Obverse Apollo 11 Candidate Designs Unveiled


The United States Mint has unveiled all the candidate designs for the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coins. In 2019, the U.S. Mint will release $5 gold coins, silver dollars, clad half-dollars, and 5-ounce $1 silver coins honoring the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design Candidates
Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design Candidates

These coins will feature a curved shape — similar to the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Baseball Commemorative Coins, and share obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs.

Candidates for the reverse design were unveiled earlier this year, with each a representation of the iconic 1969 "Buzz Aldrin on the Moon" photograph that shows just the visor and part of the helmet.

A design competition is setting the stage for a final obverse selection. Submitted by competition finalists, obverse designs are being looked over today, Oct. 18, by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) will review them tomorrow, Oct. 19.

Below are U.S. Mint images and provided descriptions of the submitted designs.

Artist 167

Artist 167 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 167 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

No artist’s narrative provided.

Artist 196

Artist 196 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 196 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "From Space Shot to Moon Landing."

This design depicts the iconic space suit from the Mercury Space Program with the background of a crescent moon.

The suit is arranged in a way as if to appear floating in a weightless environment.

Artist 254

Artist 254 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 254 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

This obverse design shows a woman peering up into the sky with binoculars with the Moon in the background. On the Moon, a star indicates the Apollo 11 landing site, with a circular path coming from and returning to a series of 1s and 0s around the perimeter. The inscriptions "1969-2019," "LIBERTY," and "IN GOD WE TRUST" appear at the bottom.

The string of 1s and 0s is binary code that symbolizes the advanced technology that many dedicated people created and employed in order to land astronauts on the Moon and return them to Earth.  Read from left to right, the numbers decrease in size at the top of the design and then return to their starting size at the end; this represents the path that the Command Module would have taken as it left Earth, travelled to the distant Moon’s orbit, and then returned to Earth.  For the curious, it is worth noting that this series of 1s and 0s spells the word ‘Apollo’ in Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC).  EBCDIC is the eight-bit character code that developers would have used in the computers that created the software for the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC).  For its time, the AGC was a sophisticated technological achievement and it was critical to the success of the Apollo 11.

The circular path that leads from the binary code to the landing site on the Moon, and then back to the binary code, symbolizes the path the Lunar Module would have taken from the Command Module to the Moon and back.

The Moon is shown at the approximate phase it would have been (as seen from Earth) on July 20, 1969 — the date that Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

The woman with binoculars smiles with enthusiasm as she looks toward the sky.  She is symbolic of the excitement and support that the U. S. space program generated during all of the Apollo missions, especially the launch and landing of Apollo 11.  People crowded the area surrounding the launch site in Florida on July 16, 1969, enduring dense traffic and very hot weather just for a glimpse of the much-anticipated launch.  Some of these people used binoculars to get a better view.  It is estimated that 530 million people were watching the live television coverage when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon, and it is likely that many of them looked up toward the Moon in wonder on that day.  It was as if people everywhere, including the approximately 400,000 people who actually worked on the mission to the Moon, were stakeholders.  That kind of widespread public support and enthusiasm is emblematic of the U.S. space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Indeed, long after the Apollo 11 astronauts toured the world after their return to Earth, astronaut Michael Collins recalled that the people they’d met felt they had participated in the landing. In the 2007 documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, he said: "People, instead of saying, ‘Well, you Americans did it,’ everywhere they said: ‘We did it!’ We, humankind, we, the human race, we, people did it!"

Artist 265

Artist 265 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 265 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!"

The central device is a footprint on the lunar surface left during the Apollo 11 mission.

Artist 273

Artist 273 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 273 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

View of the Moon through the window of the Apollo 11 Command Module hatch.

Artist 276

Artist 276 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 276 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The artist submitted a letter detailing the inspiration behind this design, including human beings rocketing into outer space, our unequaled educational system, and the scientific progress of the United States. The artist further states, "This, above all: we celebrate the awesome courage and skill of our glorious Astronauts," and "AD ASTRA PER ASPERA — To the stars through mighty effort."

Artist 277

Artist 277 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 277 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

This design features the Apollo 11 Command Module, with the Moon in the background, circumscribed by 13 stars.

The artist desired for the overall image to be suggestive of peering through the eyepiece of a telescope, a concave form that is meant to echo the obverse design’s concave surface.

The phrase, "We Choose To Go To The Moon," quotes President Kennedy from his 1962 speech at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. It was one of Kennedy’s earliest speeches meant to persuade the American people to endorse the Apollo program, the national effort to land a man on the Moon.

