Malta – 25th Anniversary Apollo 11
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All this is now a thing of the past. I just take a copy of the computer file on disk to a special bureau where I get perfectly registered films with all the lettering in place. From there they arc taken directly to the printers!
In the case of the moon stamp, I first scanned a well known photograph through a simple black and white Apple One Scanner just to have the image on my Macintosh screen. This I imported into Aldus FreeHand where I traced the outlines, using only a hand-held mouse, around the different patches which form the shape, like the parts of a jig-saw puzzle. Each patch was then filled with colours created within the application. Apart from the easily-recognisable colours such as yellow, black, red etc. I used twelve shades of grey, with mixes which included green, yellow and blue (always with a low percentage of black) in different tones.
I attempted at first to include the first “footsteps” marked into the moon’s surface in the foreground. But to achieve this I found the spaceman was far too much in the background so I enlarged the main figure to fill in as much of the space as possible. Then I added the flag, which was designed on the screen without using a scanned base. The Maltese flag was easy, and of the others in the background only the next three are real flags; the rest are solid colours which are enough to give the desired effect. A same-size full-colour print-out and a 400% enlargement were presented to the GPO for approval and after a few adjustments to the text, enlarging in places and reduced in others, the whole design was ready for film-setting, after which it went to print.
On the first morning of sales £m10,843 worth of stamps were sold, this considered an “above average” level by the Malta General Post Office for a single, thematic issue. Though this does not in any way reflect on my honorarium (as much as I would like it to) it does give an indication of the way in which this stamp has been received by the philatelic community in Malta. Bombarded as they are with so many new issues every year it is understandable that collectors become choosy.
But it is a source of personal satisfaction. Nowhere in my younger days’ dreams could I imagine my name to be eventually connected with such an historical event, which kept so many of us in our toes that night of July 20, 1969!
Richard J. Caruana, August 1994
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