US Navy Covers and First Day Covers by Morris W. Beck

FREE Online Reference Catalog, FREE Checklists and BLOG for US Navy Cover and Space Cover Collectors
Compiled and Managed by Owen R. Murray, A "LIFE" member of the USCS L-5676 joined in 1966, and ATA Space Unit #4500
This Web site has over 3,500 scans of Beck Navy and Event Covers with Reference Text. 

Our 21st year managing this BECK site.

 US Navy USS Jefferson SSBN 618
#1 First cover in the 1000 Navy Series. 1962
US Navy USS Enterprise CVAN-65 Aircraft Carrier
Special "S" cover USS Enterprise Est $85

Mercury Flight of Cooper
US Navy USS Hornet Apollo 11 Man on the Moon Moonlanding
USS Hornet-Neil Armstrong


Home     Morris W. Beck Cover Basics      About this Web Site    Beck Space Cachet Designs     Beck's Personal Covers   Astronaut Autographs

 #6 USS Dace Overprint   Checklists     Cover Varieties Oddities     Beck's Messages    Postcard Messages to Customers

1943-1970's Events
     Nuclear Ships     Foreign    President Series     States Series    First Day Covers   

The Numbered Series    About the Series 
1-50    51-99 MA-8   S,100-150   151-200   201-250   251-299   300-350 MA-9   351-402   403-455    456-514 GT-2    515-569 GT-3, GT-4, GT-5   

GTA-6 GT-7   622-687 AS-201, GTA-8, GTA-9, GTA-10, AP-3, GTA-11        688-769 AS-202, GTA-12, AS-204, AS-501, AS-502, AP-7    

AP-8, AP-9, AP-10, AP-11, AP-12, AP-13, AP-14     842-899 AP-14, AP-15, AP-16, AP-17, SL-II, SL-III, SL-IV     900-951   952-1000 ASTP

 Small Rubber Stamps on Space Covers   Apollo PRS Postmarked in Hawaii    WHAT IS A CREW COVER?    Quantities

ASTP USS New Orleans July 25, 1975 onboard Cover   How postage rates affected collecting   Beck Printing Log

Copyright ©1999-2021 Owen R Murray, Retired USAF.  All Rights Reserved.      Revised: Monday October 18, 2021.

A Resource and Blog for Collectors of Morris W. Beck Philatelic Covers. 
Owen R. Murray, Retired MSGT 20 yr USAF/ANG    About this site  

In memory of Morris W. Beck, 1926-2011, US Navy WWII Vet

Beck's 1000 set of covers is acknowledged as the most desirable US Navy Space Recovery covers
Latest Update: October 18, 2021

NEW Page Devoted to W R Skelley

The Skelley page shows articles, photos and scans of over 40 Beck covers addressed to Skelley


New Additions to This Site

October 18, 2021

Sold on eBay for $280 + SH
From estate of NASA Chief of Security, Charles L Buckley, Jr.
Seller says there are only 3 known of B732 postmarked at KSC, this date.

October 17, 2021

Joe Volutza of the sent us 7 scans of GTA-8 covers. 

They all are missing the 3rd color of Beck's cachet, the background color.


Scan courtesy of Joe Volutza.  Both covers are postmarked just after the space flight in Chicago.
Who knows why these are postmarked in Chicago AFTER the flight.  The logical conclusion
is that the ship didn't get the covers postmarked on the ship and the Chicago post office 
cancelled the covers before delivering them.  Note that the GT-5 cover is addressed to a
customer living in Chicago.  B652 was scheduled for USS R L Wilson.  B567 was scheduled for
USS Neosho.


Sold on eBay for $316

Skelley, this is the second B604 on our site addressed to Skelley

Sold on eBay for $110


Jeff Mills sent us these scans. 
It is a MW Beck cover. 

Sold for $21.29 on eBay

Sold for $193.06 on eBay.
VERY Scarce.  This is only the second one on B656 for the Wasp we have seen



B881 on the popular airmail envelope theme.  B880 and B881 have many different cancels and locations. 
He must have printed an excess number of covers for special requests
because of the numerous covers postmarked in various cities.
Scan courtesy of Charlie Hamilton

A similar, but different, B683 is on this site.  Skelley managed to obtain multiple copies of important space recovery covers.


