vehicle.

The mission’s crew members were David R. Scott, commander; Alfred J. Worden (1932-2020), command module pilot; and James B. Irwin (1930-1991), lunar module pilot.

Scott and Irwin spent 18 hours exploring the moon’s surface, collecting rocks and core samples.

The mission was considered a success, as it achieved all of its objectives and then some.

Apollo 15 headed back to Earth on Aug. 2, 1971. Also on that date, the Postal Service issued a pair of 8¢ Space Achievement Decade stamps (Scott 1435b) featuring a lunar rover.

Linn’s Astrophilately columnist, Chuck Vukotich, explained that just before Irwin and Scott left the moon’s surface, they canceled an envelope with two of the aforementioned stamps on it. The cancellation read: “UNITED STATES/ON THE MOON/AUG. 2 1971/FIRST DAY OF ISSUE.” That cover now resides in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

Vukotich organized the details for the postmark pictured here, obtaining permission from the Irwin family and designing the artwork himself.

To obtain the postmark, address your request to: APOLLO 15 Station, Retail Manager, 1001 California Ave., Room 2036, Pittsburgh, PA 15290-9998, Aug. 2.

For more pictorial postmark listings, subscribe to Linn’s Stamp News.

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