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

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

 US Navy USS Jefferson SSBN 618
#1 First cover in the 1000 Navy Series. 1962
USS T Jefferson
 
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-Lunar Landing
 

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    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     842-899 AP-14, AP-15, AP-16, AP-17, SL-II, SL-III, SL-IV    

900-951   952-1000
ASTP


Articles and Additional Resources

 Small Rubber Stamps on Space Covers

Apollo PRS Postmarked in Hawaii  
 WHAT IS A CREW COVER?

ASTP USS New Orleans July 25, 1975 onboard Cover

How postage rates affected collecting  Beck Printing Log for Numbered Series


  Updated Checklists   GTA-8 USS Boxer  Quantities Beck 929 Hawkins
       
Copyright ©1999-2020 Owen R Murray, Retired USAF.  All Rights Reserved.      Revised: Sunday October 11, 2020.

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
 

Latest BLOG Update: October 11, 2020

FREE Updated 8/24/2020 Numbered Series Checklists available HERE
There are over 1500 covers listed in this Beck Numbered Series updated checklist

 

Beck Space Cover Used for FDOI

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. 
Since it is an Atlantic cachet and given the time frame, we suspect that Skelley had something to do with it.

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.
  See  http://beck.ormurray.com/advertising.htm

 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
(cancellation).

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.
See  http://beck.ormurray.com/advertising.htm

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.  http://beck.ormurray.com/becklog/index.htm

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 seent on other GT-8 covers

 

.

This lot of 3 Cooper covers with two CREW covers sold for $162.50 on eBay

 

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.

 

High Prices Paid for Some Beck Covers

The Apollo 13 PRS Beck cover B838 with the "skewed" cancel.  See HERE for examples of Iwo Jima cancels.

This Beck cover sold on eBay for $40.00.  B838 Skewed Hand Cancel with name at bottom sees to be the most common.


Just for reference, this is an example of the NON-SKEWED Iwo Jima cancel.  See HERE


Previously unlisted B668 with PRS USS Guadalcanal sold on eBay $191.75
It appears to have a VIP label.  Most VIP labels have been seen on CREW covers, so this might not be an actual VIP label.
A VIP label usually has side perforations.

 

 

Notice inside Beck 575 Found

The printed notice was inside Beck 575 cover.  It was included inside the cover sent to VIPs by the shipyard.  The cover marked the launching of SSBN-658.  It wasn't unusual for the shipyard to send covers marking important events.  If you look at Mr Beck's printing log, it shows about 100 covers for B575 higher than others with similar date/year.  A total of 619 covers were printed by Beck for cachet number 575.  Thanks goes to Tony Montgomery for sending us this scan.

 

 
Beck Covers  March 28, 2020



Unlisted Beck CREW cover sold for $103.99 on eBay


An example of the FDOI for the ASTP stamp issue with a "single" stamp. 
Sold for $54.00 on eBay 3/2020
 

 

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

 

Beck Covers added February 14, 2020


A few months ago we added a similar cover with the B704 Beck cachet.
 The Branch 17005 is in the pacific at Midway Island.

Scan courtesy of Larry Johnson


Another Skelley cover.  Note the text ATLANTIC is a separate sticker or label placed over the printed text
of PACIFIC.


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.


An example of a Gordon cover with Gordon text stamp.  Not a Beck cover.
Scan courtesy of Charlie Hamilton


An example of a Gordon cover with Gordon text stamp.  Not a Beck cover.
Scan courtesy of Charlie Hamilton

 


Due to a mix-up at the USPS, this cover was held for GT4.
Scan courtesy of SB Milstein

 

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 FAKE Beck Covers on eBay


Both these covers are FAKE.  Note that the cachet has been cut from an envelope or color photocopy and pasted to a postmarked cover.
So far all these FAKE Beck covers are addressed to the same person

 

 


Scan of article courtesy of Tony O'brien

 

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.


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.

 


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.

 

 

Revised Information About W R Skelley, Jr, US Navy Coordinator for Space Flights.  He Handled Collector's Envelopes.

We have wondered for some time how it was possible for W R Skelley to obtain so many important space flight covers. 

It has become clear that he was the coordinator for the US Navy and had access to and distributed covers to the recovery ships.



Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills

 

Skelley/Beck Space Covers

eBay listed several Beck space covers that hit high prices about $60-70 each.  Note the return address for Skelley. 

Great covers for a space or Beck collection.

 

 

Recent Beck Cover Acquisitions and Information

January 3, 2020
Scans courtesy of Jeff Mills


Scans courtesy of Jeff Mills
The cancel from USS New is correct date for Apollo 13.
The cancel from USS Spiegel Grove is correct for Apollo 14.
Interesting Dual Cancel recovery cover


The quality of the postmarks on the B784, Guadalcanal are usually poor. 
Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills


Scans courtesy of Jeff Mills
B686 USS Guam with the VIP Label


Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills


Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
Note that this cover does not have the line "Date of Blast Off"


See more examples HERE


Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
Our guess is that this cover is simply a CREW cover that Beck included with the covers he sent for postmarking. 
For many events he sent 25 printed envelopes with the Beck number.  No address, no stamp.  These were
for the commanders of the ship for their use.

 


Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
Addressed to Chief Skelley.

Probably would sell for $20 if offered on eBay
 


Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
This cover really looks like a Beck creation, but we are not sure.

 



Scan courtesy of Jeff Mills
Owen Murray's only printed Naval cover.

 

December 27, 2019

  
Only one has been observed and it was sold by a dealer in Europe for $129.76

Probably worth every penny of the price paid!

Thanks goes to Dr Ross Smith for drawing our attention to this important cover.

Shown above is B998 and B999 with a missing color.  The normal cachet is also shown for comparison.

December 23, 2019

Sold for $39.00 on eBay


Sold for $43.00 on eBay

 

December 20, 2019


Signed by Augustine W Smith, Captain, US Navy

Above scans courtesy of Anthony O'Brien

 

December 14, 2019


This is the first CREW cover for Apollo 15 from Kawishiwi B874 observed.
Scan courtesy of Anthony O'Brien


 This is the first one observed. B824 with the ship name at the bottom of the cancel.
Scan courtesy of Anthony O'Brien


A new addition to our autograph page.  This is a MW Beck custom printed cachet for a customer.

See more autographed covers HERE


 

This is the only one we have seen.  Scan courtesy of Tom Steiner

 

 

December 13, 2019

Note that this Beck cover is missing the printed background and the B787 is on the bottom left.
See HERE and HERE

 


A great example of GTA-12

Both scans courtesy of Wolf Magnus, Ross Smith and Tom Steiner

 

We have added several dozen scans of the postcards sent to collectors from MW Beck and Donald Schultz.

See HERE

Thanks goes to David Ball for sending us these postcards

 

 

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  
 
842-899
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 ©1999-2020 Owen R Murray.  All Rights Reserved.    Revised: Sunday October 11, 2020.

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