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1962 4¢ PROJECT MERCURY STAMP FDC - US SCOTT #1193
Another nice collectible for your consideration. You are looking on one (1) 1962 4¢ Project Mercury Stamp First Day Cover. Cover was cancelled "FEB 20 3 30PM 1962" in "CAPE CANAVERAL FLA." and the cancel reads "FIRST DAY OF ISSUE". This is a nice unaddressed non-cachet cover. Flap is loose and has not been sealed. The envelope is a #6-size cover and measures ~6 1/2" by 3 5/8" (inches) or 164 mm by 92 mm. It is addressed and is shown in the photograph below. I have more then one of these so I have placed them in a Dutch product. Feel free to purchase one or all of them.
The 1962 4¢ Project Mercury Stamp was first issued on Tuesday, February 20th, 1962 at 300 of the larger Post Offices across the United States and under ceremony in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This United States commemorative postage stamp was released to honor the first orbital flight of a US astronaut. The flight was piloted by John Glenn, and the stamp was released the exact hour the flight was officially completed. This was the first time in history a previously unannounced stamp was issued simultaneously to the event itself. In fact, it was even kept secret from postal workers. The stamps, waiting at post offices around the US, were sealed and marked "Top Secret". Only after Glenn's trip were the postmasters allowed to open the package and see what was inside. The gummed adhesive, designed by veteran stamp designer Charles R. Chickering, features a Mercury Capsule in star filled space with a portion of the Earth seen below. The notations "4¢" and "U.S. MAN IN SPACE" is superimposed over the Earth and "PROJECT MERCURY" borders the bottom of the stamp. The "4¢" refers to the stamps four-cent face value. Interestingly, the stamp does not include the words "U.S. Postage", which was unusual for US stamps of the time. The adhesive was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in Washington, DC on the Giori Press using blue and yellow inks on a white paper in subject plates of 200, issued in panes (sheets) of 50 individually perforated 11 by 11. This horizontal stamp measures 1.44 by 0.84 inches and is known to philatelic collectors as US Scott Catalog #1193. At the time of release the 4-cent denomination paid for domestic 1 oz. first-class letter rate.
Project Mercury was the United States first successful manned spaceflight program. Project Mercury ran from 1959 through 1963 with the goal of putting a man in orbit around the Earth. Early planning and research was carried out by NACA, while the program was officially carried out by the newly created NASA. Mercury spacecraft (also called a capsule or space capsule) were very small one-man vehicles; it was said that the Mercury spacecraft were not ridden, they were worn. Only 1.7 cubic meters in volume, the Mercury capsule was barely big enough to include its pilot. Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers.
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