A Legend of Errors

By George Fox


This is an example of an all-too-common error on recent issues. Two items (top left and top right, have their transcriptions transposed. The SOHO satellite stamp is inscribed “Man on the Moon Apollo 11″, which means that when using these stamps as illustrations for personal write-ups or publication, an explanation of the error has also to be given. It happens so many times on sheets these days that perhaps it’s not even worth commenting on, except as a lead-in to describing other types of errors..


These errors are less easy to explain. The stamp at top right purports to show an Agena target vehicle, of the type used in Gemini missions. How many of the Agena targets had solar panels? None, I think. At bottom right of the sheet, the satellite is described as COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer).I’ve examined every available picture of COBE, in “open” and “closed” positions, and I can confidently assert that this is not COBE – but I can’t yet identify what it really is. Perhaps some other Orbit contributor can?

Grenada Grenadines

These two sheets represent the worst foul-up of the many I’ve seen in recent issues. Two entirely different sets of spacecraft, but the inscriptions are identical between the sheets, stamp for stamp. The bottom sheet appears to carry correct inscriptions, though the “sub-satellite’ at top centre needs to be identified. By simply repeating the inscriptions on the top sheet renders it totally incorrect, if not laughable. To give three examples: Pioneer Venus 2 (at bottom right) is inscribed “Giotto”. Vega (top right) is inscribed “Near Eros”. Giotto (top centre) is inscribed “Sub-satellite”. The remainder are equally easy to identify, but that’s not the point: the errors should not have happened in the first place. These two sheets are a small part of the excellent set designed by Lollini for the Anaheim Space 2000 Stamp Exhibition.

There are other, less glaring errors on others in the multi-country issue, and in view at these, confidence in the whole issue must fall. I feel I have to check and re-check every stamp in the set to be certain that they actually illustrate what they purport to portray. It shouldn’t be necessary. As the designers, Lollini should have been given the opportunity to view proofs of the printing before they went to publication. Incidentally, the Guyana sheet above looks to be part of the Lollini set but, unlike others in the series, does not carry the Lollini trademark.