Precious Metals

Polish Mint to strike coins from space-flown-bullion

The Mint of Poland, Mennica Polska, is being contracted to strike coins from space-flown gold, silver, platinum and copper.

The first coins in a planned five-coin series by space enthusiasts DeCRON Club are being issued in October to honor American astronaut Alan Shepard’s 1961 suborbital flight aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft.

collecting Proof setsInside Coin World: Collecting Proof sets, odd sports and notes with no value : We preview some of the feature content exclusive to the October monthly issue of Coin World.

The bullion pieces are being struck in Proof in .999 fine silver, .999 fine gold and .999 fine platinum, and in silver with an Antique Finish.

Each 37-millimeter, reeded edge coin will contain 1 ounce of the respective precious metal. At most, 10,000 coins each will be issued of the Proof and Antique Finish silver versions, as well as 1,000 in gold and 100 in platinum.

The silver coins will be denominated $1, while the gold and platinum coins will carry the $100 denomination, according to DeCRON Club spokesperson Anastasia Nechiporenko. Licensing agreements are still being negotiated for which Pacific island nation’s coat of arms will appear in the coins’ common obverse design as the issuing authority, she said.

The coins commemorating Freedom 7 do not contain metal carried during that flight. They instead are made of metal launched into space about a year ago.

One rocket carrying precious metals as part of its payload was launched Sept. 13, 2017, toward the International Space Station, and another is scheduled in a few weeks, Nechiporenko said via email Sept. 12. The 2017 launch was made by UP Aerospace from a launch pad in th New Mexico desert.

The flight overcame the Karman line, a border between the Earth and space, reaching an altitude of 375,000 feet and a speed six times higher than the speed of sound — 2,058 meters per second. After floating in zero gravity, the payloads were safely returned to the Earth.

The 2017 shipment included a 1-kilogram .999 fine silver ingot, a 1-kilogram pure copper ingot, 200 grams of gold in two .999 fine gold ingots, and 220 grams of platinum in three .999 fine ingots, she said.

On May 5, 1961, the the Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket lifted Shepard to become the first American in space. The obverse of the Shepard coin, using a bold 1961 as the design surface, shows the Freedom 7 capsule in which Shepard spent 15 minutes in space. The background formed by the 1961 digits carries an exact replication of the first Earth shot taken by the spacecraft, according to the DeCRON Club information.

The reverse depicts the Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket with the Freedom 7 spacecraft housing Shepard. The rocket flies through the letter S to form a dollar sign. The letter S symbolizes Shepard’s surname as well as the beginning of the SPACE coin set, in which each letter of “space” will be assigned to an individual coin release. The motto IN SPACE WE TRUST appears as part of the inscriptions.

Pre-order pricing is $399 for the silver versions, $3,999 for the gold coin and $4,999 for the platinum coin.

The remaining coins planned in the series are:
P: Proton, the rocket carrying the first International Space Station’s module to Earth’s orbit in 1998.
A: Armstrong, Neil, and Apollo 11. The first man on the Moon in July 1969.
C: Columbia, the first space shuttle in the Space Transportation System, in 1981.
E: Elon Musk, the man who designed the heavy-lift launch vehicle Falcon 9 and landed booster back.

Test strikes have already been executed in silver and gold, with final designs contingent on licensing agreements.

Each coin will be struck in relief of 0.82 millimeter, which DeCRON Club officials claim is eight times higher than a regular coin’s 0.1 millimeter relief height.

Each struck coin is to be housed in a cupola-shaped capsule with three tamper indicating devices and fitted in a reeded edge aluminum case. Each cases comes with a flash key needed to open the capsule. 

“All essential info is stored on the flash key, including certifications, capsule opening instructions and an e-book about the coins. The unique 7-digit number is used to register your coin on DeCRON Club’s ‘star sky’ web page,” according the DeCRON Club promotional materials.

To experience augmented reality, a purchaser can download and install the DeCRON Club application, start it and point it to the black and white marker on the shipping package or poster. For the first coin, the viewer can enjoy the augmented reality live launch of Mercury Freedom 7 and Alan Shepard’s spacecraft using the envelope’s or poster’s surface.

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