First mail on the Moon

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The three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – onboard the historic 1969 Apollo 11 space mission, which landed the first men on the Moon, took a die for a postage stamp showing them setting foot on the Moon’s surface.

When the lunar module touched down the astronauts pulled an impression of this die on paper and created the Moon’s first postage stamp. The die returned to earth with the spacemen and was later used in the production of the printing plate for the USA 10c airmail ‘FIRST MAN ON THE MOON’ issue of 1969. Later Antigua & Barbuda produced a miniature sheet to mark the whole exercise.

The astronauts also took an envelope franked with an imperforate coloured die proof of the stamp. This was cancelled on the Moon with a special postmark inscribed ‘MOON LANDING USA’ with the date, ‘JUL 20 1969’’, in the centre. The equipment for the ‘first lunar post office’ was one rubber stamp and an ink pad.