Apollo 15 Lunar Mail cover, 1971. Postmaster General’s Collection. Loan from USPS.
On August 2, 1971, U.S. astronaut Dave Scott postmarked this first day cover on the Moon—an act as nationally symbolic as planting a flag.
During the 1971 Apollo 15 mission, astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin spent three days exploring the Moon from the Lunar Rover. On the last day, Scott reached under the Rover’s seat for a pouch. It held an envelope bearing die proofs of two space stamps. Scott postmarked this cover while, 238,000 miles away, the USPS issued the stamps on Earth.
The first postmark Scott made was faint, so he made another below it. The smudges on the left side are thumbprints made by his space suit glove.