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For the offical crew portrait photos taken before the launch the Apollo 9 crew wore full Apollo spacesuits but in place of betacloth patches they had embroidered mission patches loosely fixed in place.

The best-known of the official crew portraits, shown to the right, is S69-17590.

Fortunately, very high res versions of this photo are available which allow us to see which patch they were wearing.

The patches are clearly visible in the detailed images on the right.

Note the distinctive font used (particularly the "S"s) and the wide separation of the CSM and LM.

As with Apollos 7 and 8, when the Apollo 9 crew came on board the U.S.S. Guadalcanal from the rescovery helicopter they were wearing their betacloth overalls complete with betacloth crew emblems, but they did change into regular blue jumpsuits shortly afterwards and these had embroidered patches attached.

On the right are detailed closeups from two photos that show the patches on the jumpsuits on the recovery ship.

Although the lettering is not clear, the details of the design, especially the gap between the CSM and LM and the shape of the Saturn V rocket, appear to match those of the patch in the pre-flight portrait photo above.

This patch, worn by the crew on their spacesuits for the official crew portrait, and on their post-flight jumpsuits, is the one we refer to as the Apollo 9 Crew Patch.

A variant of the Crew Patch exists which has small but noticeable differences in execution (detailed in the individual patch entries below).

The photo on the left (courtesy of RetroSpaceImages) shows Dave Scott wearing an example of this Crew Patch variant on one of his flight suits a few days before the Apollo 15 flight.

Rusty Schweickart also wore this variant on one of his flight suits on the U.S.S. Guadalcanal after the Apollo 15 recovery, and examples of this variant were carried on the mission as souvenirs alongside the other version of the crew patch.

To further complicate matters, according to James McDivitt the crew returned a delivery of patches that were intended to be flown because they lacked the red "D".

What may be an example of this first version of the crew patch can be seen here. Apart from the lack of red thread in the "D" this patch matches the regular Crew Patch perfectly. A 'red-less D' example of the crew patch variant has also been found as shown here. Again, part from the lack of red thread in the "D" this patch matches the Crew Patch variant perfectly.

There also exist some versions of the Crew Patch variant which seem to be more crudely executed, and perhaps even fractionally smaller in diameter (by a millimeter or two), as can be seen here. It may be that these are pre-production samples of the variant.

Because the similarities between these crew patch variants far outweigh the differences, my feeling at present is that they represent examples of different manufacturing runs of the same patch, although the existence of 'red-less D' versions of both variants is difficult to explain.

The Crew Patches

Patch id:

Apollo 9 Crew Patch

Worn by crew? Yes. Worn by the crew for their pre-flight portrait and on their post-flight jumpsuits.
Flown? Yes. Roughly a quarter of all mission-flown embroidered patches are of this kind.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown, but apparently very limited.
Dimensions: 3¼" / 84mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Very rare. Perhaps 1 to 3 examples sold per year.
Value: Unflown examples of this patch have sold in recent years for between $160 and 255[1].
Notes: The Crew Patch and its variant have distinctive square-cornered text. Unlike the variant this version has a distinctly angled engine bell at the rear of the Command & Service Modules.
Patch id:

Apollo 9 Crew Patch Variant

Worn by crew? Yes. Worn by at least Rusty Schweickart on one of his flight suits after the recovery.
Flown? Yes. Roughly a quarter of all mission-flown embroidered patches are of this kind.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown, but apparently very limited.
Dimensions: 3¼" / 84mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Rare. Up to 6 examples sold per year.
Value: Unflown examples of this patch have sold in recent years for between $67 and $490[2].
Notes:

Very similar to the Crew Patch version above but this variant has neater stitching on the spacecraft and a larger engine bell at the rear of the Command & Service Modules that touches the yellow thread behind it. The black detailing on the Saturn V rocket is also neater on this version and the escape tower ends further away from the "S" of "SCOTT".

These details can be seen in this photo on the flight suit of Rusty Schweickart on the recovery ship U.S.S. Guadalcanal.

Patch id:

Apollo 9 Crew Souvenir Patch

[was AS9UNK1]
Worn by crew? No.
Flown? Yes. Roughly half of all mission-flown embroidered patches are of this kind.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown, but apparently very limited.
Dimensions: 3½" / 87mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Very rare. Perhaps 2 to 3 examples sold per year.
Value: Unflown examples of this patch have sold in recent years for between $90 and 400[3].
Notes: Apart from the different font and the twill background, the easiest way to tell this from the crew version is that the escape tower on the Saturn V points to the "S" of Scott in this version.

