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Astronaut Shepard - NASA Local Post cover
Space City Cover Society printed cachet cover with NASA Local Post stamp and local cancel for the 10th anniversary of the Project Mercury flight of Astronaut Alan Shepard, the First U.S. Astronaut into Space.

Because of the importance of Houston Texas as a Space Center -- it is the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (previously named the Manned Spacecraft Center) -- it was inevitable that philatelic space enthusiasts would get together and form a society. A society was formed shortly before the untimely deaths of astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee in the Apollo One fire and was organized under the name of the Space City Philatelic Society but ultimately changed the name to Space City Cover Society (SCCS).

When word was received of the tragic death of the first Apollo team, the Space City Cover Society wrestled with itself as to whether or not it should have some covers cancelled and it was decided that in the interest of other and future space collectors that it should do so. However, when it was attempted to get a "NASA" station cancel the Society was informed that none was available as all mail in the Houston area, and this included NASA, was cancelled at the main Houston Post Office in downtown Houston.

It was at this point that the Society decided that the best and proper way to fill this philatelic void was to create a NASA Local Post with its own cancel, which is permissable under postal regulations. It was decided to do this for any event with a space tie-in and most of these have been done for Houston events only, but in some others, for events outside of the Houston area, like Cape Canaveral FL.

It should be pointed out, for the beginner especially, that the NASA Local Post in no way is connected with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It should also be pointed out, that the NASA locals are not U.S. postage, but a local post issue, and are used on cover only when there is the regular first class rate of U.S. postage used and properly cancelled at a U.S. Post Office.

The Society has always tried to provide quality covers for collectors, either with its Space City Cover Society (SCCS) cacheted covers and with its NASA Local Post covers (that also have SCCS cachets). Most of their covers have a U.S. Post Office machine cancellation on rag bond envelopes (unless they used a government stamped envelope) and have used U.S. space stamps on their covers when they were the first class rate of postage. The majority of the cachets are printed in color however a few rubber stamp cachets have been issued.

Most of the NASA Local Post covers issued are first day covers (of the local post stamp), however the same local post stamps may be found on covers after their first day of issue to commemorate an event in the same space flight, and these are considered commemorative local post covers. Most of these commemorative covers have a different colored local cancel from the cancel on the first day of issue.

The Society has strived for perfection in the printing of their NASA Local Post stamps and to their knowledge no "printing errors" exist. All of their local post stamps exist in perforated condition and all local post covers have a "normal" local post stamp. The NASA Local Post stamps have always been issued in sheets with border inscriptions and sold that way. The number of stamps in a sheet have varied depending on the issue. Some stamps in the Apollo series were also issued tete-beche.

Many long-time collectors will attest to the validity of the higher prices on the early Space City Cover Society covers and the NASA Local Post covers. Most of these early covers were issued in quantities of only 100 to 400. Covers that have the NASA Local Post stamps affixed are sought by not only the space cover collectors but also the collectors of local posts. Popular flights such as Apollo 11, the first man on the Moon flight and Apollo 13, the almost fatal flight to the Moon, also have been quite popular with collectors and the prices for these covers are significantly higher. Any flight that is a historic first or commemorates an important space flight command higher prices as dictated by demand and prices realized in space cover auctions.

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Mercury Project NASA Local Post covers

Project Mercury Anniversary - NASA Local Post cover
Space City Cover Society printed cachet cover with NASA Local Post stamp and local cancel for the 10th anniversary of the naming of the Project Mercury Astronaut Space Team. This cover is franked with a pair of Project Mercury U.S. postage stamps.


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