U.S. Mint to mark 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

The U.S. Mint recently unveiled the designs for its 2019-dated Apollo 11 50th anniversary commemorative coin program.

The common obverse and reverse designs will be featured on four coins in the program, which includes a $5 gold coin, a standard size $1 silver coin, a clad half-dollar coin and a five-ounce $1 silver Proof coin. In a manufacturing first for the mint, the five-ounce silver Proof coin will be 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 was produced 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 design.

The common reverse (line drawing shown) depicts a close-up of the iconic photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the moon taken on July 20, 1969.

REVERSE DESIGN

The reverse design, by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, features a representation of a close-up of the iconic “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken on July 20, 1969. It shows just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

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 design.

CANADIAN CONNECTION

In July 2009, the Canadian Air and Space Museum celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing by Apollo 11 as well as the vital contributions Canadians made to this important milestone.

Canadian Owen Maynard was in charge of NASA’s lunar module program and played a key role in the design of the lunar module. What’s more, following the Avro Arrow cancellation in 1959, more than 25 engineers left for NASA and made an indelible mark on the manned space program.

After the landing, Aldrin thanked two former Avro Arrow engineers for their contributions in helping to make the voyage of Apollo 11 a success.

SURCHARGES

U.S. law that authorizes the Apollo 11 coin program also requires the 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 U.S. Mint will announce the release date and pricing for this coin program prior to the opening of sales in January 2019.

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