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Another successful Apollo mission

Approval by the Senate Dec. 10 of gold, silver and clad Apollo 11 commemorative coins for 2019 will make many coin collectors drool.

These will be the second series of cupped coins issued by the U.S. Mint.

The Senate acted after the Dec. 5 passage of the same legislation by the House of Representatives.

These coins will mark the 50th anniversary of the United States landing men on the moon and will demonstrate the Mint’s technical skill at striking cupped coins just as the moon landing demonstrated America’s technical skill in the space program.

It was only in 2014 that the Mint struck its first cupped coins for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

A common reverse design for the Apollo 11 coins will be of an astronaut’s helmet, based on a July 20, 1969, photograph of Buzz Aldrin.

Reflected in his visor is the American flag and the lunar lander.

To achieve this effect on the coins, the visor portion of the image would have mirror-like surface while the rest of the helmet would be frosted, according to the text of the legislation.

Such a design would work especially well on the largest coin authorized, a 5-ounce silver coin.

This three-inch diameter coin is specified to be a proof, has a face value of $1 and a mintage no higher than 100,000 pieces.

There are three standard commemoratives also called for.

Up to 50,000 $5 gold pieces can be struck, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 clad half dollars.

The 5-ounce coin’s diameter is double that of the silver dollar.

For the obverse design, the legislation calls for an artistic competition with a prize of not less than $5,000.

Surcharges will apply, as they do to all commemoratives, when they go on the market in 2019.

The surcharge amounts are $35 for the gold $5, $10 for the silver dollar and $5 for the clad half dollar.

For the huge silver 5-ounce coin, the surcharge would be $50.

As Rep. Bill Posey’s office noted last week, surcharge “Proceeds from the coin will support college scholarships for students pursuing science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degrees, educational initiatives that promote space exploration, the Astronauts Memorial that honors the astronauts whom have fallen in the line of duty, and the National Air and Space Museum’s new ‘Destination Moon’ exhibit – all at no cost to taxpayers.”

Mike Olson, Gary Marks. Tom Uram, and Erik Jansen, current and past Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee members, worked very hard to help pass the legislation.

I salute their hard work and the success of their mission.

I also salute every coin collector who contacted his or her senators to express their support.