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Project Mercury/John Glenn
U.S. First Day Covers (#1193)
February 20, 1962

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Project Mercury Scotts #1193
Scotts #1193

Notes

Special sale of U.S.A. Project Mercury First Day covers commemorating the three orbit flight of John H.Glenn, Jr. in his space capsule "Friendship 7". Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

305 postoffices all over the country released the Project Mercury stamp for sale to the public at 3:30 pm upon the successful splashdown of Astronaut John Glenn Jr,. This stamp was designed and printed in secret and distributed to the 305 post offices. Even these post offices did not know what they had received until word was given to open the packages and put the stamps on sale.

Since this was a surprise stamp issue, many post offices only had the stamps on sale for a couple of hours. Collectors did not have much time to prepare first day covers and they used whatever envelopes were handy. Thus many of the Project Mercury FDCs have the cheaper envelope paper used for everyday correspondence, and today many of these envelopes are now beginning to show toning (a discoloration, which can be over the entire envelope or by bleedthrough from the gummed seams and/or gummed back flap).

Only the Cape Canaveral Florida postmark has the words "First Day of Issue" in its cancel. This is considered the official cancel.

Many collectors have tried to collect a first day cover from each of the 305 cities, but as far as I know this has not been accomplished.

Did you know that when the Project Mercury stamp was issued there was no post office named Cape Canaveral? Cape Canaveral was a geographical name for a point of land where the launch took place.

The town of Port Canaveral did exist at the time of the Mercury/Glenn launch and sometime later its name was changed to Cape Canaveral.


  • All covers are the standard U.S. size (number 6), as collected in the USA, unless otherwise noted.
  • All covers are unaddressed unless otherwise noted.
  • All covers are cacheted and a brief description is given of the event being commemorated, unless otherwise noted.
  • If covers are autographed they are genuine.
  • Please print out the ON-LINE ORDER FORM and use it to mark down the covers you need. When ordering, please mark the LIST ID as well as ITEM ID.

Abbreviations

Two catalog numbers are given in parenthesis, the first is scott's catalog number of 1193, the Project Mercury stamp and the second number if known is the cachet number as listed in Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of FDCs

C = Cape Canaveral, Florida
M = Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of FDCs Number
NIM = Not in Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of FDCs

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Price List

LIST IDITEM IDPRICECANCEL DATECANCEL LOC
FDC1193AM004MX$10.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC, ERROR IN THIS CACHET (#1193; Mellon #4 variety), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. Black ARTCRAFT engraved printed cachet, shows John Glenn in space helmet and picture of a Mercury REDSTONE launch vehicle (The ERROR is that it should show the Mercury ATLAS instead of the Mercury REDSTONE launch vehicle), cachet with text reading: "First Day of Issue, NASA Atlas Mercury at lift off. Commemorating first successful orbital flight by an American, Feb. 20, 1962, John H. Glenn, Jr.". NOTE: the Redstone launch vehicle was used for the suborbital flights, while the Atlas launch vehicles were used for all of the Mercury manned orbital flights.

FDC1193AM022MA$8.0002/20/1962 
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #22), with unofficial Anacortes Washington machine cancel. CASCADE (unidentified) printed cachet, in orange and blue, shows drawing of Glenn in his spacesuit and the Mercury capsule with appropriate first day of issue text.

FDC1193AM031HPLB$6.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #31), with PLATE BLOCK of 4 Project Mercury stamps (lower right block #27067). Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue hand cancel. Blue and Orange FLEETWOOD printed cachet, shows John Glenn in space helmet and his Mercury Atlas launch vehicle lifting off plus text reading: "Honoring Project Mercury, Astronaut Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, U.S. Orbital Flight Feb. 20, 1962, First Day of Issue". IMAGE

FDC1193AM058MA$8.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #58), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. FIRST ORBIT (unidentified) printed cachet in black, shows head of John Glenn and 6 line printed text for this event. NOTE: some envelope toning. IMAGE

FDC1193AM059MA$8.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #59), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. FIRST ORBIT (unidentified) printed cachet in black, shows Mercury capsule orbiting Earth globe and 9 line printed text for this event. NOTE: some envelope toning.

FDC1193AM059MB$10.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #59), with block of 4 Project Mercury stamps. Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. FIRST ORBIT (unidentified) printed cachet in black, shows Mercury capsule orbiting Earth globe and 9 line printed text for this event. NOTE: some envelope toning.

FDC1193AM066HA$10.0002/20/1962 
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC, (#1193; Mellon #23), Port Canaveral FL hand cancel, note: this is an unofficial cancel as it says "Port" instead of "Cape" Canaveral. Blue SARZIN printed cachet, (unidentified, except that it is addressed to Mr. Sarzin, that is how you can tell it is a Sarzin cachet). Cachet shows Glenn in a space helmet, with printed text: "American in Orbit. Today Col. John Glenn, Jr. made American Space history and electrified the world, with his historic 3 orbit ride around the globe in the Spaceship Friendship 7, rocketed into space by an Atlas missile". I believe this is a FIRST CACHET by Sarzin, and an selling it as such. Note: The Mellon's Encyclopedia of First Cachets, 2006 edition, lists the first Sarzin cachet as #1246, (the JFK commemorative stamp of May 29, 1964), however this Project Mercury cover is dated much earlier.