Jeff Mills sent us this scan of the 1964 cover for N S Savannah visiting Hamburg, Germany.  Listed in Foreign.

Sold on eBay 5/21 for $41

This one sold for $361 on eBay in May 2021

This one sold for $361 on eBay in May 2021



This is the third Skelley B603

Has P.M. in cancel.  Scarce  $20

Beck's printing log indicates that  B336-was for USS Charles R Ware



Signed by the ship's sponsor, the Governor's wife Mrs. Briscoe


Latest additions

Sold on eBay for $32.81   3/21

Sold for $26.40 on eBay 3/21

Recent prices for B323 are $48.25 and $29.00

Sold for $39.00



The following scans were sent to us by Larry Johnson


Sometimes the rubber stamp is on the front or back of the cover.  See the listing for B845


We have several of these FDCs on our site, but this one is special because if has Morris Beck's autograph!


Here are a couple of very informative articles featuring W R Skelley and his efforts during the space program. 

Great information.  Scans are courtesy of Jeff Mills.


Skelley newspaper articles courtesy of Jeff Mills

This is a Beck printed cover first used for the 3 May commissioning of the USS Nimitz. 
This cachet marks the European visit.
We put this cover in the numbered listing under Beck 996 for comparison to the numbered cachet.  HERE
Scan courtesy of Larry Johnson



This printing error cover was sold on eBay in February 2021 for $112.50




This CREW cover sold on ebay for $68.00  Listed as B823 CREW


Charlie Hamilton sent us this scan of a 1947 Beck cover. 

We have a similar cover on the site but it has a different cancel and is dated 3 JUL 1947.  See HERE



Added to B651

Added to B321


Skelley Really Hit the Jackpot with all his Access to Recovery covers

Here is another B640 addressed to Skelley.  Note the cancellation on the stamp.  It is NOT the same cover as above.


Beck Space Covers Seldom Seen

Apollo 15 Beck Cachet with Apollo 16 launch date postmarked at Houston.  Perhaps unique.
Scan courtesy of Simon Cronk

Beck 873 was scheduled for USS Kawishiwi. 874 is usually seen with Kawishiwi cancel.


Listed as B705 CREW HERE
Scan courtesy of David Ball


B629 missing the blue background

Scan courtesy of David Ball


Beck State Series Printed on Picture Postcards

Larry Johnson sent us these 1952 Beck States cachets printed on the back of a picture postcard. 

Mr. Beck was happy to print his cachets on envelopes or cards at the request of his customers.


Beck FDC



Beck B821 with Border

Apollo 12 B821 cover with the preprinted Navy themed border. 
This border was printed on the cover before the collector sent the envelope to Mr. Beck for cachet printing. 
We have seen this border on a few non-Beck covers.

Scan courtesy of Tony O'Brien


Beck Crew Cover

Apollo 14 Crew Cover

Sold on eBay for $43.50


Beck Space Cover Used for FDC

This very unusual First Day cover on a Beck cachet is probably unique. 
We don't know the details about this cover or who made it. 
Others think it was an uncancelled  cover that was then used for this FDOI.

The cover sold on eBay for $94.75


Added to site under B711.  There is another one there that is very similar to the one above except the cancel has
different placement on the stamp.  More Skelley magic.



Unlisted Beck Space Cover Addressed to Skelley

This sold Sept 14 on eBay.  Probably one of a kind.  Sold for $93.50 + SH


Beck Space Covers With Autographs

Tony O'Brien sent us scans of some Beck Space Covers autographed by the Ships CO

See the covers HERE


Adding A Few Interesting Beck covers Sold on eBay One for Over $300

A GT-5 Crew cover.  Sold on eBay for $52

A bidder paid over $300 for this Beck cover addressed to Skelley, the Navy cover coordinator.
We are speechless!


Another example of Skelley's address label placed over an address on the envelope.
Remember that Skelley was the US Navy coordinator for covers.  Sold for $21.25

Do you know the origin of the two rubber stamp lines on a few of these covers.  We know that Mr. Beck did not put these rubber stamps on covers.


Shelley Address from the PRS  Sold for $153.75



An Early Beck 1943

Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
A good example of Beck's very early Naval Covers.  Probably Beck's first printed cover.  We asked him which was his first cover and
he replied that he couldn't remember.  This one was printed while he was in high school.  He graduated from high school and joined
the US Navy in 1944.


