by Bert van Eijck


Impossible, but true ! The envelope illustrated here has two US stamps of 29c each, has been cancelled in Washington with an American/Dutch pictorial cancellation and has made it postally all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the Netherlands. Probably it is a unique cover, the one and only in existence. What’s up ? How come ? Here is the story…..

ASSS member Jurgen Peters Esders from Brussels in Belgium has told the story of the presentation of the US Moon Landing Stamps at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands in Orbit No 22 (November ’94). Like everyone he was disappointed that the large pictorial cancel of United States Postal Services (USPS) of July 20, ’94 with the by-line “USA Noordwijk, the Netherlands” could not be posted. So, it was impossible to have these covers so cancelled in the mail. The explanation of the officials present at the presentation in Noordwijk was as follows:

1. A letter/card with Dutch stamps, cancelled with the US Moon Landing cancel is not accepted, because the postal Authorities in Holland do not admit foreign cancels on their stamps.

2. The same cancel could be used on US stamps but you could not drop it in the mail box, because the Dutch PTT does no favours for foreign stamps. For PTT it means the envelope/card is “void.

So journalists, collectors and others in Noordwijk had to accept: it’s a nice USPS cancel but only on unaddressed mail.

I am proud to present a cover which definitely was in the mail with the controversial cancel on it!!Noordwijk stamp event there was a small piece in the US stamp weekly Linn’s Stamp News. In one of the September issues it said the Noordwijk Moon Landing cancel of July 20 was still available at the following address – Noordwijk Moon Landing Cancellations, Box 23082, Washington, DC 20036-3082, USA. Not shooting is always missing, so I prepared my envelope, self addressed with, two 29c Moon Landing Stamps in the right corner and at the left side the address in Washington DC.

Then the waiting began.

October came and then November and I sincerely thought I had hoped in vain. However – great was my joy when finally on Friday morning November 18th 1994 – it arrived……….that long awaited envelope, cancelled properly and addressed to me with on the second line “Ruimtevaart- medewerker, Mijn Stokpaardje” which means Astrophilatelic journalist for the Dutch monthly stamp magazine Mijn Stokpaardje (My Hobby.)

Probably the sending of the envelope took some time while it was sent by sea mail in stead of air mail. There will be more envelopes with this cancel postally used inside the USA but I doubt there will be in The Netherlands or even in Europe. So, I claim my cover pictured here is a unique one. But of course if you know better