The U.S. House on Monday, Dec. 5, overwhelming passed legislation that would authorize the United States Mint to strike curved coins for 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.
Named the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act and numbered H.R.2726, the bill seeks a maximum of:
- 50,000 $5 gold coins in not less than 90% gold,
- 400,000 silver dollars in at least 90% silver,
- 750,000 clad half-dollars, and
- 100,000 $1 silver coins in 5 ounces of .999 fine silver
The first three coin types would be issued in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated and feature the same size and weight specifications as other modern commemorative coins. The 5-ounce coin would have the same size and weight specifications as the U.S. Mint’s series of America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins but issued in proof only.
Coin obverse (heads side) would share a common design selected by competition — one that is emblematic of the United States space program leading up to the first manned moon landing, while coin reverses would offer a rendition of the famed "Buzz Aldrin on the Moon" photograph taken July 20, 1969.
All of them would be curved in shape like the popular 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins, with reverses convex to more closely resemble the faceplate of the astronaut’s helmet and obverses concave to provide a more dramatic display of the winning design.
In addition the bill states, to the extent possible without significantly adding to their prices, that the coins 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 $1 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.
H.R.2726 was introduced in June 2015 and had 298 cosponsors prior to its passage in the House. The U.S. Senate introduced a similar bill, S. 2957, in May 2016. It currently has 17 cosponsors. For either bill to become law, it must pass in the House, the Senate and get signed by the President.