Previously Unlisted Beck Space Scans

One of our readers, Mark Burton sent us the following scans.

Dual cancels for launch and recovery.  Scan courtesy of Mark Burton


Added as CREW B875

Added as CREW B861

Added as CREW B861

Added as CREW B790

Added as CREW B790



 Beck Space Covers Just Keep Appearing

Mark also sent us this unlisted B719.  The fourth anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire.


One of our readers, Mark Burton sent us these scans.

This is the second B998 we have seen with the July 28, 1975 date.  We don't know the significance is of the date, if any. 
It might be just a late cancellation due to when the post office received the cover.

B776 with only the TF-140 rubber stamp cachet on the front of the envelope.  Nothing on the back.

Most dual cancels we have seen are on B899



Amazing UNLISTED Beck CREW Space Covers

One of our readers sent the following scans of Beck CREW Covers. 

All These Beck CREW covers are postmarked at Kennedy Space Center for Apollo flights. 
Plus the covers have the space center official rubber stamp cachet.
These scans are courtesy of Mark Burton.  The covers are from his fathers (Ray Burton) cover collection.

Now listed under B824 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 12 recovery ships

Now listed under B824 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 12 recovery ships

Now listed under B840 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 13 recovery ships

Now listed under B840 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 13 recovery ships


Now listed under B841 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 14 recovery ships

Now listed under B841 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 14 recovery ships

Now listed under B841 CREW, at the end of the Apollo 14 recovery ships



Beck Space Covers

Compare the two B627 covers above and below

The cover above was added to our site in May 2014.  It is the only one we have seen.  Note that it is addressed to Skelley, the
US Navy Coordinator for collector's philatelic items for the space flights.  Skelley directed the above cover to USS Boxer, the designated prime recovery ship for the first Apollo unmanned flight.  Since it is the only cover known, it is very rare.  Estimated value is over $100.

In July 2020, this same EXACT cover was offered on eBay. 

We show both the cover sold in 2014 and 2020 so you can compare them to see that these are the same cover. 
The cover sold for $78.50 on eBay.


Another autographed (autopen) example of B520.  This one sold for $48.25 in 7/2020


How Mr. Beck's cover service worked

Updated July 31, 2020
We've had some inquires from newer collectors trying to understand how Mr. Beck's cover service worked
and how there can be several covers from a recovery ship with different "B" cachet numbers.

Morris W. Beck of Wisconsin was a collector starting while in high school in the early 1940's and later was a cover dealer after he returned from service in WWII. He stopped producing covers in the mid 1970ís.  

His most popular series of Naval covers was the set from 1962-1975 and consisted of 1000 cachets (covers).

He advertised his cover service in the philatelic newspapers offering to print a cachet on collectorís envelopes for a few cents each.

 He printed cachets for Navy ship commissioning, launchings, anniversaries, first day covers, etc.  The most popular cachets (covers) were the
 space recovery covers.

Mr. Beck tried very hard to get the recovery force information from the US Navy as early as he could before a flight, but as
time went on, timely information became hard to get in time for printing and shipping deadlines.

Early in his efforts, he tried to print the name of the recovery ship on the envelope but that didnít work very well, so most of
his space covers DO NOT have the ships name on the printed cachet. (although the ships name does appear in the postmark

The US Navy had a coordinator  to receive space cover postmarking requests from collectors and dealers.  
Generally, the Navy had a 2 cover limit per collector, per event.  Collectors sent their requests for rubber stamp cachets directly to the Navy.  
Mr. Beck was one of a number of dealers that provided the service of a printed color cachet.  

As a "side note" please note that Beck's printed color cachets and the rubber stamp cachets used by the US Navy were very
similar.  This is because Mr. Beck produced the rubber stamp cachets used by the US Navy. 
He sent them to the US Navy for each space flight at no charge.

Above Left: Envelope sent to US Navy by collector.  Navy applied cachet and postmark.

Above Right: Envelope with Mr. Beck's printed color cachet and "B Cachet Number".  Navy applied postmark only.

Both the example ASTP covers probably had address removable labels and both were sent to the collector as usual
mail after postmarking.

On the later Apollo flights you will notice that the image of the rubber stamp cachet that the US Navy used was smaller than the cachet Mr. Beck printed.  Large rubber stamps were hard for the US Navy to apply so they requested smaller images.  Remember that Mr. Beck provided the rubber stamp cachets to the US Navy free.

