2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar Designs Unveiled


The United States Mint recently unveiled designs for the commemorative 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar. McAuliffe, the first participant in NASA’s Teach in Space Project (TISP), was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986.

Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar Designs
U.S. Mint line art images showing the designs for the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar

Authorized under Public Law 116-65, the U.S. Mint in 2021 will produce and sell up 350,000 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollars in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated.

"This silver dollar will celebrate the life and legacy of a true pioneer, a passionate educator, and an inspiration to millions," said United States Mint Director Dave Ryder. "We hope this coin will honor Christa McAuliffe’s memory, and we are proud to assist in the continued legacy of her mission to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders."

Twenty-seven design candidates for the commemorative were reviewed. The final designs were selected by the Treasury Secretary after consulting with the family of Christa McAuliffe, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), and the non-profit organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire youth interest and participation in science and technology.

Created by Laurie Musser and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, the selected obverse or heads side design depicts a portrait of Christa McAuliffe with a hopeful gaze.

Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar Design - Obverse
A larger image showing the obverse (heads) design of the commemorative coin

Surrounding inscriptions read: "CHRISTA McAULIFFE," "2021," "LIBERTY," and "IN GOD WE TRUST."

Designed by Emily Damstra and sculpted by Joseph Menna, the reverse or tails side depicts McAuliffe as a teacher, smiling as she points forward and upward, symbolizing the future. Three high school-age students look on with wonder. The seven stars pay tribute to those who perished in the Challenger tragedy.

Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollar Design - Reverse
A larger image showing the reverse (tails) design of the commemorative coin


Prices and an on-sale date for the silver coins have yet to be published.

The authorizing law calls for an added surcharge of $10 to the price of each silver dollar with proceeds, provided the coins turn a profit, paid to "the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."

Current law provides for two U.S. Mint commemorative coin programs each year. The other 2021 program includes $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and 50c clad half dollars to commemorate the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum.

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Why weren’t the other 6 crewmen included on the coin?

Jim Longacre

Politics. I would happily buy one for all seven, but I won’t for just one.


I’m sure the seven others are included in somehow “The authorizing law calls for an added surcharge of $10 to the price of each silver dollar with proceeds, provided the coins turn a profit, paid to “the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”” If not I’ll only buy 2.

Jim Longacre

Buy as many as you like. I think you mean “six others”.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jim Longacre

I thank you. Your right. 6+1 = 7 simple arithmetic is hard to find these days =) please forgive me for not being able to edit after allotted time

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake
Big T

Because she was the only teacher on board.


Amazing how even the numismatic realm is colored by political jargon, be careful guys some of our feminine numismatist’s might consider you misogynist’s (facetiously speaking).

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike

She was the first civilian selected in US history to go into space, and was chosen as the primary candidate. If she’d been a man, you wouldn’t be saying anything.

Steve Mnuchin, selected by Trump, selected this. And yet you cry foul because it’s a woman on the coin. Amazing.

Jim Longacre

Not true. Neil Armstrong, Walter Cunningham, Rusty Schweikart, and Harrison Schmitt were civilians. And that was just Apollo. Several Skylab and Shuttle astronauts were civilians.


I don’t care so much that the coin honors a brave woman,but anyone much under the age of 50 won’t have an historical connection to it…why 35 years later? On top of that, our space program has languished since the last shuttle was retired….yes, private enterprise like Space X in partnership with NASA are reviving space research, but it’s not the same….

Big T

I doubt there will be any mad rush to purchase this coin that will cause it to sell out in minutes with many buyers annoyed they thought having it in the basket meant it was confirmed and then they end up with nothing. They irrationally promise never to buy from US mint again – except 4 days later when it happens all over again and the same people miss out AGAIN. Relax and breathe easy fellow flippers and collectors – this one is a sure thing for purchase! Now – if only that was the case for the pending limited… Read more »


I think you misspelled FLIPPERS with BUYERs

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake
Chas. Barber

Will never sell out. Design is a great subject meeeh execution….. maybe show a shuttle on it???


Name the other 6 members of the crew? She was well known and is honored as a teacher on this coin. Why is there always so much negativity on this site? Seems as though it was started by a disgruntled member of the mint and / or ANA and used this forum to complain about them. You are all just adding to the demise of the hobby. Let’s keep the conversation on coins. Too many are not aware that a law was written and signed to release this coin by people you voted into office. Not the mint or the… Read more »


The Challenger 7 flight crew: Ellison S. Onizuka; Mike Smith; Christa McAuliffe; Dick Scobee; Gregory Jarvis; Judith Resnik; and Ronald McNair.. Your right, and it was started by CB the sausage who thinks he is entitled to a coin. Thank you.

David S.

I might buy this commemorative. I don’t normally buy them but I vividly remember the Challenger explosion in 1986. It just feels close to my heart. Feels like yesterday sometimes.


One of the worst designs i have seen for a coin


Yes….even if you can buy into the need for this coin the obverse seems to be highlighting her curly hairdo, which takes up about 30 percent of the coin’s surface.

Melissa Campbell

It’s way to long that they finally recognize her for her selflessness and to go to space to help educate your students. To me she’s #1 teacher of all time. Not year or decade not even century but of all TIME.


Even greater than Aristotle?

Melissa Campbell

A lot refers to the other six. However they should be commemorated. The teacher had not been a lifelong astronaut and wasnt looking at the dangers cause she trusted our government. The other six however knew the joys and risk.