Apollo 14 - EVA Moon Flag displayed on Lunar surface and returned to Earth 1971.
Apollo 14 - 50 Star, EVA Moon Flag, one of four known flags exposed to the lunar atmosphere and subsequently returned to Earth. The dimensions of this flag are 12" X 18", which is certainly larger than the 4" X 6" patches, nevertheless likewise known as 'flags', that were taken into lunar orbit aboard the Command Module. Other patches of the same size (4" X 6") were stored on the Lunar Landing Modular (LM) that touched the moon's surface but were never taken out onto the actual surface of the moon (EVA). Only this and one other flag currently on Earth were taken out of the LM by Alan Shepard, the second human and the first American in Space, and on to the surface of the moon (this of course excludes those left behind from Apollo missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). The second flag was on the same Apollo 14 flight to the moon and it also was taken by Alan Shepard as a set of 2 flags. It can be said the two flags which Alan Shepard took to the lunar surface were the largest flags to touch the surface of the moon and then return to Earth.

Alan Shepard took this flag to the moon at the request of Brad Washburn, Director of the Museum of Science in Boston, after which it was bequeathed to Jack Naylor, who subsequently sold it to the Zaricor Flag Collection at Guernsey auction in NYC in the autumn of 2007.

There were numerous flags prepared in packages ranging in amounts of up to 100 flags and representing the member states of the UN (plus the states in the union of the United States, at a count of approximately 100 US flags alone). All of these flags measured 4" X 6" and were on each of the seven missions to the moon (Apollo 13 failed to land due to a technical malfunction and returned safely to earth - see ZFC2518). Those flags were subsequently distributed upon their return to earth and precise details about them are widely known.

The size of all the flags carried in the mission kit was approximately 4" X 6", with the exception of the two Shepard flags which measure 12" X 18". The primary mission flags' designated purpose was to be planted on the surface of the moon, and they tended to measure 2.5' X 4' to 3' X 5' depending on the mission. More research could potentially yield more flags, as we know that besides the official flags of the Apollo 11 mission, there were also "two large" U.S. flags indicated on the mission kit-list; however no details as to size or purpose are specified in the mission inventory.

Thus, this Apollo 14 flag, which Alan Shepard took for his friend to the moon in January 1971 and post-marked with the treads of the lunar Mobile Equipment Transporter, is one of the only flags to be displayed on the surface of the moon and subsequently returned to earth. A unique and, truly, a celestial flag.

Exhibition History:
The Naylor Collection
Boston, MA

University of California - Santa Cruz
Board of Councilors Meeting, Rare Flags Exhibit
Santa Cruz, CA
7 June 2012

• This flag was acquired through purchase by Bradford Washington, Director of the Museum of Science, of Boston, MA, in 1971.
• Conveyed to Capt. Alan Sheppard who transported the flag to the Moon's surface in the Lunar Module Antares during the Apollo 14 Mission, 1971.
• It was re-conveyed to Bradford Washington after the mission, 1971.
• It was sold to Jack Naylor of Boston, MA, who displayed it in his private collection, 1992.
• Sold via Guernsey's Auctions of New York City, to the Zaricor Flag Collection in 2007.


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Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection
Museum of Science in Boston