Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he also has written a regular column for CoinWeek.com since 2011, writes a monthy column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2015, for his CoinWeek column “The Coin Analyst,” he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best online column. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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Act Now to Make Apollo 11 Coins a Reality

Last year Rep. Bill Posey (R- FL) introduced a bill, H.R. 2726, calling for the issuance in 2019 of a series of four coins honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, one of the greatest achievements of our country and of mankind.  The coins include the usual three-coin set of a silver dollar, clad half dollar, and $5 gold coin plus a first for the modern commemorative program, a proof 5-ounce silver coin struck in the concave/convex shape used for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins.

Last June Steve Roach explained in Coin World what this proposed coin program would include.

This program was first recommended in 2014 during a meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, when Mike Olson made a motion for it that received a unanimous vote, and the proposal again received a unanimous vote in 2015.

Since his term on the CCAC ended in 2014, Mr. Olson, an Iowa banker and former Army National Guard Lt. Colonel, has been working to promote this program, including meeting with members of congress from states that participated in the massive effort to land on the moon such as Florida, Texas, California, and Alabama.  He was last on Capitol Hill a couple weeks ago.

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There is a lot of interest in these coins because of the huge significance of the event and the fact that it has never been commemorated on a U.S. coin, yet many world mints have already issued such coins. 

To date H.R. 2726 has 63 co-sponsors, but it needs 290 to move the legislation forward.  So far most of those who have signed onto the bill come from the same states mentioned above.  In addition, a companion Senate bill has not yet been introduced.

If the bill does not pass both houses by the end of the year, it will expire, and those who care about this program will have to start all over again.

That is why time is really of the essence and why any collectors that want to see these coins issued should do what Mr. Olson recommended:

Here is what coin collectors can do to make a difference and win the support of their members of Congress.  First, go to this link and see if your representative has cosponsored H.R. 2726.

If their representative is not listed as a cosponsor, collectors should research contributions that companies or universities in their congressional district made or continue to make to the space program.   Almost every state had some involvement in the Apollo program, which was by design to ensure widespread support for this massive fiscal and human undertaking. With involvement now by the coin collecting community, this can also serve to generate pivotal support for H.R. 2726.  For example, Rockwell Collins, an Iowa company, played a key role by producing the radios that communicated between the earth and moon.

The next step is to contact their representative's office in Washington DC via phone or email. You can find your representative’s contact information here. I suggest calling the Washington DC office of your representative and asking to speak to the legislative director. If they are unavailable, leave a message and ask for their email address in order to also send them some information, making sure to specifically reference H.R. 2726. Let them know about the key role that constituents in their district made to the space program, the enthusiasm in the numismatic community regarding this particular set of coins, and the fact that over 60 of their colleagues have cosponsored this legislation already. It would also be important to mention the worthy organizations which would receive surcharges from the sale of these coins: the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum's "Destination Moon" exhibit; the Astronauts Memorial Foundation; and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to aid its missions by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). 

Dieter Jobe with Congressman Posey's office can also be contacted for those with questions on how they can support this legislation.  His contact information is:  Dieter.Jobe@mail.house.gov; (202)-225-3603.

In addition to contacting their Congressman, collectors should also contact both of their Senators, who can be found by following this link

There is currently not a bill in the Senate, however I am very hopeful and optimistic that a bill will emerge and making these contacts now will serve to generate  interest and support that will be needed later.

If collectors want to see this happen, they need to act NOW, and get their friends and neighbors engaged.  It is very time intensive to get a commemorative coin proposal to this point and if this does not get passed by both houses before the end of the session this year, we will have to start over.  We only have one chance in our lifetimes to honor the Apollo 11 lunar landing on a significant anniversary and we owe it to the astronauts and the people who made it possible to complete this mission.

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5 comments
I am mixed here - I am a huge fan of the space program and watched the moon landing.

With the product the mint is putting out - poor designs and extremely overpriced coins - I have lost all interest in modern commemorative coins and stopped buying them a number of years ago.

If it happens - fine - otherwise it isn't something I will miss.
I understand where you are coming from, and I agree the overall quality of designs has gone down a lot in recent years.
But there have been some good ones, and I think there is a good chance we will see some nice designs for these.
How can this be? It seems this bill is struggling to garner the support needed to pass. Again, how can this be? I love coins and coin collecting. And like the author of the first comment, I am extremely disappointed in many of the Mint's offerings, especially the commemorative program (see 2001 Capital Visitor Center Half Dollar, I was a visitor today, and picked up one of these as I love small items to remember especially poignant experiences; today's visit was for a number of reasons. However, the design is embarrassingly bad. Needless to say, 15 years later and buckets of these on offer for 8 bucks is a testament to the design quality; the keepsake design does not match the experience of visiting the Capital. And it isn't an isolated case I'm sure). That being said, the baseball program was great. The Mark Twain coins are inspired...the Mint CAN get it right, even if only on occasion. And this I believe is because of the subject matter. I think too often the programs being commemorated lack inspiration (though the national park designs I feel are too busy, yet the subject matter offers plenty of inspiration. So, how does a program with great national pride, inspired design elements that reflect the subject matter (curved coins, and a 5 ouncer to boot) struggle to receive the support needed to pass!? If this program fails to launch (geez, I tried to avoid baseball puns earlier too...) then I'm not sure where or when the US Mint will find a greater convergence of positive factors to offer a product that will have as mass appeal as this program would. My collecting focuses on much older coins but I buy what I like, and as far as modern coins and rounds are concerned I like Pandas. I appreciate that the design changes annually. I don't love silver or gold eagles because to me the program is stagnant. I almost never buy modern US Mint offerings, except for the 5 oz ATB quarters because at that size the designs are gorgeous. A program highlighting space travel and Apollo 11 is a no brainer. If they get the designs right, then this program will be monumental - inspired subject matter, a curved surface to match that of the moon, a five ouncer, beautiful designs: well, then I'll have to collect all four. And that's the first time I've ever said that.
Thanks, Michael, for your thoughtful comments.
I wanted to provide a quick update on the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. On the House side, we currently have over 100 cosponsors. We are gaining momentum and hope to have the requisite 290 cosponsors by year's end. On the Senate side, we now have a Republican lead cosponsor, Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado. Senator Nelson should be introducing the companion bill very soon.

I would ask that coin collectors check the link in Louis' article above to see if your respective Representative has cosponsored H.R. 2726. If they have not, call their office and let them know that you would like to see your Representative support the bill. Trust me, the staff members in these offices care about what the Representative's constituents have to say - especially if multiple coin collectors are calling about the same bill.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions: Dieter.Jobe@mail.house.gov.