FDC1193AM067MAB$20.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #67), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. FIRST SPACE CRAFT cachet designed by Carl Swanson, printed in 3 colors (blue, gold & brown) depicts the world, Mercury capsule, space suited astronaut and the Mercury Atlas rocket launch with appropriate text. NOTE: Three different color cachets exist for this FIRST cachet. This color (blue, gold & brown) is less common & has the Space Craft Cachet catalog number of #23A.

FDC1193AM077MA$8.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #77), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. blue and red DARGIS VELVATONE flocked cachet (unidentified, flocking is a velvet-like finish) ,shows a Mercury space capsule and text: "American in Orbit, Col. John Glenn Jr."

FDC1193AM078MA$8.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #78), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. blue and flesh colored DARGIS VELVATONE flocked cachet (unidentified, flocking is a velvet-like finish) ,shows a bust of John Glenn and text: "Project Mercury."

FDC1193AM120MA$8.0002/20/1962 
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #120), with unofficial Flushing NY. machine slogan cancel. FIRST NOVAK printed cachet in blue, showns Mercury capsule and 4 line printed text for this event, reads: "Project Mercury, U.S. Man in Space, Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr., February 20th, 1962". NOTE: envelope toning.

FDC1193AM137MA$7.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #137), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. Black UNKNOWN printed cachet, (unidentified), shows a picture of John H. Glenn Jr,in his space helmet and Mercury capsule with escape tower attached, with printed text: "First Day of Issue. Project Mercury, commemorating the first successful orbital flight by an american Feb-20, 1963, John H. Glenn, Jr."

FDC1193AM139MA$5.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Mellon #23), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. Black and silver CENTENNIAL printed cachet, (unidentified) shows rocket lifting off, with thermographed (raised) printed text: "Lt. Col. John H. Glenn in the United States First Orbital Space Flight. Feb. 20, 1962, Project Mercury".

FDC1193ANF10MA$3.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Not in Mellon), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. 2 color JJF (unidentified) rubber stamp cachet shows the Mercury capsule with 4 lines of text "*John H. Glenn, Jr.*, first U.S. Astronaut to orbit Earth, *Project Mercury*".

FDC1193ANF22DAQ$7.0002/20/1962DBL
A SPECIAL DOUBLE CANCELLED PROJECT MERCURY (JOHN GLENN FLIGHT) FIRST DAY COVER AND JOHN GLENN RETURNS TO SPACE IN SPACE SHUTTLE STS-95. (#1193; Not in Mellon). The 1st cancel is a First Day of Issue machine cancel of Cape Canaveral FL on a 4 cent Project Mercury space stamp (#1193). With blue Virginia Philatelic Federation & Robert C. Graebner Chapter #17 AFDCS printed cachet for the 75th Anniversary American Airmail Society showing an aviator and an astronaut plus illustrations of an airship, biplane, space research vehicle and the space shuttle and an additional word rubber stamp text reading: "John Glenn STS-95 Launch". The 2nd cancel is a hand cancel (clearly readable) from Washington DC of 10/29/1998 on a 32 cent 1998 Space Discovery stamp (#3240), for the launch of the STS-95 Space Shuttle. (John Glenn was a U.S. Senator, from Washington DC, and NASA Headquarters is also located in Washington DC).

FDC1193ANF25MA$8.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Not in Mellon), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. Blue UNKNOWN printed cachet, (unidentified) of all printed small text: "'Man in Space' Lt. Col. John Glenn, February 20th. 1962, 'Three times around the world between breakfast and lunch'". NOTE There is bending at the top left corner. Price has been adjusted for this.

FDC1193ANF30MA$50.0002/20/1962C
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Not in Mellon), Cape Canaveral Florida first day of issue machine cancel. multicolor RALPH DYER HAND PAINTED add-on cachet, shows Mercury capsule orbiting the earth, with banner reading: "John Glenn's First U.S.A. Triple Orbital Flight, 1962".

FDC1193ANN20HA$165.0002/20/1962 
4 CENT PROJECT MERCURY FDC (#1193; Not in Mellon), U.S.S. NOA hand cancel. multicolor printed cachet (unidentified), shows Mercury capsule and the recovery ship U.S.S. Noa, with printed text: "U.S.S. Noa, DD-841 Recovery Ship for the First U.S. Man in Space, first day of issue. This commemorative cover was a part of the first mail dispatch from the destroyer U.S.S. Noa following recovery of U.S. astronaut Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jrl, USMC, and Mercury space capsule'Friendship Seven.'" NOTE: this is a backdated cancel, as the Project Mercury postage stamps were not onboard the ship until Feb. 23, 1962. However this is still a SCARCE cover.

DB: stats: tusd(62,18,44,0)


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