Other Embroidered Mission Patches

Patch id:

AB Emblem patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Sold as souvenirs.
Dimensions: 4" / 101mm
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 rather crude AB Emblem version of the Apollo 9 patch is easily recognised by the short and squat Saturn V rocket.
Patch id:

Lion Brothers patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Lion Brothers
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: 3½" / 89mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Scarce.
Value: Examples sell for around $15-30.
Notes: The Lion Brothers patch has a similar appearance to the Crew Souvenir patch. The most obvious difference is that this version has the CSM and LEM touching. Note that a rare plastic backed prototype version of this patch exists.
Patch id:

AB Emblem yellow border "Kirk Edge" patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Rare
Value: Unknown.[4]
Notes: This patch is apparently identical to the standard AB Emblem version except for the striking yellow border.

Although I had originally suspected a manufacturing error as the origin of these patches it seems more likely that these are actually "Kirk Edge" patches - unfinished factory reject patches acquired by the late Bob Kirk to which he added merrowed borders of a distinctly different color to the original design. As such these patches have little value except as curiosities.

Patch id:

Texas Art Embroidery patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Texas Art Embroidery
Distribution: Unknown.
Dimensions: 4" / 102mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Extremely rare. Only two examples sold in last few years.
Value: Examples have sold for between $340 and $1101[5].
Notes: This striking design is easily recognized due to its size and quality, plus the lack of red fill in the "D" of McDivitt.
Patch id:

Space Spin-Off Ltd. patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Space Spin-Off Ltd.
Distribution: UK mail-in offer
Dimensions: 3¾" / 97mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue cloth. Stitched border, cut edge.
Scarcity: Rare
Value: An example sold recently for $67[6]
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.
Patch id:

[AS9UNK2]

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: 4" / 102mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Scarce
Value: Unknown
Notes: Although superficially similar to the AB Emblem design, especially in terms of the Saturn rocket, this patch is partially embroidered on twill. The artwork and execution is pretty crude, particualrly the Lunar Module.
The manufacturer is unknown but this patch was first identified alongside examples of AS10UNK2, AS11UNK9 and AS12UNK8, implying a likely common manufacturer.
Patch id:

Crew Patches replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Available exclusively from my Crew Patches store.
Dimensions: 3¼" / 85mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with tail.
Scarcity: Small production run
Value: On sale at $12
Notes: This is a high quality replica of the rare Apollo 9 crew patch, produced for me by AB Emblem in early 2014.

These patches are not available via regular retail outlets, or from AB Emblem directly. If you want to purchase one or more of these patches please go to the Crew Patches Store page.

3" Embroidered Mission Patches

Footnotes

[1] Examples of Apollo 9 Crew Patch sales:
     Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Spring 2008 auction lot 9 sold at $620 [no red D] by Paul Weitz
     eBay item no. 150301910650 Oct 12, 2008 sold at $255.55 (lot included a Lion Brothers patch)
     Astro-Auction item no. 1220817305, Sep 7, 2008 sold at $160.
     eBay item no. 360247796794 Apr 4, 2010 sold at $610 [no red D]
     eBay item no. 110672145654 Apr 14, 2011 sold at $215.05
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 147 Nov 20, 2011 sold at $230 (inc. fees)
     Heritage Fall 2011 Space sale lot 410059 Nov 30 2011 sold at $1,434 [FLOWN]
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 224 Jun 2, 2012 sold at $177 (inc. fees)
     Heritage Space Auction lot no. 40383 Apr 18, 2013 sold at $1314.50 [FLOWN, Ex-McDivitt]

[2] Examples of Apollo 9 Crew Patch Variant sales:
     Lunar Legacies listing Oct 2 2009 sold at $395
     Aurora Fall 2006 Space Auction lot 548. FLOWN variant patch from Dave Scott.
     Aurora Spring 2003 Space Auction lot 325. Unflown variant patch mounted alongside flown flag.
     Heritage Sep 20, 2007 auction lot 25101. Unflown variant patch from Dave Scott mounted alongside flown flag.
     eBay item no. 200432793461 Jan 31, 2010 sold at $412.99.
     Lunar Legacies Spring 2010 auction lot no. 217 Sold Mar 6, 2010 at $316.25
     eBay item no. 140402226917 May 2, 2010 sold at $260.56.
     eBay item no. 360264029925 May 23, 2010 sold at $490.79.
     eBay item no. 130416524707 Aug 8, 2010 sold at $202.45.
     eBay item no. 150515178149 Nov 8, 2010 sold at $102.50 (not listed as Crew Patch)
     eBay item no. 250754144627 Jan 15, 2011 sold at $489.84 (redless D variant)
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 148 Nov 20, 2011 sold at $126.50 (inc. fees)
     eBay item no. 180802092250 Jan 25, 2012 sold at $380
     eBay item no. 280956490479 Sep 9, 2012 sold at $151.50
     RRAuction Lot 326 Nov 29, 2012 at $2772 (FLOWN)
     eBay item no. 170953034499 Dec 12, 2012 sold at $67
     eBay item no. 251217027581 jan 27, 2013 sold at $356.51 [Ex McDivitt]
     RRAuction Lot 373 May 23, 2013 at $3651.60 (FLOWN by Scott)
     RRAuction Lot 374 May 23, 2013 at $1290 (FLOWN by McDivitt)

