US Coins

Space-flown medals in RR Auction offering

A sterling silver Robbins medal that traveled aboard the Apollo 10 spacecraft in a “dress rehearsal” mission for the Apollo 11 moon landing is featured in an RR Auction offering closing April 19.

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Part of the collection of Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, the 1.25-inch by 1.25-inch shield-shaped medal’s sale will benefit the Stafford Air and Space Museum Foundation expansion fund.

The Apollo 10 mission carried Stafford as mission commander, Eugene A. Cernan as lunar module pilot and astronaut John W. Young as command module pilot.

The medal’s obverse bears the mission insignia encircled by the crewmembers’ surnames. The reverse is engraved with the mission dates as MAY 18–26, 1969, and is serial numbered 95. The medal is one of 300 medals flown in orbit around the moon on Apollo 10.

Stafford's medal stayed with Young aboard the command module Charlie Brown as Young became the first human to fly solo around the moon while Stafford and Cernan flew the lunar module Snoopy to within 9.7 miles of the lunar surface. The medal has the distinction of being along as a Guinness World Record was set — on its return from the moon, Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle: 24,791 miles per hour, or Mach 36.

The medal carries an estimate of $10,000+.

Gemini 6 gold-plated medal

Also offered from Stafford’s collection is a 1-inch diameter gold-plated Fliteline medal featuring a raised obverse design of the Gemini 6 mission insignia, and a reverse engraved with the mission dates DECEMBER 15–16, 1965, as well as GT-GT-6 and the rim marked E.

According to the auction lot description, “of the few examples that traveled with Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford on the Gemini 6 mission—which achieved the first manned rendezvous with another spacecraft, its sister Gemini 7 capsule—only 10 were gold-plated, with the balance minted in silver.”

The estimate is $2,000+.


The first joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. space mission is commemorated on an unflown Apollo-Soyuz Robbins medal, 1.25 inches in diameter with mission insignia on the obverse and astronauts names in both English and Cyrillic. The reverse is engraved with the mission launch and entry dates and serial numbered 155.

According to the auction lot description, “The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project marked the first joint US-Soviet space flight, and culminated in the docking of an Apollo Command/Service Module with the Soviet Soyuz 19 on July 17, 1975. The first space mission to be televised live during the launch, while in space, and during the landing, the ASTP promptly ended the Space Race and did much to assuage tensions between the two Cold War superpowers—the event was hailed by both sides as ‘a political act of peace’ which ended the Cold War human space race. Additionally, ASTP represents the only space flight for original Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton.”

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