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Apollo 8

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Identifying a crew patch for Apollo 1 and Apollo 7 is pretty straightforward, but Apollo 8 is a different story.

When they arrived on the U.S.S. Yorktown following recovery the crew were wearing betacloth flightsuits with betacloth patches.

They later changed into blue jumpsuits but, as can been seen in the photo on the right, these did not have an embroidered mission patch attached.

Since the crew did not wear an embroidered patch before, during or immediately after the flight there is effectively no embroidered patch that qualifies as a Crew Patch for Apollo 8. The closest we can get is a rare style of embroidered patch which was used in most official NASA presentations created at the time and examples of which were also flown on the mission. I refer to this patch as the Apollo 8 Crew Souvenir Patch.

This particular version of the Apollo 8 patch was worn by some of the technicians on their coveralls during the pre- flight suit-up operations, as can be seen in the photo on the right.

It's also worth noting that James Lovell wore this particular version of the Apollo 8 patch in 1970 on his flight suit whilst in training for the Apollo 13 mission.

The distinctive segmented thread pattern on the seas is clearly visible in the photo (70-H-472) shown here.

Crew Souvenir Patch

Patch id:

Apollo 8 Crew Souvenir Patch

Worn by crew? Not at recovery time, but worn by Lovell on his flight suit in 1970 during training for Apollo 14.
Flown? Yes. Examples were carried on the flight as souvenirs[1].
Manufacturer: Texas Art Embroidery.
Distribution: Very limited. Used by NASA on official presentations.
Dimensions: Unknown.
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Extremely rare. Only 2 examples seen sold in last few years.
Value: An unflown example sold recently for $1,141[2].
Notes: Difficult to distinguish from the AB Emblem Apollo 8 patch but recognisable by the distinctive segmented apperance of the light blue thread on the Earth. Also there is no 'tail' on the reverse of the Crew Souvenir patch.

This patch was recently confirmed as having been produced by Texas Art Embroidery for NASA.

Patch id:

Apollo 8 3" Crew Souvenir Patch [AS8UNK3i3]

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? Yes. Examples were carried on the flight as souvenirs[4].
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown.
Dimensions: 3⅜ x 3" / 86 x 78mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with tail.
Scarcity: Unknown.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: Small souvenir patches were rarely used by Apollo crews or carried as souvenirs on missions but this 3" patch is apparently an exception as James Lovell has auctioned at least two examples which he apparently carried on the Apollo 8 mission as souvenirs.
Apart from Lovell, Anders also apparently gifted at least one example of this patch to a NASA worker shortly after the mission.

For this reason this 3" patch can be classified as a crew souvenir patch for the Apollo 8 mission.

Other Embroidered Mission Patches

Patch id:

AB Emblem patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Sold as souvenirs.
Dimensions: 4½x4" / 115x100mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Uncommon in bare cloth back form.
Value: Bare cloth back examples sell for maybe $5-15.
Notes: The AB Emblem patch has black outlines around the Moon, Earth, and figure 8.
Patch id:

Lion Brothers patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Lion Brothers
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: 4½x4" / 117x105mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Scarce.
Value: Examples sell for around $15-30.
Notes: The Lion Brothers Apollo 8 patch has no black outlines in its design and the shadow on the Earth is two-tone. Note that a rare plastic backed prototype version of this patch exists.
Patch id:

Space Spin-Off Ltd. patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Space Spin-Off Ltd.
Distribution: UK mail-in offer
Dimensions: 4" x 3 7/8" / 102 x 98mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue cloth. Stitched border, cut edge.
Scarcity: Rare
Value: An example sold recently for $79[3]
Notes: This patch was offered to readers of Look-in magazine and Countdown magazine in the UK in 1972, and was part of a set manufactured by Space Spin-Off Ltd. The design appears to be based on the AB Emblem patch, but executed on thin blue cloth (not twill) with a cut edge.

3" Embroidered Mission Patches

Footnotes

[1] Heritage Space Memorabilia auction Fall 2007 Lot 25096 was a flown patch of this kind mounted with a flown flag. The whole presented by Frank Borman.

[2] Examples of crew patch sold at auction:
     Goldberg Auction Spring 2008 lot 368, eBay item no. 320232198100 Apr 11, 2008 sold at $552, included MFA medallion and signatures of Borman and Lovell. This values the patch alone at perhaps $400.
     eBay item no. 290658567655 Jan 22 2012 sold at $361.66, lot of 15 patches including one Apollo 8 crew patch. This values the Apollo 8 patch alone at perhaps $300.
     eBay item no. 160788373183 May 3, 2012 sold at $1,113.88 (mounted on wooden shield, ex Hal Collins)
     RR Auction lot 256 Apr 22, 2014 sold at $530.43 (mounted with Anders ISP, missing a letter)
     RR Auction lot 260 Apr 22, 2014 sold at $1,141.70
     eBay item no. 151550465612 Feb 1, 2015 sold with multiple crew patches

[3] Examples of Space Spin-Off Ltd. patches sold at auction:
     eBay item no. 131025305205 Oct 27, 2013 sold at $103.50
     eBay item no. 131417350484 Feb 6, 2015 sold at $79.25
     eBay item no. 141604989003 Mar 21, 2015 sold at $15.69

[4] Examples of flown AS8UNK3i3 patches sold at auction:
     Heritage Space Auction lot 41049 Apr 1, 2009 sold at $2,390 [FLOWN by James Lovell]
     Heritage Space Auction lot 40379 Apr 18, 2013 sold at $2,868 [FLOWN by James Lovell]

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