An example of what are considered the rarest of the space-flown silver Robbins medals is offered
Auction’s November sale.
Bidding begins Nov. 9 and ends Nov. 16.
Three rarities are identified among the smallest
Also in our Nov. 13 issue, columnists dissect a few poor attempts
at counterfeiting American rarities and explain an obsession to
search for surprise coins.
The 1.25-inch medal is one of just 80 such sterling silver medals
carried aboard the America and Challenger spacecraft on the final
Apollo mission landing on the moon — Apollo 17. This flight carried the fewest
Robbins medals of any of the Apollo missions.
The medal carries an estimate of $30,000+.
The Apollo 17 crew comprised Lunar Module Pilot Harrison H. Schmitt, Commander Eugene A. Cernan and Command
Module Pilot Ron Evans.
The Apollo 17 Robbins medal was consigned to the auction by former
scientist-astronaut Ed Gibson, who made his only flight into space
in 1973-1974 aboard Skylab 4, the third and final manned flight for Skylab.
The medal’s obverse depicts a raised rendition of the mission
insignia and official emblem of the Apollo 17 lunar landing
mission, featuring an image of the Greek god Apollo, an
American eagle, and a background including the Moon, the
planet Saturn and a galaxy or nebula.
Inscribed around is APOLLO ★ 17 and CERNAN ★ EVANS ★ SCHMITT.
Connect with Coin World:
up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on
us on Twitter
The reverse is encircled with raised text, AMERICA-CHALLENGER –
APOLLO XVII – THE BEGINNING around the stacked, engraved dates of
December 6, 1972 for launch; December 11, 1972 for landing at the
lunar site; and December 19, 1972, for the spacecraft re-entry date.
The medal is serial-numbered F44 incuse on the edge.
With Apollo 17 being the last of the lunar manned missions, NASA
planned for an ambitious schedule. According to a brief history of the
flight at www.nasa.gov, “The lunar landing site was the Taurus-Littrow
highlands and valley area. This site was picked for Apollo 17 as a
location where rocks both older and younger than those previously
returned from other Apollo missions, as well as from Luna 16 and 20
missions, might be found.”
According to NASA, “Scientific objectives of the Apollo 17 mission
included, geological surveying and sampling of materials and surface
features in a preselected area of the Taurus-Littrow region; deploying
and activating surface experiments; and conducting in-flight
experiments and photographic tasks during lunar orbit and transearth coast.”
The mission’s several firsts included the first night launch. The
exhaust from the Saturn V rocket carrying the astronauts into space
lit up the night sky and was visible for long distances. Also a first:
“Apollo 17 hosted the first scientist-astronaut to land on the moon:
Harrison Schmitt.” Schmitt held a doctorate in geology, studying at
universities in the United States and Norway. He trained other Apollo
astronauts assigned to lunar missions before beginning his training
for his own mission.