Mr. Beck's Naval Cover Service

Mr. Beck provided the service of printing a multicolor cachet on collectorís SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) envelopes sent to him.

Collectors could also send a SASE directly to the Navy for the single colornrubber stamp cachet and postmarking.   

For Mr. Beck's cover service, Collectors would send a supply (25-50) of SASE to Mr. Beck with a small service fee for cachet printing.

Using the information provided by the Navy regarding the total number of ships in the recovery force,
Mr. Beck would assign a cachet number accordingly, such as B 708, B 709, etc.

Look at some of the print log sheets Mr. Beck filled out that are shown on our site.

So if the Navy told Mr. Beck there would be 12 ships in the recovery force, then
Mr. Beck would print 12 different cachet designs and assign/print accordingly.  B708, B709, Cachet ID, etc.

Mr. Beck would print the multicolor color cachet on the envelopes sent to him by collectors.  
The printed multi color cacheted envelopes were sent by Mr. Beck in bulk to the Navy for postmarking.  
He prepared 400-1000 envelopes per ship according to his customers orders.  Most customers requested one or two covers of each event.
He packed all the envelopes for one ship into a bulk container marked accordingly.

When the Navy received the shipments of printed color cacheted envelops from Mr. Beck, they distributed the envelopes to the ships of the recovery force.

This is where it got ďmessyĒ because someone at the Navy opened boxes and redistributed envelopes without
regard to the various cachet ID numbers.
 So, ships received envelopes all mixed up.

We have an article about Beck's multicolor envelopes without the B number.  These are called CREW covers.  See article HERE


Beck Space Covers

This Duncan scan was sent to us by Charlie Hamilton

This Duncan scan was sent to us by Charlie Hamilton

We normally don't show newspaper clippings but this one is very interesting.

Beck CREW Cover Added

This was sold on eBay.  We don't know who added the text, but we have seen it on other GT-8 covers


An Interesting Beck Cover

We have observed Beck covers from several space flights addressed to Chief Skelley where his
 address label appears to cover up another address. 

In this example, Skelley's label covers up the address for Clyde Sarazan.

This seems odd.  If you have other examples of this please send us a scan.




If you are not a member of the USCS or The Space Unit, please consider joining.

Application for the USCS


Application for the Space Unit


Note the text ATLANTIC is a separate sticker or label placed over the printed text

Nice GT-4 CREW cover with the VIP label.  Sold on eBay in 2020 for $52.91.
Even though we show several of these CREW covers here,
it doesn't mean that they are common covers.  It is just the opposite. 

These are very hard to find and usually sell for a high amount.

Scan courtesy of Dr Ross Smith.


Very Elusive Beck Cover y MWB 146 added February 10, 2020

Larry Johnson sent us the following 3 scans.  The top one of MWB146 has been missing from our listing.
Only 60 were printed by Mr. Beck.

See the note that was enclosed in this cover HERE


Nice variety of Beck Covers with Harry Gordon Text Stamps  Added February 3, 2020

Harry Gordon covers are popular and distinctive.  His text stamps adds to Beck covers and others.

Scans courtesy of Charlie Hamilton

Note roller cancel on this cover

This Beck B880 postmarked USS Kitty Hawk is a new addition to the Apollo 16 covers.  Previously unlisted.


GT-4 Cover Beck CREW Cover (Below Right) Sold on eBay for $105  January 12, 2020

Patch scan courtesy of Tom Steiner

The GT-4 cover is shown here to help illustrate the patch. The Beck CREW cover sold on eBay for $105.

 The patch sold in a space auction, January 18 for $180 before buyer premium.


More M W Beck Covers Sent in by Collectors for our site

Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
Dual cancel 1975 and then 1992. Probably unique.

Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills

G W Driskill was in management with Sperry Rand Corporation.  He was a specialist in Torque Balance Control
for the space program.



The Article About CREW Covers Is Totally Revised





CLICK HERE to see past articles...

CLICK HERE to see older articles...

More older articles HERE

Even more older articles HERE


Morris W. Beck Naval Covers for Collectors

Naval covers have been popular since about the time of Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet.  A naval cover is an envelope or postcard postmarked on board a naval ship.  The cover might commemorate a naval event such as a keel laying, launching or commissioning of a navy ship.  Other covers are simply sailorís mail that now has historical value for the postmark on the US Navy cover.

