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Wagner Collection of Space Exploration and Moon Landings First Day Covers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 491
This collection contains eight volumes of Space Exploration and Moon Landings First Day Covers, containing an extensive and unique look into the stamps and first day covers of the early era of flight and space. They are primarily United States issued, but the collection also contains numerous international first day covers.  A First Day Cover (FDC) is an envelope or card bearing a stamp which is cancelled on the day the stamp is initially placed on sale by the postal authorities. Although most U.S. stamps are released nationwide on the first day, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will designate a single city as the "official" first day city. (Sometimes multiple cities are designated as “official.”) The location is usually appropriate to the subject of the stamp, and will be the only place where the “First Day of Issue” postmark is used. Binder 1 begins with a stamp, issued July 20, 1969 and includes a "memorandum for the vice president, as Chairman of the Space Council to be in charge of making an overall survey of where we stand in space..." via John F. Kennedy, memo dated, April 20, 1961. At the bottom of the memorandum is the statement, "United States Beats The Soviets To The Moon As Proposed By President Kennedy Back in 1961." The collection goes beyond this, to include first day covers issued for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the Space Shuttle and many satellites in between. Also included are many unique first day covers related to flight and space. Some of the covers found in the first binder include those issued for the first manned Gemini flight and signed by Gus Grissom and John Young; Gemini 8, signed by Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott; Gemini 9, signed by Gene Cernan and Thomas P. Stafford; "America Honors Charles L. Lindbergh;" "The Apollo Tragedy - Astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee" and "Fire In The Spacecraft," which includes the signatures of Virgil I. Grissom, Roger B. Chaffee and Edward H. White II. The second binder includes Apollo 7 - Apollo 10, with some covers signed by the respective astronauts for those missions. The third binder has a wealth of covers and stamps from Apollo 11, many from around the world. It also includes Apollo 12. Very few covers in binder 3 are signed. Binder 4 features a special "Monkeynaut Soars Into Earth Orbit," first day cover, along with additional Apollo 11 first day covers, one having been signed by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Binder 5 features Apollo 13 and 14. There are many first day covers from around the world. Several feature the aborted Apollo 13 mission, along with "A Decade of Manned Space Flight," dated May 5, 1971. Binder 6 focuses on Apollo 15, "Fifth Moon Landing Expedition," the inaugural launch of Skylab, including the first through third Skylab teams. Binder 7, in particular covers a range of significant moments in the history of flight. It features everything from further Skylab flights, "U.S. - U.S.S.R. Space Treaty," May 24, 1972 - "Agreement to Dock an Apollo Spacecraft with a Russian Soyuz Space Laboratory in 1975," along with numerous Apollo/Soyuz first day covers. Anniversary first day covers include the 40th anniversary of the Hindenburg flight, Charles Lindberg, the golden anniversary honoring Amelia Earhart's first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean, the "First Balloonists Across Atlantic Honored by President Carter in Wash., D.C." and "Voyager 1 Closest Approach To The Planet Jupiter And Its Moons." The latter part of the binder features the Space Shuttle roll-out through STS-7, some are signed. Many in this binder are signed (original signatures not verified). The final binder, 8, starts with Space Shuttle, STS-8, and it also includes, "Flight 41-G of Space Shuttle," "The First Space Walk of an American Woman Astronaut," Kathryn D. Sullivan. Along with flights 51-D, 51-B, 51-F, 51-1, 51-J and a few launch photographs at the back of the binder. All 8 binders cover the years 1961-1986. An excellent resource for any researcher interested in first day covers. Please note, signatures found in this collection have not been verified as originals. The collection was a gift of Dr. Lindley H. Wagner, retired Head of the Lafayette Center for Medical Education at Purdue University. First Day Cover Information Source: Retrieved March 31, 2014 from:


  • 1961-1986
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1969


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


6.00 Cubic Feet

8 flat grey boxes other_unmapped


Eight volumes of Space Exploration and Moon Landing First Day Covers, containing an incredibly rare, extensive and unique look into the stamps of that era.

Arrangement Note

To preserve the history and nature of the collection, the first day covers remain in the original binders and order as received. The binders are housed in unique boxes, and they are labeled on the spine with, "Man's First Landing On The Moon;" the cover of each binder, "Commemorative Postage Stamps Man's First Landing On The Moon."

Source of Acquisition

Lindley H. Wagner, M.D.
Method of Acquisition Could not locate a collection file as of 9/18/2012.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Other Descriptive Information

Dr. Lindley H. Wagner Oral History interview; inquire in Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, Purdue University Libraries, for the interview and transcript

Processing Information

The first day covers are housed in their original binders and remain in original order, due to there unique, research worthy nature. Each binder has been housed in an acid free box.
Wagner Collection of Space Exploration and Moon Landings First Day Covers
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States