US Coins

Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 medal sells in May 25 auction

One of an undisclosed number of space-flown Apollo 11 Robbins medals obtained by astronaut Buzz Aldrin sold May 25 in a Nate D. Sanders Auctions sale for $34,375.

The price realized includes the 25 percent buyer's fee added to the final closing hammer price.

Legitimate gold coin resistance from the U.S. MintGold coin resistance at U.S. Mint and a deceptive but detectable counterfeit Indian Head cent: Another column in the June 12 Coin World details the discovery of what seemed to be a rare 1917 French Indo-China 10-cent piece.

The unnamed consignor of the sterling silver Robbins medal is reported to have received the medal directly from Aldrin.

The 28-millimeter medal from the Sanders auction depicts on its obverse the Apollo 11 insignia featuring APOLLO 11 inscribed above and an eagle with an olive branch in its beak landing on the surface of the Moon, with the Earth illustrated in the distance. The medal's reverse is inscribed around with the surnames of the Moon-landing mission's astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Aldrin. Collins designed the Apollo 11 insignia.

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Engraved on the reverse on raised, horizontal tablets are the dates of the launch, July 16, 1969; landing, July 20, 1969; and return, July 24, 1969.

The serial number 60 is engraved in the field just below the tablet bearing the landing date.

According to Space Flown Artifacts, Robbins medals “have been produced for, and flown on, every manned U.S. mission since Apollo 7. Minted by the Robbins Company, of Attleboro, Mass., the sterling silver medallions for each mission were paid for by the crews and available for purchase only by NASA astronauts at the time.”

Between 255 and 450 Robbins medallions were minted for each Apollo mission. The medallions for the first few flights were struck with blank space on the reverse for the launch and return dates to be added post-flight. For the moon landing missions three blank fields were included for the launch, lunar landing, and return dates.

Of the 450 medals struck for the Apollo 11 mission, 440 were carried aboard the spacecraft.

Prior to the Apollo 7 mission, astronauts sometimes took with them on their flights various souvenirs, including coins and paper money. Those items also appear at auction periodically.

Other Aldrin Apollo 11 medals

Several other examples of the Apollo 11 Robbins medal also previously owned by Aldrin have sold at auction.

Heritage Auctions sold one Sept. 20, 2007, serial numbered 350, and another on Oct. 8, 2009, numbered 343.

Another, number 51, sold in Heritage’s Nov. 12, 2014, sale.

Medal number 126 previously owned by Aldrin sold in a RR Auction sale. RR Auction has sold a number of the Apollo 11 Robbins medals.

Another sold in a May 19, 2013, eBay auction.

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