Artist 279

Artist 279 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 279 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "VISION … VOLITION … VICTORY!"

This design is a symbolic representation of America’s path to landing men on the Moon.

The first American made liquid fueled rocket, which is pointing to the future and Apollo 11‘s landing site on the Moon, represents the beginning of the technology and engineering that would be required to send men into space and to the Moon.

Project Mercury launched the first American astronauts into space and were the first American missions to orbit the Earth. They proved that man could survive and work in the harsh environment of space. The single star in orbit represents these flights, each crewed by an individual Mercury astronaut.

Project Gemini was the crucial bridge between orbiting the Earth and going to the Moon.  The Gemini astronauts were the first Americans to perform extravehicular activities (EVA), or spacewalks, which provided knowledge for moon walking astronauts.  They were also the first, of any nation, to dock two spacecraft together.  This was a vital requirement, as the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module were required to dock in Earth and lunar orbit. Each Gemini spacecraft held two astronauts. I have represented them and the ability to dock with two stars meeting in orbit.

Project Apollo was designed to launch three astronauts to the Moon. Three stars for three astronauts on each crew and also to represent the ascent from Earth, the first landing at Tranquility Base and the safe return to Earth – the basis of President Kennedy’s challenge.

Artist 292

Artist 292 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 292 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The obverse design submission "Our Lunar Destiny" celebrates the choice to go to the Moon, proclaimed by President Kennedy in his speech at Rice University, along with the resulting commitment and effort to achieve this national goal.

This design pays homage to the pre-lunar historical contributions of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs’ research, vision, and desire by advancing the technical knowledge necessary for a future Moon mission.

There are four main visual elements to this design that are arranged in a composition that best tells the story of the years of development in the space industries’ preparation for the eventual Apollo 11 landing: The Earth, the man, the Moon, and the concave nature of the coin itself.

A cloud feature loops its way around the top of the northern hemisphere as it rides the polar jet stream eastward. America’s contour is clearly visible on the Earth’s surface and the American flag patch on the arm of the man’s space suit creates a symbolic relationship between these two elements.

The astronaut hovers in space above the protective atmosphere and gravitational pull of the Earth as he contemplates man’s final quest… the Moon.

Artist 294

Artist 294 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 294 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The artist describes this design as follows: "363 feet of gleaming white metal thundered aloft on a bright summer morning, setting a new course for mankind. "The powerful engines of the Saturn V reverberate throughout time, sending out inspiration to artists even today."

Artist 297

Artist 297 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 297 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The bald eagle representing America was always a fascinating image for me.

When I started contemplating the assignment for the 50th anniversary coin celebrating Apollo 11, the words of "The Eagle has landed" was an irresistible picturesque image; the American eagle landing on the Moon.

Together with the laurel branches I felt I am illustrating everything the words were expressing on the coin:

America, the Moon landing and the 50th Anniversary.

Artist 308

Artist 308 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 308 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

"We choose to go to the Moon"

Symbolic of the epic journey from our home planet to our neighboring satellite, an American Eagle, emblem of the United States, is prominently depicted on a flight from the Earth to the Moon. A symbol of freedom and power, "Eagle" was the name given to the lunar lander used to make the historic first manned landing on the Moon a half-century ago.

Soaring to new heights, the eagle’s grand outstretched wings are a measure of the expansive goals and breadth of mobilization of the Nation’s best minds and industries. Its wide open mouth echoes the bold call to action, "We choose to go to the Moon", expressed by John F. Kennedy in his address at Rice University regarding the Nation’s Space Effort in 1962. It motivated a daring choice of will to pursue space exploration and it inspired the Nation in pursuit of Man’s greatest adventure.

The eagle’s flight path begins by orbiting the Earth, as did the early U.S. space program with unmanned satellites. The path soars outward beyond Earth in a graceful arc leading around the Moon. The Moon is rendered as it would be seen from the Apollo spacecraft in lunar orbit, a unique perspective experienced only by the astronauts who made their triumphant voyage. As an homage to the crew of Apollo 11, the Earth is referenced from a photo taken on their outbound course to the Moon on July 16, 1969.

Illuminating the worlds in space, the Sun’s rays emanate from the word "APOLLO", the Greek god of light and the Sun. Backlighting the eagle, the Sun’s energy advances the intrepid bird forward in Man’s quest for knowledge and enlightenment through discovery and progress.

