After the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to earth in July 1969, the whole of America (and the world) went moon crazy. Souvenirs of all kinds were created. I like this pennant—it’s classic of the time period.
I really like this little piece of history. As the Apollo 11 crew was heading back to earth after the successful first lunar landing mission, US Senator Ralph W Yarborough of Texas sent a telegram to the wife and family of his constituent Buzz Aldrin.
"Congratulations to all of you as you await the return of Astronaut Aldrin to earth after being part of the first team of men to walk on the surface of the moon. You have helped make this dream come true for all humanity by your patience, your understanding, and your fortitude."
In an age of email and instant messaging, we sometimes forget the power of the telegram. The NASA Manned Spacecraft Center mailroom stamp with the date and time plus Buzz Aldrin’s signature makes this special.
The astronauts became famous celebrities and many people wanted their autographs. When requests came in to the astronaut offices in Florida or Houston they were often fulfilled by using an autopen signature on a crew portrait.
I find these items fascinating and have an example of each Apollo crew portrait with autopen signatures in my collection. The Apollo 11 example has become an increasingly valuable collectible in its own right.
Special guests who were invited to watch the launches of the Apollo program from a special viewing area were issued passes. These lucky few were entitled to be at a spot that was as close to the launch as one could safely get. I have a launch viewing pass from each Apollo mission in my collection.
On the other missions, the passes were rather ordinary. But with the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, the first lunar landing attempt, NASA dressed up the launch viewing passes and for the first time wrote on the pass: "After launch, it may be kept as a souvenir of the mission."
These interesting passes issued to Fred Cambria from CBS Television entitled him to cover the launch from Kennedy Space Center and then cover the mission as it unfolded from the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.
Upon returning to earth, the crew of Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission spent many months touring the world as heroes. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins became three of the most famous people on earth.
Nixon, who had a reputation of being distrustful of the press, used the Apollo 11 success as a chance to send a souvenir packet to journalists, perhaps to win their favor.
This package includes an envelope, letter from Nixon, and first day of issue stamp folio. The crew signatures are printed and the Nixon signature is (I think) an autopen.