Here is one of my most prized acquisitions, one of the 298 infamous Sieger/Apollo 15 Crew Owned covers that were flown to the moon's surface. This is number 240 of '300' (there initially were 300, but apparently only 298 of these Sieger/Crew Owned covers survived to be flown to the moon's surface) but in my opinion the numbering means nothing since these covers were all part of the same bundle carried by Apollo 15 Astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin to the moon's surface, returned to the earth, confiscated by the U.S. Government, and finally returned to the crew of Apollo 15.... ELEVEN YEARS LATER! And only then after Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden sued the U.S. Government for their return. So whether you have number 1 or number 298, they are all the same. The numbering has absolutely no significance whatsoever. Neither do the differing stamp combinations found on some of these covers. Bottom line is, they all were on the surface of the moon at the same time!
The number '158' in the upper right corner is the U.S. Governments' inventory identifier, along with initials 'SNH', placed there after they were turned over to the U.S. Government by the Apollo 15 Astronauts. The following excerpt from 'Space Flown Artifacts: The Flown Apollo 15 Covers' authored by Howard C. Weinberger provides some great information about the origin of the initials and serial numbers on these covers:
'In the upper right corner of the reverse of the Sieger/Crew Owned [covers]... [are] the small handwritten initials of S. Neil Hosenball (SNH), NASA's General Counsel [at the time], and a serial number, which NASA assigned at the time of their confiscation. The Sieger/Crew Owned covers are numbered 1-298...'
Below is a picture of Scott saluting the Flag on the surface of the moon. Scott admitted that the bundled covers were placed in the pocket of his spacesuit for the journey to the moon prior to lift-off. If the covers stayed in that pocket, then they were actually on the surface of the moon in Scott's spacesuit as seen in this picture. If the covers were removed by Scott from his spacesuit pocket and stored somewhere in the LM prior to landing on the moon as some have speculated, then they would have been inside the LM as seen in this picture.
According to NASA release 72-189, issued Sept. 15, 1972: 'These 398 [covers] were properly packaged for flight and carried on board Apollo 15 by Scott in a pocket of his space suit'. Scott later reportedly said that he may have removed the bundled covers from his suit leg-pocket and placed them in another storage location aboard LM-10/Falcon once the crew left earth orbit. Scott also allegedly stated that he seemed to recall the bundled covers not being inside his space suit pocket while he was on the moon. However with Scott, you never know whether you are getting the full story or whether he is just clouding the issue because of his bitterness over the whole affair. Either way, this cover was on the moon with Scott and his fellow moonwalker, Irwin.
Two card inserts, hand notated '158A' and '158B', both initialed 'SNH' (S. Neil Hosenball), also came with this Sieger/Crew Owned cover. The following excerpt from 'Space Flown Artifacts: The Flown Apollo 15 Covers' authored by Howard C. Weinberger provides some great information about these inserts:
'Some of the Sieger/Crew Owned covers have a small (unflown) card inserted inside the cover, some signed by a crew member...'
Photo showing comparison of notations placed on this Sieger/Crew Owned cover and both inserts after being turned over to the the U.S. Government by the Apollo 15 Astronauts.
Below is one of the best narratives I have found describing the history surrounding these Sieger/Crew Owned covers.