Underscoring the design and defining the guiding principle upon which the U.S. space program was built, is the phrase, "We came in peace for all Mankind". These words were inscribed on the plaque left on the Moon on the Apollo 11 lunar module decent stage. It is written here in a font similar to that which was printed on the plaque. Perhaps better than any other phrase, it demonstrates the desire for global unity through the spirit of peaceful scientific exploration of space.

Artist 318

Artist 318 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 318 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "And Return Safely To Earth"

The design intent of this coin’s obverse side is to give tribute to the presidential vision that inspired our country to achieve in less than a decade perhaps the greatest achievement by all mankind.

The scenes, rocket blast-off and splashdown, which frame JFK’s face, are also the two significant events that frame the actual landing represented on the Reverse side of the coin.

Artist 328

Artist 328 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 328 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "The Heroes on Earth of the Apollo 11"

The artist endeavored with this design to praise all the talented scientists, engineers, and technical support people who worked hard to make the Apollo 11 mission possible.

There is a mission control room pictured on the design. The inspiration came from the historic NASA mission control center in the Space Center Houston, TX.

There is a start of the Saturn V launching rocket shown in the center of the design.

There is a satellite plate pictured on the right.

The Moon craters in the back center are texturally designed to provide the "Moon" bumpy feeling to the one holding the coin.

Artist 337

Artist 337 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 337 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "The Eagle Will Land"

This eagle is on a determined mission. It flies forward carrying a banner in his beak with the names of the two NASA programs, Mercury (1958-1963) and Gemini (1961-1966) whose engineering innovations and successes led up to the manned landing on the Moon.

The Earth is in the background with a path representing the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That trajectory blends into the banner which the eagle holds securely in its beak… on its way to the Moon with the Apollo 11 crew.

Artist 341

Artist 341 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 341 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The figure looking up at the Moon in this design is a symbolic personification of the focused and determined spirit of NASA.

Artist 343

Artist 343 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 343 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

Titled by the artist as "On the Shoulders of Giants"

Each mission within the three distinct programs of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo advanced the discoveries and capabilities of the previous and each program stood upon the shoulders of its predecessor.

There were 21 manned missions in total before Neil stepped onto the dust of the lunar surface, six in Mercury, ten in Gemini and five in Apollo.

The design evinces three astronauts from the three programs, shoulder to shoulder. One is in a Mercury spacesuit, one in a Gemini suit and one in an Apollo suit (specifically a Block I spacesuit — discontinued after Apollo 1 — a somewhat unique and different look to complement the reverse of the coin that highlights Apollo 11’s classic Block II visor. The astronauts all look to the ultimate goal, the Moon, and the achievement, "For All Mankind." There are 21 stars, denoting the 21 manned missions previous to the landing and the breadth of the American manned space program.

Artist 346

Artist 346 - Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design
Artist 346 – Obverse Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design

The obverse design features the journey of the Apollo Command Module in space and includes an image of the surface of the Moon and Earth.

When remembering the remarkable feat of the Apollo 11 mission, what often goes unmentioned is that it was first and foremost a team effort, with a huge supporting cast back on Earth, and three astronauts risking their lives in deep space in the name of progress.

The Columbia Command Module is meant to represent the team, the mission as a whole, and not just a single, albeit historic, moment.

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I really like 167.

Seth Riesling

I like 308 best.



167 and 308 are the ones I like… (eagle not cut off by coin rim in 308 ..) too bad the Mint had to be super lazy and not strike different designs for each denomination … I was only thinking of getting a regular sized $1 before I saw these designs but both 167 and 308 are gonna look super on the 5 oz !! If either one is chosen I’m gonna get me one or two …. 5oz


294 and 308 are my top choices. 167 is also nice, but it is so busy that it would really only work on the 5 oz. coin. It would be hard to see all the detail on the dollar, half, and gold $5. One problem that several designs suffer from is they look like photos, which are hard to translate into a coin.


167 and 308 really nice – first place. 265 and 341 – second place


Tinto- It’s the Congress that stipulated the same design has to be used That topic was covered today during the meeting, and they are checking to see if more than one could be used.


294 with an Eagle Landing for the reverse like in 297.



On 167 that’s why I call the Mint super lazy .. the design with the characteristics to fit all 4 sizes has a leg up .. BTW I checked the rules for the Apollo 11 on the Mint’s web site .. and it specifically requires the CCAC and CFA (as organizations) to be involved by reviewing the designs in phase 2… nothing like that for the WWI commemorative coin …



Thanks on the update on exploration of whether more than one design can be used .. hope it happens .. still time .. knew about Congress’ law on this .. re curved and one design each for all denominations on each side of the coin…

Rex Fermier

Start with 308 but replace the “Space Eagle” with the Apollo command capsule and THAT would be the best design.


