Whole Object Name
Apollo 11 First Day Cover
This first day cover was produced in 1969 to commemorate Apollo 11. The stamp was designed by Paul Calle, who was one of the first artists chosen for the NASA Art Program. The aim of the programme was to record the development of Space Exploration from an artist’s perspective. Calle was with the Apollo 11 crew as they prepared to launch, documenting the historic day as it unfolded.
Calle actually designed the stamp before the mission but managed to capture Neil Armstrong’s first steps from the lunar module onto the surface with remarkable accuracy. The master die for the stamp was carried to the Moon with the Apollo 11 crew. They also took a “moon letter” to be hand cancelled on the lunar surface with a “Moon Landing USA Jul 20 1969” postmark. In the end the crew were too busy to do this while on the Moon, instead they completed the task on the return journey.
Once back on Earth, the die was used to make the printing plates for the postage stamps to be issued by the United States Post Office. They were released on 9 September 1969 and also carry a second postmark identical to the one the astronauts used on the moon letter.