February 7, 2019 – The United States Mint (Mint) has announced a collaborative project with the Royal Australian Mint. The two Mints will produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969. The set will feature a U.S. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Half Dollar paired with an Australian 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing $5 Silver Proof Domed Coin.
The silver U.S. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Half Dollar is available in proof and uncirculated quality.
The limited production set will be sold and distributed by the Royal Australian Mint, and will include a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Director of the United States Mint and the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australian Mint. The United States Mint will market the set on its website and provide a link to the Royal Australian Mint’s website for U.S. customers who wish to purchase the product.
“This jointly–issued coin set magnificently symbolises our long standing alliance and friendship with Australia,” said United States Mint Director David Ryder. “Many Americans will remember listening for the critical reports from the tracking stations in Australia at Carnarvon, Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Parkes, as the Apollo 11 spacecraft travelled to, orbited and landed on the Moon.”
“We are very pleased that the Royal Australian Mint is entering into a product partnership with the United States Mint to bring customers a unique collectible that marks one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements,” said Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, the Australian Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance. “The collaboration highlights the unique part Australia had to play in sending a man to the Moon.”
The United States Mint unveiled the designs for the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program on October 11, 2018. The obverse and reverse designs will be featured on the four coins in the program: a $5 gold coin, a standard size $1 silver coin, a half dollar clad coin, and a five ounce $1 silver proof coin. In a manufacturing first for the U.S. Mint, the five ounce silver proof coin is curved, as are the other coins in the program.
The obverse design was selected from entries in a juried competition as required by the authorising legislation, Public Law 114-282. The winning design is by Gary Cooper of Belfast, Maine. It features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI,” and “APOLLO” – separated by phases of the Moon – and a footprint on the lunar surface. The design represents the efforts of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Additional inscriptions are “2019,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “LIBERTY.” Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the design.
The reverse design is by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It features a representation of a close-up of the iconic “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, showing just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The reflection in Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the respective denomination, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Ms. Hemphill also sculpted the design.
The law that authorises the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program also requires the United States Mint to collect surcharges from coin sales – $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each $1 silver coin, $5 for each half-dollar coin, and $50 for each five ounce silver proof coin. The Mint is authorised to distribute the surcharges as follows:
- one half to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s ”Destination Moon” exhibit,
- one quarter to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and
- one quarter to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
The United States and the Royal Australian Mint will announce the release date for the two-coin set as soon as it has been determined.
CoinsWeekly reported on the winning designs for the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin.