POSTAL COVER CARRIED TO LUNAR SURFACE.
Postal cover, approximately 4 x 6 inches, bearing 2 1¢ Thomas Jefferson postage stamps, one 6¢ Apollo 8 Earthrise stamp, and twin 8¢ Apollo 15 "Decade of Achievement" stamps. Postmarked at KSC on launch date July 26, 1971, and aboard recovery ship USS Okinawa on splashdown date August 7, 1971. Printed cachets of Apollo 15 emblem and Air Force wing and propeller emblem. Printed text at upper left reading: "This envelope was carried to the moon aboard the Apollo 15. # [in manuscript: 176] of 300 to the lunar surface in the L.M. 'Falcon.'" NASA serial number 223 in ink on verso.
Signed at lower left by the Apollo 15 crew, DAVE SCOTT, AL WORDEN and JIM IRWIN.
One of the 400 controversial unauthorized postal covers flown to the moon's surface. A total of 643 postal covers were carried by the crew, of which 243 were carried in lunar orbit only and were listed and authorized before the flight; the 400 carried to the lunar surface were not. These last covers were produced at the suggestion of H. Walter Eiermann, a public relations specialist who was friends with several astronauts. He had been approached by a German philately dealer called Herman E. Sieger who suggested that the Apollo 15 crew to carry 100 of these covers to the moon for them in exchange for a scholarship fund for the crews children (which was subsequently declined by the crew). The astronauts additionally took 300 identical covers for their own use. The covers were produced by the Astronaut Office at KSC, paid for by the crew, prepared for flight according to official procedures, and stowed in a pocket of Scott's space suit. They were not listed as being in his PPK due to an oversight by the personnel who packaged and stowed the flight equipment. NASA acknowledged after the mission that the covers would have been approved had senior management been informed of their planned stowage.
Soon after several of the lunar orbit covers were sold to the public, Sieger began to sell his 100 covers, and both arrangements came to NASA's attention. NASA impounded all of the astronauts' remaining covers, and formally reprimanded the crew. In 1983, the astronauts successfully filed a suit against the government for the return of all of these covers, after NASA partnered with the USPS to sell Shuttle-flown covers.
With DAVE SCOTT'S signed provenance note, and a notarized certification dated July 19, 1983, signed by the three astronauts.