294 Heads 308 Tails,now that’s a coin


oh didn’t realize they are all obverse sides .well thats still my choice


I and my friends looked at the choices and there are a couple good choices. But hands down we like Artist 308 design just like it is. The eagle is magnificent and of course the moon lander’s call sign was Eagle. Because of the amount of detail we think that the larger dollar would be best to show off all the engraving as well as make it affordable to the masses. I was 8 years old when my dad had us watch the first lunar landing on a 13 inch black and white crt television. Artist 308 gets our vote… Read more »

drew scott

167 looks amazing to me.

I would leave the flying eagle out of the coin.


If the Mint ever makes a medal (a 3 inch bronze or even a 5 oz silver ) of the Moon Landing I hope they use 167 .. I’d buy it in a heartbeat! even if it wasn’t curved …


I heard they are leaning towards 167, though as I mentioned I liked 308 the most too.
One thing about the CCAC- Some folks here have said they are secretive because the minutes were not posted right away. That is something the Mint does, and it just depends on when the staff there can do it. Most importantly, the CCAC meetings are always open to the public and anyone can listen in via phone. How much more transparent could they be?

Seth Riesling

Louis – As a former member of the American Medallic Association & ANS, ANA (25 years) & NLG, I still have sources in the CCAC & they are secretive when the Mint tells them to be. Their egos cause off the record arguments too of course, which the Mint disregards or heavily edits. . One small example was the 2015. American Liberty gold coin design when the Mint produced a brochure for a CCAC meeting but refused to release it to the media ( Coin World got my inside source to take one out of the building & mailed it… Read more »

Joe Brown

#343 come on why they just add big smiley faces on all three of them, sorry who ever drew that one , i could not help but laugh. # 346 i would like if it were more realistic, maybe an Eagle with olive branch or dove leading the way,#318 Jack Kennedy is the man who got it moving & off the ground, that drawing of him looks like his mind is there on the moon, he more than likely would have love to go on that mission himself. i was 10 at that time along with one of my best… Read more »

Mike Budzynski

Please – NO MORE Kennedy coins – that subject has been overdone to the point of being ridiculous!!! 167 is the only one that is even worthy to be on the coin which means it will not be picked. Sad that none of them show the LEM or the astronauts on the surface, seems like a missed opportunity. Considering the horrible designs from the CCAC and CFA, they will go with 254, 318, and 341. This is the one modern mint coin I would consider buying after swearing off all modern commemorative coins and this is the best that we… Read more »

Lisa Schweier

I do like coin # 273. I think the view out of the space capsule is a unique and interesting way to capture Apollo 11.
I also like 167 and 308 but I don’t think as a coin they will look too good because of the sculpting.

sam tweedy


Juno Moneta

Many of these are nice or have major elements of merit. Like others I like 167, 265, 292,294 & 308. I think the J F Kennedy portrait is inspired but over-all needs to be re-worked. “They Came in Peace of All Mankind” is a sentiment worth incorporating. Since this is about the Apollo program, particularly Apollo XI, the official emblem for that flight could be an worthy element, as it was for tribute coins minted by other countries in 1969 and 1970.
You can see some of those designs at my coin museum under a special SPACE category:


308 then 167. But 167 might be too much for the smaller coins as Louis mentioned. I just hope they DO NOT pick 318! It looks too much like they are trying to do “the man on the moon.” And 196 just doesn’t look right. Almost like someone was lost in space and all that was left was the suit.

A Bob

I only like 167. But then again, I just purchased the Boy’s Town half dollar. So what do I know?


I find 167 and 341 to be the best designs but closely followed by 308.


The Eagle on 337 should definitely be considered as the replacement Eagle for the newly designed ASE going forward…that’s a really nice Eagle depiction (preferably with the ribbon in his talons).

Seth Riesling

Coins A-Z –

That eagle design on 337 is really a nice, realistic one, if they could reduce its size to include the entire wingspan.

Happy collecting!



Seth, yes, that would be nice too. I actually like the design as is also….were the entirety of the wings to be included, you’d loose a lot of detailing in the face and body because the eagle would have to be rendered much smaller since an eagle’s entire wing span is huge.

I’d rather sacrifice losing the depiction of the entire wingspan in favor of gaining more detail in the body and face….but I do understand how it feels more right to depict the eagle in her entirety. The Bald Eagle is an awesome bird.

Pete Dammann

277 Obverse… it’s simple.. 297 Tails…..Reverse….love Eagle landing on moon!