Having just read the “Collecting the final frontier” article by
William T. Gibbs in the May 6 Coin World reminded me of a
small medal that was issued by the Franklin Mint in 1971 commemorating
the fight to the Moon. What may be the interest in this medal and its value?
Charles Lothar Zeterbergh
The private Franklin Mint made a number of spacecraft relic medals
during the firm’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.
Relic medals are pieces containing metal or other substances
recovered from famous ships, spacecraft or important historic
artifacts, or from historic sites.
Relic medals fall into three broad categories: one, with metal
that was once actually a part of the artifact added to the alloy used
to make the medals, so that each medal contains some amount of
recovered metal; a second, in which a piece of recovered metal is
embedded directly into the surface of the medal; and a third, made
from an alloy containing a portion of metal carried aboard a famous
naval or space craft.
Your piece is an alloy example that features an image of the Moon
on the obverse and a legend on the reverse explaining its metallic
content: THIS MINI COIN IS MADE FROM A SPECIAL MELT CONTAINING SILVER
THAT WAS CARRIED TO THE MOON ON THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 14.
A Mint mark for the Franklin Mint is at bottom center on the
reverse. The design of the medal was engraved by artist Fritz Weiland.
Crewmembers of the Apollo 14 mission carried with them a small
amount of metal that was later added to the sterling silver alloy used
in striking this medal.
Each medal measures a small 13 millimeters, and 129,499 were created.
The small flip holder created by the Franklin Mint was dated Aug.
28, 1971, and states on the Certificate of Authenticity that the medal
was created “from a special melt of silver into which was placed
10,000 grains of silver carried aboard Apollo 14 on its voyage around
This medal is an interesting historical piece, but one that holds
a minor value. Some of these medals have sold recently in Internet
auctions in the $10 to $20 range.
The Apollo 14 spacecraft launched on Jan. 31, 1971, and carried a
three-person crew of Commander Alan Shepard (the first American in
space, during the Mercury program), Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa,
and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell.
Two of the astronauts, Shepard and Mitchell, made two space walks
on the lunar surface after their Feb. 5 arrival. All three returned
back to Earth on Feb. 9.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from Coin
World. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins.
Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to email@example.com or
call 800-673-8311, Ext. 172.