U.S. Mint, Royal Australian Mint announce historic collaboration

The U.S. Mint and Royal Australian Mint recently announced a collaborative project that will see them jointly produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969.

The set, which was announced Jan. 10, will feature a U.S. half dollar marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 paired with an Australian $5 one-ounce silver coin marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. The limited production set will be sold and distributed by the Royal Australian Mint and will include a certificate of authenticity signed by David Ryder, director of the U.S. Mint, and Ross MacDiarmid, chief executive officer of the Royal Australian Mint. The U.S. Mint will market the set on its website and provide a link to the Royal Australian Mint’s website for U.S. customers who wish to purchase the product.

“This jointly issued coin set magnificently symbolizes our long-standing alliance and friendship with Australia,” said Ryder. “Many Americans will remember listening for the critical reports from the tracking stations in Australia at Carnarvon, Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Parkes, as the Apollo 11 spacecraft travelled to, orbited and landed on the Moon.”


The U.S. Mint unveiled the designs for the 2019 Apollo 11 commemorative coin program last October.

The obverse and reverse designs will be featured on the four coins, including a $5 gold coin, a standard-size $1 silver coin, a half-dollar clad coin and a five-ounce $1 silver Proof coin. In a manufacturing first for the U.S. Mint, the five-ounce silver Proof coin is curved along with the other coins in the program.

The obverse design was selected from entries in a juried competition as required by the authorizing legislation.

The winning design is by Gary Cooper, of Belfast, Maine, and features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI” and “APOLLO”—separated by phases of the Moon—and a footprint on the lunar surface. The design represents the efforts of the U.S. space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Additional inscriptions are “2019” “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “LIBERTY.” Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the obverse design.

The reverse design is by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It features a representation of a close-up of the iconic “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, showing his visor and part of his helmet. The reflection in Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the U.S. flag and the lunar lander. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the respective denomination and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Hemphill also sculpted the reverse design.


The law authorizing the Apollo 11 commemorative coin program also requires the U.S. Mint to collect surcharges from coin sales—$35 for each gold coin, $10 for each $1 silver coin, $5 for each half-dollar coin and $50 for each five-ounce silver Proof coin.

The Mint is authorized to distribute the surcharges as follows:

  • one half to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit;
  • one quarter to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation; and
  • one quarter to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

The release date for the jointly issued two-coin set will be announced soon.

“We are very pleased that the Royal Australian Mint is entering into a product partnership with the United States Mint to bring customers a unique collectible that marks one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements,” said Zed Seselja, Australia’s assistant minister for treasury and finance. “The collaboration highlights the unique part Australia had to play in sending a man to the Moon.”

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