US Coins

Private minter proposes circulating Astronaut dollar

With the Presidential dollar coin program ending its 10-year run in 2016, private minter Daniel Carr proposes a circulating dollar for 2019 to mark the golden anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon.

Prototype dollars have been overstruck by Carr at his Moonlight Mint in Loveland, Colo., on assorted Presidential and Sacagawea dollars obtained from a local bank.

Carr currently offers examples of his prototype dollars for sale at $30 each here

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“There is currently a bill pending in Congress, H.R. 2726, to authorize the production of 2019 coins to commemorative the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” Carr notes. “However, this legislation mandates that such coins be minted only for coin collectors and they will be sold to them at amounts greater than the face value. This will greatly reduce the quantity of people that will actually see the coins.

“A limited commemorative coin program is too small in scope for such a monumental achievement. What this really deserves is circulating coinage so that everyone can see it.”

Proposed designs

Carr’s proposed obverse design for an Astronaut dollar depicts an astronaut holding an American flag while standing on the lunar surface. In the field are 13 five-pointed stars — seven left and six right — with the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, in the background, right.

Carr’s designer’s initials, DC, appear below the astronaut.

The letter D appears in the field to the right of the module. Earth — 230,100 miles from the Moon — is in the upper left field, below the B in LIBERTY.

The D is a symbolic Denver Mint mark for the purpose of showing where any Mint mark could go in the design.

Also on the obverse is the date, 2019, and motto, IN GOD WE TRUST.

The reverse depicts an eagle soaring above the sunrise, the 11 major rays paying homage to the Apollo 11 mission.

Inscribed are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination as $1.

Due to the overstriking process, Carr said, the diameter of the prototypes is slightly larger, 27 millimeters, than the 26.5 millimeters of the undertype manganese-brass clad Presidential and Sacagawea dollars. Carr also employed a reeded edge collar die for the overstruck prototypes.

The struck dollar coins serving as planchets had plain edges before being overstruck with the reeded edge dies.

Because of the enlarged diameter and the reeded edge, the overstruck pieces will be rejected by vending and counting machines, Carr said.

There will also be some evidence remaining of the underlying Presidential or Sacagawea dollar designs, Carr said.

Carr illustrated additional examples on the Collectors Society message board of Numismatic Guaranty Corp. here.

Brilliant Satin Finish

The overstruck prototypes have been so far executed only with a Brilliant Satin Finish.

“The significant differences between the underlying design and over-strike design preclude the possibility of high-quality Proofs,” Carr said.

“I probably won’t produce a Proof version because I would have to create a second pair of dies and strike on virgin blanks to do that. As such, I would have to alter the design so as to make it look less like legal tender, for example, removing the ‘$1,’” Carr said.

Carr said May 2 he had not decided how many examples of the overstruck prototype dollars he will make nor how long they will be available to collectors.

“I might make up to 500 maximum, but no more than that,” Carr said. “The present mintage stands at 178, but I will be producing another small run in a day or two. The mintage figures are quickly updated whenever I make a production run. I post those figures at

“I have also produced 19 examples over-struck on [copper-nickel-clad] Susan B. Anthony dollars. That composition actually works better for over-striking than the current ‘golden’ dollar composition. The 19 SBA pieces were test strikes and I am not offering those at present, however.”

The Anthony dollars already had a reeded edge, as originally produced at a U.S. Mint production facility.

Earlier proposal

Carr proposed similar Astronaut and Eagle designs in 1998 when the Dollar Coin Advisory Committee was considering proposed designs for the 2000 dollar, from which the Sacagawea design was chosen.

Carr's was one of seven design finalists considered for the Eagle reverse of the Sacagawea dollar.

Carr was subsequently asked by the U.S. Mint to submit designs for the five State quarter dollars for 2001, resulting in his designs being selected to the New York and Rhode Island quarter dollars.

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