Collectors who enjoy planetary themed proof coins may get another chance at adding ten more to their collection beginning in 2011.
A new NASA commemorative bill has been introduced again that seeks to "mint and issue $50 gold and $1 silver coins emblematic of the 50 years of exemplary and unparalleled achievements of NASA."
The act may sound familiar as it has become a yearly tradition of late. In 2007, a nearly identical H.R. 2750 passed in the House. In 2008, the Senate passed S. 2159, which had but a few changes. The 110th congress was unable to synchronize either before its session ended, resulting in this latest attempt for the 111th congress to consider.
Ironically, NASA began operation on October 1, 1958 and celebrated its 50th anniversary last October. The legislators may minimally want to consider a new bill name.
As for the details, H.R. 255 calls for up to 50,000 gold coins with a reverse design honoring U.S. astronauts who lost their lives in the line of duty. The obverse or heads side would depict the sun.
A maximum of 300,000 $1 silver coins for each of 9 designs would be authorized as well. The obverse of these would bear an image consistent with the nine planets (in the case of Pluto, a dwarf planet). The legislation provides specific guidelines for the reverse of four designs:
EARTH COIN- The reverse of the $1 coins issued under this Act which bear an image of the Earth on the obverse shall bear images emblematic of, and honoring, the discoveries and missions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Mercury, Gemini, and Space Shuttle missions and other manned Earth-orbiting missions, and the Apollo missions to the Moon.
(II) JUPITER COIN- The reverse of the $1 coins issued under this Act which bear an image of the planet Jupiter on the obverse shall include a scientifically accurate depiction of the Galilean moon Europa and depict both a past and future mission to Europa.
(III) SATURN COIN- The reverse of the $1 coins issued under this Act which bear an image of the planet Saturn on the obverse shall include a scientifically accurate depiction of the moon Titan and depict both a past and a future mission to Titan.
(IV) PLUTO (AND OTHER DWARF PLANETS) COIN- The reverse of the $1 coins issued under this Act which bear an image of the planet Pluto on the obverse shall include a design that is emblematic of telescopic exploration of deep space by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the ongoing search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.
H.R. 255 additionally would authorize a bronze duplicate of the $50 proof gold coin.
Each coin would have a surcharge of:
- (1) $50 per $50 coin;
- (2) $10 per $1 coin; and
- (3) $1 per coin for any bronze duplicate.
Proceeds of which would be directed toward several groups found within the text of the legislation.