US Coins

Space medal struck from treasure wreck silver

An Apollo 15 Robbins medal struck using metal from a 1715 Silver Plate Fleet silver bar flown aboard the 1971 space mission is coming to auction by RR Auction. Bidding opens April 13 and closes April 20.

Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott carried aboard the spacecraft in his Personal Preference Kit a nearly 1-kilogram silver bar that had been salvaged from the 1715 Silver Plate Fleet, which sunk off the Florida coast. Silver from the space-flown bar was used in the production of medals marking the Apollo 15 mission.

The medal in the auction is numbered 143.

Among other space exploration and aviation medals in the 487-lot sale is a space-flown Apollo 16 medal gifted to Apollo 12 and Skylab 3 astronaut Alan Bean and a 1929 porcelain medal honoring the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin.

Apollo 15 Spanish Plate Fleet medal

At least 20 percent of the composition of the medal is from the treasure-wreck silver bar that was flown aboard the Apollo 15 mission from July 26 to Aug. 7, 1971. The medal was consigned by Scott.

According to the auction lot description, “Prior to the mission, 304 medallions were struck [but due to weight limitations only 127 were carried on the flight]. ... After the mission the Robbins Company restruck the 177 medallions that had not flown and included the flown Spanish silver bar in the mix. ... This Apollo 15 medallion serial number '143' has been in my [Scott's] personal collection since the mission.”

The Apollo 15 medal carries an estimate of $3,000+

Apollo 16 Bean medal

The 31.75-millimeter Apollo 16 medal, numbered 82 incuse on the edge, was carried aboard the Apollo 16 flight to the moon in April 1972.

The Apollo 16 flight crew comprised astronauts John W. Young, Thomas Kenneth Mattingly II, and Charles Duke Jr.

The medal was gifted to by the Apollo 16 crew to Bean.

According to Bean, in an extensive provenance letter accompanying the lot, “I hereby certify that this silver Apollo 16 Robbins medallion, #82 flew to the moon with the Apollo 16 crew in April 1972. This medallion was transfered [sic] to their lunar module which landed in the Descartes region of the moon on April 20, 1972. It remained inside the ‘Orion’ until liftoff on April 23rd.”

The Bean medal is one of 98 examples that were carried aboard the Apollo 16 spacecraft.

Graf Zeppelin porcelain medal

With an estimate of $400+, the 1929 porcelain medal honoring the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin airship is one of only 100 such medals produced by the Meizzen Porzellan Manufacture from Dresden, Saxony, in Germany.

The medal measures approximately 45 millimeters in diameter.

The obverse design captures the flight of the Graf Zeppelin with the Western Hemisphere in the background, while the reverse design depicts the flight with the Eastern Hemisphere in the background.

Community Comments