Senate Bill Seeks Curved Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Coins

by Mike Unser on May 24, 2016 · 16 comments

Buzz Aldrin on moon

A photo of Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon. His helmet visor shows a reflection of the U.S. flag and the lunar lander, features to be depicted on proposed, curved-shaped commemorative coins.

The call just became louder to strike commemorate coins in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

In addition to a unique size, the collectibles would feature a curved shape to resemble the faceplate of an astronaut’s helmet and, if possible, a continuous design that would flow over their edges.

July 20, 2019, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. Last June, H.R. 2726 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in trying to authorize gold, silver and clad coinage to celebrate the anniversary. More recently, on May 19, bill S. 2957 was presented in the Senate and it seeks the same coins for the same purpose.

The language in both bills is nearly identical, with each named the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. Should either pass in the House and Senate and get signed by the President, the United States Mint in 2019 would produce and sell up to:

  • 50,000 $5 gold coins;
  • 400,000 silver dollars;
  • 750,000 clad half-dollars; and
  • 100,000 3-inch, 5-ounce $1 silver coins.

The 5-ounce silver piece would mark a first in U.S. commemorative coins, and it would get struck only in the collector proof finish to .999 purity. The other collectibles would be minted in qualities of proof and uncirculated with traditional compositions, although the U.S. Mint would have the option of bumping up the smaller dollar’s purity to above 90% silver.

A juried, compensated competition would decide the coins’ common obverse or heads side design. The bills simply state that the winning design must be "emblematic of the United States space program leading up to the first manned moon landing."

The coins would share a reverse design depicting a close-up of the famous "Buzz Aldrin on the Moon" photograph, which was taken on July 20, 1969. Both bills state that this design should show: "just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr., in which the visor reflects the image of the United States flag and the lunar lander."

Coin reverses would feature a convex shape to more closely resemble the faceplate of Aldrin’s helmet, and obverses would be produced with a concave shape to offer a more dramatic display of the design. The bills state, to the extent possible without significantly adding to their prices, that the commemoratives should be minted with their reverse design continuing over what would otherwise be their edges and extend all the way to their obverse design.

Sales prices of the commemorative coins would include surcharges of $50 per 5-ounce silver coin, $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar, and $5 per half-dollar. Collected funds would be shared between the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s "Destination Moon" exhibit; the Astronauts Memorial Foundation; and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

john May 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Cool. Love the moon curve.

Ernesto May 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I withhold judgement until, the legislation is signed into law, & if it is when the design is released.

BustyWidow May 24, 2016 at 3:44 pm

I agree with you Ernesto, in matters of the heart and of the wallet 🙂

Seth Riesling May 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Great proposed 4-coin commemorative program. Let’s hope we get great competitive designs. But the two silver dollars in two sizes (regular size & 5-ounce) with the same $1 face value denomination doesn’t make sense.

-NumisDudeTX

joera May 24, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Maybe between now and 2019 the Mint will run smoother. But then how many things have gotten better with the government?

Dustyroads May 24, 2016 at 7:33 pm

NumisDudeTX…My sentiments exactly. How can the 5 oz. have a $1. denomination?

joera May 24, 2016 at 8:12 pm

I just got the US Mint’s “2016 Spring Collection” catalog. In it is a page titled “ONLINE ORDERING TUTORIAL.” It would be great if it was that simple.They should have something on how to really deal with all the problems some of us are having trying to order some products on their first day of sale!

Seth Riesling May 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm

joera –

You are so right about the Mint’s Spring catalog “Online Ordering Tutorial” ! LOL. How simplistic & unrealistic is that crap on page 26 !? They are crazy if they think this helps anyone get a limited edition special item when the website crashes or slows down to a snails pace!

-NumisDudeTX

Tinto May 25, 2016 at 12:11 am

Totally agree … that “Tutorial” is crap and IMO this is almost a putdown of regular Mint customers…. maybe they convinced their superiors that it was the fault of Mint customers for all the web site screw ups … wouldn’t surprise me one bit …

And what would their excuse be for not even having the 2016 “Congratulations” set ready for graduation day ???

jim May 25, 2016 at 9:18 am

Really? You’re asking how we can have two $ coins with a different amount of silver? What about a regular quarter and a 5 oz silver quarter? What about a 1 oz $50 gold eagle, a 1 oz $50 gold buffalo, and a 1 oz $100 gold liberty? The Mint has been totally inconsistent lately mixing $ value and metal content. But then again this is Congress asking for these coins – you know, the people who are afraid to get rid of the penny.

Tinto – I sent my complaint letter to Sec Lew on the 19th so maybe he hasn’t gotten it yet or maybe he hasn’t read it yet or maybe the mint isn’t important to the Secretary of the Treasury, or maybe Sec Lew is another hands off manager. I’m hoping it’s one of the first two.
Have you sent him your letter yet?

Tinto May 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I sent a complaint a while back on the website ordering crap from the time of the Prez C&C’s and reply, what reply? Folks like me are too small for them to notice …

jim May 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm

I don’t think they pay too much attention to electronic missives since they’re so easy to write and send, especially if they have a box right on the web page. But don’t stop commenting.
I send mine by snail mail. Since it takes more effort to compose, print, address the envelope, and pay for a stamp they give that a little more consideration. When I complained to Sec Geithner about Dep Dir Peterson the Product Schedule showed a marked improvement over the neglect it was getting before. I’m expecting to see a similar response effort. Today the Product Schedule has only one product scheduled 1 1/2 weeks out with 12 TBDs and a bunch of other unknowns. If Sec Lew reads my letter and reacts you should see the 12 TBDs go away and maybe real dates for the other products fairly soon.

David May 26, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Am I reading this right?
“…the coins’ common obverse…” and “…coins would share a reverse design…”?
So the coins would all have the same obverse and all have the same reverse designs? That would probably take the program from the most potentially interesting and promising modern commemorative coin program to one of unbelievable lost opportunity.

Seth Riesling May 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm

David –

All three coins ($5 gold, $1 silver & 50-cents clad) in the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame 75th anniversary commemorative coin program had the same obverse & reverse designs & were curved & it was the most popular modern US Mint coin program ever!

-NumisDudeTX

joera June 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm

I wonder if this is going to be something that all curved coins will have in common? The same design across all types of metals and denominations?
And I hope the mintages are not going to be as high as they are told they can produce because .. THEY CAN NOT SELL THAT MANY!!

jim June 9, 2016 at 2:38 pm

It’s hard to tell what the head-in-the-sand management at the mint will do. They seem to have lost all knowledge of what communication means or how to do it.

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