Sunday, September 22, 2013


Almost one year ago there was a newspaper article about a retired Brooklyn teacher named Herman Darvik who auctioned off two rare envelopes marked on the front with the paw-prints of two Soviet canine cosmonauts who traveled to the cosmos returning unharmed in their Sputnik capsules. 

1966 marked the centennial of the ASPCA and the USA marked the anniversary with a special design printed on envelopes available for purchase at the main branch of the Post Office; it also marked the fifth anniversary of the canine space pioneers' successful flights. Mr. Darvik, an avid autograph collector, knew Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, turned down a request for his hand print. The idea hit, commemorative envelopes were purchased and a letter sent to Russian officials requesting the canine cosmonauts place their prints on the ASPCA envelopes.

A few months later, a surprised Herman Darvik received a letter from the founder and first Secretary General of the USSR Academy of Medicine, Vasily Parin, certifying the paw-prints on the envelopes as that of the canine cosmonauts.

Great story, the combination of the two anniversaries makes for a unique piece of history as well as a unique collectible item.

Here's more on the 1960s race to space and this piece of history:

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