Unique Hallmark Christmas card, sent as a gag to future Apollo 7 commander Wally Schirra. Colorful Christmas card measures, 5.5 x 11, and features a felt-textured Santa on both sides. Card opens along a top hinge with a pre-printed sentiment inside, along with an inscription likely in Alan Shepard’s hand, “To Wally…From the Troops. This is to help you get ‘fit for the flight!’” Signed inside in ballpoint and felt tip by 22 of Schirra’s friends, including Tom Stafford (Schirra’s Gemini 6 partner), Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, Alan Shepard, John Young, Dave Scott, James McDivitt, Jim Irwin, John S. Bull, Ron Evans, Bill Anders, Jack Swiggert, Al Worden, Fred Haise, Frank Borman, Charles Conrad, and Alan Bean. Card is also signed by several non-astronauts as well. In fine condition.
Often teased for his unhealthy habits (namely smoking and drinking), Schirra regularly found himself the victim of pranks pulled by the famously mischievous astronauts. Humor was their most effective and frequently utilized tool in relieving tension before missions. Sent during the Christmas season of 1965, shortly before Gemini 6 and 7 achieved the first rendezvous between vessels in space (on a relatively short mission, keeping Schirra from his indulgences for only 26 hours), this card likely accompanied a pack of cigarettes or bottle of booze, to help “get ‘fit for the flight!’” With twenty-two signatures, including eight Gemini crew members, eight moonwalkers, and the entire Apollo 11 crew, this card is a veritable who’s who of NASA legends. An absolutely spectacular, one-of-a-kind piece, holding value not only as a personal, lighthearted prank before a famous mission, but especially in its extensive list of signers. One of the most remarkable signed space items we have ever offered! Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.
Bidding for the Space & Aviation IV Auction opens Nov 15th & ends Nov 29th, 2012