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The American crew of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project did not wear embroidered mission patches on board the USS New Orleans immediately after the flight. As can be seen in the photo above they wore their if-flight coverall garments complete with beta cloth patches.

However, when the crew stopped-over in Hawaii after the flight they wore their blue flight suits complete with embroidered ASTP mission patches as shown in the photo on the right.

The crew even had embroidered mission patches sewn on the robes they wore at the Army hospital there, as shown in this photo.

Finally, whilst the U.S. crew wore beta cloth patches during their space flight, the Russian crew actually wore embroidered patches on their in-flight garments, including the ASTP mission patch, as can be seen on the left.

The high-res photos from the Retro Space Images ASTP disc set show that all these patches were the same version, which is also the one used in NASA presentations from the period.

This patch is by AB Emblem but it shows a distinctive characteristic which is not present in all vintage bare-cloth-back examples of their patch - a clear gap between the blue and red blocks of thread around the stars and the outer red border of the patch.

It is not clear at present if this is just a natural variation in an early run of the regular AB Emblem patch or a small but distinct design difference between an initial run produced for NASA (and early commercial runs) and the later commercial runs. Whatever the case this particular version seems to be relatively scarce and the association with the crew(s) seems close enough to make this worthy of the 'Crew Patch' designation.




Whilst there is some question as to whether the above patch is really a distinct version, there is one design of patch which we can unhesistatingly call a Crew Patch as, like the Apollo 17 crew before them, the ASTP crew had a set of special oversize (4¾") patches made with the intials of each crew member sewn into the design.

These initialed Crew Patches, produced in a run of just 150 examples per crew member by AB Emblem, were never available commercially. However, examples from what was likely a production overrun came to market in 2005/6. By my count there were roughly 86 TPS, 73 VDB and 66 DKS patches sold at this time.

Although it was not apparently know at the time it seems that at least some examples of the ASTP initialed crew patch were also made for the Russian crew of Leonov and Kubasov, as a handful of examples came to market amongst the other overruns in 2006. I have only seen one genuine example of a Leonov patch sold and three examples of the Kubasov patch, so these remain exceptionally rare (and sought-after) patches.

The high prices fetched by the over-run patches when they initially came to market led inevitably to people producing sets of replicas. Unfortunately these have been consistently marketed as if they are the original patches which makes them more fakes than replicas. In the section below you will find examples of the three versions seen to-date.

The regular Crew Patch

Patch id:

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) Crew Patch

Worn by crew? The crew wore these patches on their flight suits some time after the mission.
Flown? Yes. Examples were carried on the mission as souvenirs.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem.
Distribution: Commercially available.
Dimensions: 4" / 102mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: Scarce.
Value: Unknown[1].
Notes: This version of the AB Emblem patch can be recognized by the distinct gap between the blue and red blocks of thread around the stars and the outer red border, although care must be taken not to mistake this patch for the 3" souvenir versions which share this characteristic.
This is the version of the patch worn by the crew on flight suits around the time of the mission but these patches were also sold commercially, as evidenced by examples in KSC packaging. The production run must have been fairly limited as these patches remain scarce.

The Initialed Crew Patch

Patch id:

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) Initialed Crew Patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem.
Distribution: 150 examples produced exclusively for each crew member.
Dimensions: 4¾" / 121mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'.
Scarcity: The US crew patches are very rare. Only 3 genuine examples of the Kubasov patch have been seen and just one example of the Leonov patch.
Value: Examples of the US crew patches sell for anywhere from $50 to $560+[2]
Notes: These oversize patches are easy to recognize from their size alone, plus each patch has the initials of one of the crew members sewn in the border at the bottom.
The first replica/fake versions of these initialed patches produced were four inches in diameter but in 2011 4¾" versions began to appear. The known replicas are indentified below.

Other Embroidered Mission Patches

Patch id:

ASTP mission 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 regular AB Emblem patch can be differentiated from the 'crew' version by the lack of a gap between the blue and red blocks of thread around the stars and the outer red border.

It's worth noting that there appear to be some significant variations in some details of the embroidery on AB's vintage Apollo-Soyuz patches. Some have the sun embroidered in orange thread with a gold center and others the reverse. Some have the color fill areas on the front of the command module with dark blue thread above pale blue and others the reverse. These would seem to be variations between production runs as they are otherwise too similar to be from different manufacturers.

