Collins Apollo 11 Robbins medal coming to auction
- Published: May 23, 2017, 6 AM
The .925 fine silver Robbins medal astronaut Michael Collins carried aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft in 1969 will cross the auction block in a June 14 sale by RR Auction.
The medal, graded and encapsulated Mint State 67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., carries an estimate of $30,000+, according to the auction house.
Last minted in 1909, Indian Head cent still a collector favorite: Our first monthly issue of the summer is rich with Indian Head cent insights, along with “State quarters” for world coin collectors — a fascinating contrast.
The 822-lot sale also includes among its highlights a space-flown sterling silver Apollo 10 Robbins medal from the collection of astronaut John Young; Young’s space-flown Robbins medal carried aboard the Apollo 16 spacecraft; and an unflown Apollo 13 Franklin Mint medal from the collection of astronaut James Lovell.
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.
The obverse of Collins’ medal depicts the Apollo 11 mission insignia depicting an eagle landing on the moon’s surface while carrying an olive branch in its beak.
The reverse is engraved with the surnames of Collins and mission colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, along with the July 16, 1969, launch date; July 20, 1969, moon landing date; and July 24, 1969, return date. The medal is serial numbered 31.
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Of the 450 28-millimeter medals struck, 440 were carried aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
Collins served the mission as its command module pilot.
Apollo 10, 16
Young’s Apollo 10 Robbins medal, measuring 29 millimeters by 31 millimeters, bears serial number 104.
All 300 medals struck for the mission were carried aboard the spacecraft.
The medal’s obverse depicts the Apollo 10 insignia and bears the surnames of Young, command pilot Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan.
The insignia’s “three-dimensional Roman numeral X identified the mission and gave the effect of sitting on the Moon. The CM circled the Moon as the LM [lunar module] made its low pass over the surface, with the Earth in the background. Although Apollo 10 did not land, the prominence of the X indicated the mission would make a significant contribution to the Apollo program.”
In addition to the engraved serial number on the reverse, also engraved are the dates of the mission, May 18–26, 1969.
The medal has an estimate of $5,000+.
Young’s 35-millimeter Apollo 16 medal is much rarer than the Apollo 10 medal, and carries an estimate of $14,000+.
The medal’s obverse features the Apollo 16 mission insignia surrounded by the surnames of Young and fellow astronauts Charles M. Duke Jr. and Thomas Kenneth Mattingly II .
The Apollo 16 medal’s obverse features an eagle perched atop a striped shield, with a NASA vector crossing the shield while orbiting the Moon. Sixteen stars, representing the mission number, appear around the border with the crew surnames.
The reverse is engraved with the April 16, 1972, launch date; April 20, 1972, landing date; and April 27, 1972, return date. The medal is serial numbered 45 on the edge.
Only 98 of the 300 medals struck were space-flown.
The Franklin Mint produced only 200 of the .925 fine silver Proof medals from 1970 recognizing the Apollo 13 mission.
Lovell’s 38.1-millimeter medal is graded and encapsulated NGC Proof 65 Ultra Cameo. The medal is identified as example 32.
The Apollo 13 insignia appears on the medal’s obverse, with the names of the mission’s astronauts — Thomas K. Mattingly, James A Lovell Jr., and Fred W. Hass Jr. — around the spacecraft Odyssey and Aquarius.
On the obverse, according to NASA.gov, “Apollo, the sun god of Greek mythology, was represented as the sun, with three horses driving his chariot across the surface of the Moon, symbolizing how the Apollo flights have extended the light of knowledge to all mankind. The Latin phrase ‘Ex Luna, Scientia’ means ‘From the Moon, Knowledge.’ ”
The estimate is $500+.
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