Apollo 11 50th anniversary commemorative coin unveiling
At an 11 October 2018 ceremony at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D. C., David Ryder, director of the United States Mint (at podium), unveiled the design for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program, along with (left to right) Curtis Brown, representing the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation; Ellen Stofan, director of the National Air and Space Museum; and Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 astronaut. Credit: Jim Preston/Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

With the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing coming up on 20 July, the United States Mint today is offering more than a penny for your thoughts to mark that occasion. The Mint, which manufactures the nation’s legal coinage, today is opening the sale of a series of coins to celebrate the mission that featured NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin becoming the first people to walk on the Moon.

The coins include a $5 gold, $1 silver, half-dollar clad, and 5-ounce silver proof, all of which are curved. Each coin is etched with images and words that evoke Apollo 11 and the culmination of that mission as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The coins feature on the obverse side an image of a footprint on the lunar surface and inscriptions that recognize NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, which led up to the first Moon landing. The reverse side shows the visor and part of Aldrin’s helmet; the helmet’s reflection portrays Armstrong, the lunar lander, and the American flag.

The (left) obverse and (right) reverse sides of coins commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Credit: Jim Preston/Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

At an 11 October event to unveil the coins’ designs, Ellen Stofan, director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, said that the coins are “a wonderful way to remember the concerted national effort behind the amazing accomplishment, but also a stepping-off point to think about what’s next.”

Proceeds from the sale of the coins will benefit the Air and Space Museum’s Destination Moon exhibit, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

—Randy Showstack (@RandyShowstack), Staff Writer


Showstack, R. (2019), Apollo 11 commemorative coins available today, Eos, 100, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EO114519. Published on 24 January 2019.

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