This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Designs for two Congressional gold medals, one that will honor four astronauts and one that will honor golfer Arnold Palmer, were recently endorsed by the Commission of Fine Arts.
Gold medals will be presented to astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Michael Collins and John H. Glenn Jr. and to Palmer. Bronze duplicates of the medals will be sold to the public by the U.S. Mint.
For the gold medal honoring the astronauts and their two separate missions, the CFA preferred obverse design No. 1 and reverse design No. 2, according to CFA Secretary Thomas Luebke.
The obverse design reflects the three astronauts who were part of the Apollo 11 moon landing in profile at the top of the medal, and Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth at the bottom of the medal.
Luebke said the CFA spoke favorably of the profile images and the overall approach of honoring the astronauts on the obverse of the medal and their missions on the reverse.
The reverse design endorsed presents a stylized composition incorporating the orbit and lunar landing. Given the selection, Luebke said, the CFA suggested eliminating redundancy of the orbit module from the obverse of the medal.
Designs selected for the Palmer medal were No. 1 for the obverse and No. 4 for the reverse, Luebke said.
The CFA suggested that Palmer’s clasped hands be moved so they don’t cover the text on the obverse, and preferred eliminating from the reverse the design of the golfer and trees at the top of the medal.