US Coins

Apollo 11 coins head to International Space Station

Mint Director David J. Ryder lived up to a promise he made Dec. 13 during a first strike ceremony at the Philadelphia Mint for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coin program — to actually put examples of the coins into space.

Two Proof 2019-S Apollo 11 50th Anniversary copper-nickel clad half dollars were launched into space at 3:14 p.m. Eastern Time on Pi Day, March 14, as part of the payload aboard the Soyuz MS-12 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.

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Soyuz MS-12 is a Soyuz spaceflight carrying three members of the Expedition 59 crew to the International Space Station. The three comprise the commander, Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin, and NASA flight engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch. 

Public displays

After the coins are returned to Earth, one will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum and one at U.S. Mint headquarters, both in Washington, D.C.

The mission will feature NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch taking the first all-female spacewalk.

Sam Scimemi, director for the International Space Station at NASA headquarters, displayed the two coins being sent into space at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation on Feb. 18. The foundation is one of the three legislated beneficiaries to receive net surcharges from the sales of the commemorative coins after the U.S. Mint recoups all of its production and associated costs.

The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coins are all struck with a concave obverse and convex reverse.

The Proof and Uncirculated gold $5 coins are struck at the West Point Mint. The Proof and Uncirculated 1.5-inch silver dollars and 3-inch, 5-ounce silver dollar are struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

The Uncirculated half dollar is struck at the Denver Mint and the Proof half dollar at the San Francisco Mint.

At the Dec. 13 first strike ceremony in Philadelphia, dignitaries and other invited guests participated in the striking of the Proof versions of the 1.5-inch and the 3-inch silver dollars. 

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