Credit: U.S. Mint


Next July’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969 — a venture that cost U.S. taxpayers $25 billion in then-year dollars — is now a four-coin program: a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coin.

That’s the word from the U.S. Mint.

As required by the Public Law, the Mint invited American artists to design a common front of the coin image that is emblematic of the United States Space Program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. The Secretary of the Treasury selected the design from a juried competition.

Steps to the moon

Gary Cooper of Belfast, Maine created the winning design in the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design Competition. The “obverse” design was selected from entries in a juried competition as required by the authorizing legislation, Public Law 114-282.

The winning design by features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI,” and “APOLLO”— separated by phases of the Moon—and a footprint on the lunar surface. The design represents the efforts of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing.

Iconic reflection

The “reverse” design is by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It features a representation of a close-up of the iconic ‘Buzz Aldrin on the Moon’ photograph taken July 20, 1969, showing just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The reflection in Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander.

Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill
Credit: U.S. Mint

Prices for the coins include surcharges of $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin, $5 for each half dollar clad coin and $50 for each five ounce proof silver dollar coin, which the law authorizes to be paid as follows: one-half to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit, one-quarter to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and one-quarter to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

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