Patch id:

ASTP mission Lion Brothers patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Lion Brothers
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Scarce.
Value: Examples sell for around $15-40.
Notes: The Lion Brothers ASTP mission patch has the letters "ASTP" stitched into the cloud patterns on the Earth as a hallmark.
Patch id:

ASTP Initialed Crew Patch replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Regularly sold on eBay.
Dimensions: 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered.
Scarcity: Common.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This recent replica version of the initialed crew patch was unfortunately sold with no mention that it is a replica. It is not a bad quality replica but the 4" size is a give-away.
Patch id:

ASTP Initialed Crew Patch replica (EOA)

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Eagle One Aerospace / Cargo Bay Emblems
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Approx. 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This replica version of the initialed crew patch was apparently produced by Eagle One Aerospace (later Cargo Bay Emblems). The crude modern stitching immediately gives it away as a replica.
Patch id:

ASTP Initialed Crew Patch 2011 replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Regularly sold on eBay.
Dimensions: Approx. 4¾" / 120mm
Type: Fully embroidered.
Scarcity: Common.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This recent replica version of the intialed crew patch is as large as the original. Sadly, instead of clearly identifying these patches as replicas the sellers are again listing them as if they are the rare originals. In any case they are easily identified by the lack of radial thread patterning in the gold border, and by the fact that there is no gap between the red and blue blocks around the stars and the red outer border.
Patch id:

ASTP Hilborn Hamburger patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Hilborn Hamburger.
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: 5" / 125mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Very rare.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This 5" patch from Hilborn Hamburger is a recent discovery.



Patch id:

Apollo-Soyuz Project 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: Very uncommon in bare cloth back form.
Value: Bare cloth back examples sell for maybe $5-15.
Notes: This is the AB Emblem Apollo-Soyuz Test Project patch for the project itself rather than for the mission. It is quite difficult to find in vintage bare cloth back form as the ASTP flight took place in 1975 and AB Emblem switched to coated backs just a few years later in the late 70s.
Patch id:

Apollo-Soyuz Project Lion Brothers patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Lion Brothers
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge without 'tail' (selvedged).
Scarcity: Scarce.
Value: Examples sell for around $15-30.
Notes: This is the Lion Brothers Apollo-Soyuz Test Project patch for the project itself rather than for the mission. The patch does not have a hallmark but the use of tan thread in the outer areas and border distinguish it from the AB Emblem version.

