By Connor Falk
On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 lunar module touched down on the moon, putting mankind on its surface. A short time later, astronaut Neil Armstrong took those first steps onto its surface, saying, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
In 2019, the 50th anniversary of that landing will occur and such an event has to be commemorated on a coin. This coin would need to capture both the ingenuity and determination of the men and women who made that mission a success as well as the destination itself: the moon.
I’ve created a depiction of what I think the 2019 Apollo 11 commemorative coin should look like.
I believe the coin should be curved, with the obverse convex side featuring the surface of the moon, covered in its craters and valleys. Its surface is familiar to anyone and would need to be replicated by a skilled artist, down to the Sea of Tranquility, the landing site of Apollo 11. The device LIBERTY would be across the top, IN GOD WE TRUST at the 8 o’clock position and 2019 at the 4 o’clock position.
The concave side is a bit trickier. I originally thought the three astronauts on the lunar mission should be profiled. But as astronaut Michael Collins said when justifying not using their names on the Apollo 11 mission patch, “we wanted the design to be representative of everyone who had worked toward the lunar landing.”
After much thought, I believe that the concave side should show the Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo 11 crew into space taking off, engines at full thrust. The rocket is an iconic symbol of the space program. It represents all the knowledge, hard work and motivation it took to place someone on the moon.
Across the top would read UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the lower left will host the denomination and mintmark and the lower right would read E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The name of the mission, APOLLO 11, and the date of the moon landing, JULY 20, 1969, would be to the left of the rocket. To the right is the inscription, “We came in peace for all mankind.” The very same inscription is on the plaque of the lunar module’s descent stage, still on the moon’s surface to this day.
Now that a mockup of this coin is complete, I’m looking to get in contact with Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and any other members of the Apollo 11 mission to hear what they think of the design. I can think of no greater input than that of the very people who were a part of that great achievement of landing on the moon.
I feel that this design best incorporates the success of the Apollo 11 mission: that despite all adversity in this world, mankind could ascend above that and take those first steps out into space.
Connor Falk is online content editor for Numismatic News.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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