[3] Examples of Apollo 9 Crew Souvenir Patch sales:
     Aurora Fall 2007 auction Dec 1, 2007 : lot 328 sold at $293.75 (inc fees)
     Aurora Fall 2007 auction Dec 1, 2007 : lot 329 sold at $411.25 (inc fees).
     eBay item no. 360055424354 May 31, 2008 sold at $396.51.
     eBay item no. 320360725512 Apr 20, 2009 sold at $405.
     eBay item no. 120424499231 May 24, 2009 sold at $375.
     Heritage Apr 21, 2010 auction lot 41074 sold at $1195 FLOWN example, ex-McDivitt
     eBay item no. 160445806290 Jun 20, 2010 sold at $210.45.
     eBay item no. 320577561518 Aug 25, 2010 sold at $128.05 (mounted & framed with kapton foil)
     eBay item no. 270653715125 Oct 31, 2010 sold at $177.50.
     eBay item no. 190505533769 Mar 2, 2011 sold at $46.01 [mounted amongst ordinary patches and apparently stained/dirty]
     eBay item no. 140520718250 Mar 13, 2011 sold at $212.81
     eBay item no. 130507495077 Apr 17, 2011 sold at $221.07
     eBay item no. 130578416018 Sep 25, 2011 sold at $66 [significantly worn/washed]
     eBay item no. 360415921909 Dec 11, 2011 sold at $202.50
     eBay item no. 180802094901 Jan 25, 2012 sold at $179.99
     eBay item no. 160788373183 May 3, 2012 sold at $168.49 (mounted on wooden shield)
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 225 Jun 2, 2012 sold at $147.50 (inc. fees)
     eBay item no. 280896159910 Jun 10, 2012 sold at $128.49
     eBay item no. 140771640113 Jun 17, 2012 sold at $59.99
     eBay item no. 130723445295 Jul 8, 2012 sold at $81
     eBay item no. 130788364272 Oct 28, 2012 sold at $26 [with fraying]
     eBay item no. 321023391369 Nov 19, 2012 sold at $42
     RRAuction Lot 325 Nov 29, 2012 at $5992.80 (FLOWN on Apollo 9 & 15)
     eBay item no. 111061281508 May 5, 2013 sold at $109.15
     eBay item no. 290921641140 Jun 1, 2013 sold at $320
     eBay item no. 261283441746 Sep 16, 2013 sold at $90
     eBay item no. 390686236644 Oct 27, 2013 sold at $80 [buy-it-now]

[4] Examples of Apollo 9 AB Emblem yellow border patch sales:
     eBay item no. 251364788853 Oct 31, 2013 sold at $58.40 (part of set of patches)

[5] Examples of Apollo 9 Texas Art Emroidery (Oversize "Red-less D") patch sales:
     Example sold March 2007 for $1101.
     eBay item no. 150172416416 October 22, 2007 sold at $455.
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 232 Feb 19, 2011 sold at $402.50 (inc. fees)
     Lunar Legacies Space Auction lot 149 Nov 20, 2011 UNSOLD at $375
     Regency/Superior Space Auction lot no. 159 May 24, 2013 sold at $190.40 [some condition issues]
     Lunar Legacies item a0944 Oct 2013 sold at $449.95
     eBay item no. 251434564840 Feb 2, 2014 sold at $339

[6] Examples of Apollo 9 Space Spin Off patch sales:
     eBay item no. 141106171051 Nov 9, 2013 sold at $67.00

[7] Examples of Cape Kennedy Medals 3" patch sales:
     eBay item no. 140367455294 Dec 20, 2009 sold at $23.50
     eBay item no. 180653765955 Apr 29, 2011 sold at $16.99 [MIP]

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