Collecting memorabilia from US Navy ships is a very interesting hobby and shares a piece of US Navy history.  Some people collect pictures, ash trays, lighters, photos, launching or commissioning programs, US Navy patches, and envelopes or postcards postmarked aboard US Navy ships.  Similar in appearance to a first day cover, a naval cover commemorates a US Navy event or simply be sailorís mail sent home with a letter enclosed.  In any case, these covers are very collectable.

Today, the Universal Ship Cancellation Society, USCS, in an international society where collectors of US Navy ship covers and postcards exchange information about their favorite collecting interests. 

Many collectors specialize in a special type of naval covers or envelopes.  Some US Navy veterans have a special interest in the ships they served on.  Ships like destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines, battleship, etc.  Some collectors of first day covers or FDCs also collect navy covers as a specialty.

The US NASA manned space program and the US Navy recovery ships are also very popular subjects for naval covers.  The US Navy postmarks from the US Navy ships in the Atlantic or Pacific fleet that picked up the US space astronauts like John Glenn, Neil Armstrong or others are very popular.  One of the most desirable modern naval covers is from the USS Hornet that picked up the astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins after the Moon landing Apollo 11 NASA mission.  Dozens of US Navy ships participated in the US Space recovery program including, USS Hornet, USS Wasp, USS Intrepid, USS Lake Champlain, USS Guam, USS Mason, USS Randolph, USS Ticonderoga, USS Iwo Jima, USS Kearsarge, USS Okinawa, USS Essex, USS New Orleans, USS Guadalcanal, USS Bennington, and many others.  All astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab programs were recovered by US Navy ships.  There are covers for most of these events.  The covers for the earliest manned space flights are among the hardest to find.  Some of the most popular covers are for aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, battleships, and other types of US Navy ships.

Over the years there have been many individuals and groups produce some very attractive naval covers for US Navy events and space events including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab manned space flights.  Morris W. Beck was a collector of US Navy covers and started a service to provide other collectors with quality printed US Navy, space covers, and first day covers. 

Beck served in the US Navy during World War II aboard a US Navy Destroyer.  Morris W. Beck covers are well known among collectors.  Beck produced a very popular series of 1000 US Navy event covers 1962-1975.  Beckís effort was a labor of love and his charge to service covers for collectors was only pennies per cover.   This web site is dedicated to the US Navy event covers, president series, state series, nuclear ships and first day covers (FDC) produced by Morris W. Beck. 





Home     Morris W. Beck Cover Basics      About this Web Site    
Beck Space Cachet Designs     #6 USS Dace Overprint  #220 USS Lowry
   Cover Varieties Oddities  Beck's Messages  Beck's Personal Covers  Astronaut Autographs
1943-1970's Events
     Nuclear Ships     Foreign    President Series     States Series    First Day Covers   

The Numbered Series    About the Series  1-50    51-99 MA-8   S,100-150   151-200   201-250   251-299   300-350 MA-9 
351-402   403-455    456-514 GT-2    515-569 GT-3, GT-4, GT-5    570-621 GTA-6 GT-7    622-687 AS-201, GTA-8, GTA-9, GTA-10, AP-3, GTA-11  
688-769 AS-202, GTA-12, AS-204, AS-501, AS-502, AP-7     770-841 AP-8, AP-9, AP-10, AP-11, AP-12, AP-13, AP-14  
AP-14, AP-15, AP-16, AP-17, SL-II, SL-III, SL-IV     900-951   952-1000 ASTP

Articles and Resources: NEW Small Rubber Stamps on Space Covers
Apollo PRS Postmarked in Hawaii    
Beck 929 Hawkins

ASTP USS New Orleans July 25, 1975 onboard Cover

How postage rates affected collecting       Beck Printing Log for Numbered Series

        Download Checklists   

This is an Online Reference Catalog.  Please note that the naval covers illustrated on this Web site
 are for reference only and not for sale.  This is a private Web site for the enjoyment of collectors of navy covers. 

Please send comments or questions to Owen R. Murray     Also see Owen's Photos Site

Copyright ©1999-2021 Owen R Murray.  All Rights Reserved.    Revised: Monday October 18, 2021.

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