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.