Act Now to Make Apollo 11 Coins a Reality
Last year Rep. Bill Posey (R- FL) introduced a bill, H.R. 2726, calling for the issuance in 2019 of a series of four coins honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, one of the greatest achievements of our country and of mankind. The coins include the usual three-coin set of a silver dollar, clad half dollar, and $5 gold coin plus a first for the modern commemorative program, a proof 5-ounce silver coin struck in the concave/convex shape used for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins.
Last June Steve Roach explained in Coin World what this proposed coin program would include.
This program was first recommended in 2014 during a meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, when Mike Olson made a motion for it that received a unanimous vote, and the proposal again received a unanimous vote in 2015.
Since his term on the CCAC ended in 2014, Mr. Olson, an Iowa banker and former Army National Guard Lt. Colonel, has been working to promote this program, including meeting with members of congress from states that participated in the massive effort to land on the moon such as Florida, Texas, California, and Alabama. He was last on Capitol Hill a couple weeks ago.
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There is a lot of interest in these coins because of the huge significance of the event and the fact that it has never been commemorated on a U.S. coin, yet many world mints have already issued such coins.
To date H.R. 2726 has 63 co-sponsors, but it needs 290 to move the legislation forward. So far most of those who have signed onto the bill come from the same states mentioned above. In addition, a companion Senate bill has not yet been introduced.
If the bill does not pass both houses by the end of the year, it will expire, and those who care about this program will have to start all over again.
That is why time is really of the essence and why any collectors that want to see these coins issued should do what Mr. Olson recommended:
Here is what coin collectors can do to make a difference and win the support of their members of Congress. First, go to this link and see if your representative has cosponsored H.R. 2726.
If their representative is not listed as a cosponsor, collectors should research contributions that companies or universities in their congressional district made or continue to make to the space program. Almost every state had some involvement in the Apollo program, which was by design to ensure widespread support for this massive fiscal and human undertaking. With involvement now by the coin collecting community, this can also serve to generate pivotal support for H.R. 2726. For example, Rockwell Collins, an Iowa company, played a key role by producing the radios that communicated between the earth and moon.
The next step is to contact their representative's office in Washington DC via phone or email. You can find your representative’s contact information here. I suggest calling the Washington DC office of your representative and asking to speak to the legislative director. If they are unavailable, leave a message and ask for their email address in order to also send them some information, making sure to specifically reference H.R. 2726. Let them know about the key role that constituents in their district made to the space program, the enthusiasm in the numismatic community regarding this particular set of coins, and the fact that over 60 of their colleagues have cosponsored this legislation already. It would also be important to mention the worthy organizations which would receive surcharges from the sale of these coins: the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum's "Destination Moon" exhibit; the Astronauts Memorial Foundation; and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to aid its missions by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).
Dieter Jobe with Congressman Posey's office can also be contacted for those with questions on how they can support this legislation. His contact information is: Dieter.Jobe@mail.house.gov; (202)-225-3603.
In addition to contacting their Congressman, collectors should also contact both of their Senators, who can be found by following this link.
There is currently not a bill in the Senate, however I am very hopeful and optimistic that a bill will emerge and making these contacts now will serve to generate interest and support that will be needed later.
If collectors want to see this happen, they need to act NOW, and get their friends and neighbors engaged. It is very time intensive to get a commemorative coin proposal to this point and if this does not get passed by both houses before the end of the session this year, we will have to start over. We only have one chance in our lifetimes to honor the Apollo 11 lunar landing on a significant anniversary and we owe it to the astronauts and the people who made it possible to complete this mission.