Celebrating NASA & Apollo 11 Through Stamps

First Man on the Moon Postage Stamp

10-cent First Man on the Moon single
The 10-cent First Man On The Moon air mail stamp was issued September 9, 1969.
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Lunar Module 2 is one of two remaining lunar landers built for the Apollo missions.
Courtesy National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

While few events compare to the famous actions of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin Jr, during the Apollo 11 mission, the release of the stamp celebrating the Moon landing marked an important event for the philatelic world. The stamp, released on September 9, 1969, was made from the same master die that the astronauts took with them to the moon. Additionally, it was the largest stamp the United States had issued up to that point.

The stamp’s designer, Paul Calle, had previously designed the 1967 Accomplishments In Space stamp featuring NASA’s Gemini Program. In addition to his work designing postage stamps, Calle was a professional sketch artist for NASA. He had sketched the astronauts as they prepared for their mission and also watched the Apollo 11 launch at Cape Kennedy. His design for the Moon Landing Issue stamp illustrates an astronaut stepping out of the Lunar Module on to the surface of the Moon. In the three weeks following the announcement of the stamp’s release, the Post Office Department received over 500,000 requests for first day cancelled covers of the stamp. One fifth of these requests came from overseas. One Washington, DC, based newspaper stated in a release about the stamp, “All people it seems wanted to have their own souvenir of man’s boldest adventure into space.”

Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia
The Apollo 11 Command Module, no. 107, manufactured by North American Rockwell, was one of three parts of the complete Apollo spacecraft. The other two parts were the Service Module and the Lunar Module, nicknamed "Eagle." The Command Module is the only portion of the spacecraft to return to Earth.
Courtesy National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution