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Where were they sold?

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Back in the 60s and 70s, most space patches were probably bought direct as souvenirs from shops at space-related sites such as the KSC, the JSC, and various museums. The fact that Lion Brothers patches are nowhere near as common as those of their main rival implies that AB Emblem was the exclusive supplier at most of these sites, presumably because of their status as producer of NASA's official patches.

Below I have detailed a few of the ways Lion Brothers patches were available.

National Air & Space Museum (to 1980s)

NASA contractor shops (1980s)

It seems that Lion Brothers were the exclusive supplier of Apollo mission patches to the gift shop at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, through until at least 1982[1].

Examples of their Apollo-era patches mounted to NASM cards appear from time to time on auction sites, and I have also seen examples of Lion Brothers ALT, Shuttle Program, and STS-2 (Nov 1981) patches on NASM cards. I've yet to see an STS-3 (Mar 1982) patch on an NASM card so the implication is that Lion Brothers ceased to supply patches for new missions from around the end of 1981.

However, the STS program patch that I have on an NASM card is plastic backed (circa 1983/4) which implies that at least this patch was still being supplied by LB to the NASM at this point.

Lion Brothers may have continued to supply the NASM patches with Apollo mission patches and the Shuttle Program patch until they stopped manufacture altogether in around 1983/4. Perhaps the contract for Shuttle patches was given to AB Emblem while LB were still supplying Apollo patches, or perhaps it just took some time before their stock of LB Apollo patches was exhausted (with a small stock of Shuttle mission patches quickly being replaced by AB examples).

Many collections of early Shuttle mission Lion Brothers patches appear to originate at contractor-run shops operated at the time at some NASA sites.

In one example the owner of a set that came to market said that they bought the patches from a shop run by Rockwell International at the Vandenberg Air Force Base when it was being prepared for shuttle launches.

Several examples of jackets covered with sewn-on shuttle patches have also been sold in recent years which belonged to NASA contractors.

The patches on these jackets, acquired and sewn on at the time of each mission, have been Lion Brothers versions up to STS-51C and in each case the original owner had apparently purchased all the patches at a contractor-run shop.

After STS-51C the patches in each case seem to be AB Emblem versions, implying a change of supplier at the contractor sites.

Lion Brothers patches were reportedly also distributed by Rockwell Shuttle Program Quality Representatives as "goodies" to workers in sub-contractor companies.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Corporate Promotional Items

In addition to the NASM gift shop, Lion Brothers patches were also sold at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL in the 1970s.

A nice example of Lion Brothers patches used in a corporate promotional campaign is a folder produced for Kodak in 1971.

The suede-effect brown folder (yep we're talking 70s here!) contains a number of cardstock sheets each briefly describing two of the Apollo missions.

The matching Lion Brothers patches - from Apollo 1 through to Apollo 14, including the purple-backed variant of Apollo 7 - were held in the center of each page by slots in the card.

TANG Offer (1976/7)

In late 1976 the makers of TANG made a promotional offer whereby people could send off for a set of Apollo mission patches for $15, or order individual patches for $1.25.

The set included the blue backed version of the Apollo 7 patch but did not include Apollo 1, the Skylab project patch or the Apollo-Soyuz mission patch. Perhaps it's no coincidence that today these patches are amongst the scarcest.

[1] National Air and Space Museum printed card from 1982 entitled "Apollo Mission Emblems" shows Lion Brothers patches. Also, confirmed purchase of Lion Brothers Apollo mission patches from NASM shop in 1981, and example of Lion Brothers STS-2 mission patch on NASM card (circa November 1981).
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