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Apollo 11 designs considered

By Maggie Judkins

The public’s artistic interpretation of the first manned moon landing was considered when the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met Oct. 18 to review design contest submissions for the obverse of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coins. Set to be released in 2019, the coins – a clad half dollar, a silver $1, a gold $5 and a 5-ounce silver $1 – will be curved, similar in nature to the National Baseball Hall of Fame coins issued in 2014.

Two designs were most favored by members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for the obverse of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coin program. Artist 167’s design (left) features a rocket and mathematical equations atop the textured surface of the moon. Artist 265’s design portrays a footprint left on the lunar surface during the moon-landing mission.

The convex reverse design that will appear on all four coins is “a representation of a close-up of the famous ‘Buzz Aldrin on the Moon’ photograph taken July 20, 1969, that shows just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, including the reflection of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander,” according to the Mint.

Members of the committee, whose responsibility is to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on themes and designs pertaining to U.S. coinage, expressed concern that the 18 designs up for consideration don’t take into account the concave nature of the coins’ obverses and that they won’t translate well onto the various sizes of the coin.

That said, the majority of members preferred the designs from Artist 167 and Artist 265.

Artist 167’s design features a rocket in the foreground over mathematical equations against a background of the surface of the moon. Members commented that they appreciate the dimension of the design and liked that it gives a nod to the mathematicians and engineers who helped make the mission possible.

The design from Artist 265 details an astronaut footprint left on the surface of the moon with the names of past space missions below. Committee members were skeptical of the fact that other countries have employed similar designs on their coins but felt the Mint’s artists could improve upon the design to make it more original. One suggestion was to expand the surface of the moon out to the edge of the coin, similar to 167’s design.

Because a separate panel of contest jurors will select the final design, the CCAC did not make an official recommendation at the Oct. 18 meeting. The winning obverse design is set to be announced in 2018.


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• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• Check out the newly-updated Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date that provides accurate identification, listing and pricing information for the latest coin releases.

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