3" Embroidered Mission Patches

Footnotes

[1] Prices fetched by regular ASTP Crew Patches at auction:
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1408 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $420 [part of 'Bilingual Presentation Plaque']
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1409 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $420 [part of 'Bilingual Presentation Plaque']
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1417 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $59 [on appreciation certificate signed by US crew]
      eBay item no. 150296731001 Sep 28, 2008 sold at $76 (with other patches)
      eBay item no. 400019165326 Dec 28, 2008 sold at $142.50 (with Bobby Slayton COA)
      eBay item no. 400022168493 Jan 11, 2009 sold at $114.03 (with Bobby Slayton COA)
      eBay item no. 160313484641 Feb 8, 2009 sold at $46 (with Bobby Slayton COA)
      eBay item no. 160319080202 Mar 8, 2009 sold at $? (with Bobby Slayton COA)
      eBay item no. 140417016110 Jun 20, 2010 sold at $46.09 (on appreciation certificate signed by US crew)
      eBay item no. 140494107452 Jan 3, 2011 sold at $58.13
      eBay item no. 140499013964 Jan 17, 2011 sold at $44
      eBay item no. 130478751187 Jan 31, 2011 sold at $26
      eBay item no. 320895378667 May 3, 2012 sold at $270.11 (with Apollo 12 crew patch and others in lot)
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 484 Jun 30, 2012 sold at $336 [FLOWN, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 485 Jun 30, 2012 sold at $360 [FLOWN, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 494 Jun 30, 2012 Sealed pack of 25 sold at $12 each [Slayton collection]
      eBay item no. 120971285975 Aug 24, 2012 sold at $37.55
      eBay item no. 180958922252 Aug 30, 2012 sold at $11.50 [Dirty]
      eBay item no. 190731191812 Sep 28, 2012 sold with other more valuable patches
      eBay item no. 321020069817 Nov 15, 2012 sold at $100
      eBay item no. 321027513126 Nov 25, 2012 sold at $68.75
      eBay item no. 181035571629 Nov 30, 2012 sold at $99.95
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 749 Dec 1, 2012 sold at $480 [FLOWN, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 750 Dec 1, 2012 sold at $480 [FLOWN, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 751 Dec 1, 2012 sold at $450 [FLOWN, Slayton collection]
      eBay item no. 370741993465 Jan 28, 2013 sold at $155.50
      eBay item no. 370746320941 Feb 3, 2013 sold at $54.75 ['hidden' among other patches
      eBay item no. 1810842231225 Feb 21, 2013 sold at $79.99
      eBay item no. 360665202330 Jun 2, 2013 sold at $36.99 [in KSC packaging]
      eBay item no. 251327873551 Aug 28, 2013 sold at $99.95 [buy-it-now]
      eBay item no. 131000036941 Sep 29, 2013 sold at $50.00 [in KSC packaging and with another patch]
      eBay item no. 261333843557 Nov 30, 2013 sold at $52.00
      eBay item no. 121248689022 Jan 12, 2014 sold at $69.00 [ex-Slayton]
      eBay item no. 281258571851 Feb 9, 2014 sold at $57.00
      eBay item no. 281264832282 Feb 16, 2014 sold at $17.26
      Bonhams Space Auction Lot 287 Mar 25, 2013 unsold [FLOWN by Stafford]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 945 Apr 19, 2014 sold at $288 [FLOWN Slayton collection]
      eBay item no. 371071782691 Jun 4, 2014 sold at $47.79
      eBay item no. 281358352699 Jun 15, 2014 sold at $23
      eBay item no. 121362224263 Jun 19, 2014 sold at $39.95 (2 examples plus 1 non-crew type)
      eBay item no. 131253926946 Aug 3, 2014 sold at $35.95
      eBay item no. 121436944214 Sep 21, 2014 sold at $96
      eBay item no. 141407327876 Sep 21, 2014 sold at $41.09

[2] Prices fetched by ASTP initialed Crew Patches at auction:
     eBay item no. 130481216130 Feb 6, 2011 sold at $406.37 [TPS]
     eBay item no. 140509629903 Feb 13, 2011 sold at $121.38 [DKS]
     Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1404 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $566.40 [DKS from his estate]
     Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1405 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $560.50 [DKS from his estate]
     Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 1406 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $560.50 [DKS from his estate]
     RRAuction Lot 685 Sep 22, 2011 sold at $435.60 [DKS, TPS & VDB ex-Slayton].
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 548 Dec 3, 2011 sold at $236 [DKS from his estate]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 549 Dec 3, 2011 sold at $192 [DKS from his estate]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 550 Dec 3, 2011 sold at $276 [DKS from his estate]
      eBay item no. 180785273486 Jan 1, 2012 sold at $159.06 [TPS]
      eBay item no. 180787257581 Jan 4, 2012 sold at $99.99 [VDB]
      eBay item no. 180789401947 Jan 7, 2012 sold at $104.06 [DKS]
      eBay item no. 120880248339 Mar 19, 2012 sold at $249 [DKS]
      eBay item no. 120879153081 Mar 20, 2012 sold at $199 [TPS]
      eBay item no. 120888326257 Apr 7, 2012 sold at $179 [VDB]
      eBay item no. 190682479177 May 29, 2012 sold at $392 with many other patches [2 x TPS]
      eBay item no. 120929054301 Jun 8, 2012 sold at $260 [DKS]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 510 Jun 30, 2012 sold at $210 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 511 Jun 30, 2012 sold at $228 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 512 Jun 30, 2012 sold at $210 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      eBay item no. 140847159730 Sep 16, 2012 sold at $170.48 [TPS]
      eBay item no. 140855680177 Sep 30, 2012 sold at $156.50 [VDB]
      eBay item no. 130784671921 Oct 21, 2012 sold at $111.50 [DKS]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 755 Dec 1, 2012 sold at $120 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 756 Dec 1, 2012 sold at $144 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      Goldberg Space Auction lot no. 926 Nov 9, 2013 sold at $204 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      RRAuction Lot 745 Nov 21, 2013 sold at $264 [DKS, Slayton collection]
      eBay item no. 221332793912 Dec 12, 2012 sold at $88.88 [TPS]
      eBay item no. 26143968376 Arp 15, 2014 sold at $279 [DKS, buy-it-now]

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