Final Push Coming for Apollo 11 Commemoratives
H.R. 2726, introduced last year by Rep. Bill Posey (R- FL), and its companion bill, S. 2957, introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D- FL) on May 19, are known as the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act.
The House bill already has enough co-sponsors (298) to put the bill to a vote on the House floor, which is expected not long after the Congress comes back after Tuesday’s presidential election, and it should pass.
The Senate bill currently only has 11 co-sponsors, but if the House bill passes, that will put the matter in the hands of the Senate.
Momentum has been building steadily all year for the legislation that calls for issuing four coins in 2019, the usual trio of a clad half, silver dollar, and $5 gold coin, plus the first-ever 5-oz. proof coin. And each coin would be struck in the concave/convex shape used for the 2014 baseball coins.
There is strong interest in the collecting community for these coins, and many collectors have contacted their congressional representatives asking them to support the legislation.
But if the Senate is not able to muster 67 co-sponsors, there will be no vote this year, and the bill will die at the end of the 104th Congress in December.
Next year the new Congress will have its hands full with the start of a new administration, which means many presidential appointments to consider and many other matters besides coins.
Michael Olson, a former CCAC member who suggested these coins be issued when he served on the committee, has worked since 2014 to promote the program.
He told me this week he is still cautiously optimistic about the Senate and that astronauts Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin have both sent letters to the Senate in support of the bill. Others in the space community have also expressed strong support.
In addition, the Astronaut Memorial Foundation and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which are among the groups that would receive any surcharges from the sale of the coins, are both traveling to Washington, DC this month to meet with senators.
It is important that we not lose this opportunity since the bills may not be reintroduced in the next Congress if they are not passed in the current one.
So please contact your Senator, if you have not already done so, and promote the program with social media.
Here is what Buzz Aldrin said in his Nov. 1 letter, which you may find useful when contacting your Senator:
“As we quickly approach the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, I urge you to recognize this incredible achievement by cosponsoring the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. Almost five decades ago, our Nation took bold steps to achieve President Kennedy’s challenge and mobilized the country to achieve his vision, “to go to the Moon in this decade…” Eight years following Alan Shepard’s extraordinary accomplishment - being the first American to travel into space - our Nation landed Neil Armstrong and me on the lunar surface. We remain the only country that has ever landed humans on the Moon and returned them safely to Earth.
The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin celebrates American ingenuity and our spirit of space exploration. Moreover, these coins will support college scholarships for future scientists, engineers and astronauts; benefit the National Air and Space Museum’s new “Destination Moon” exhibit; and honor astronauts who have fallen in the line of duty.
These coins pay tribute to our Nation’s resolve, the hundreds of thousands of Americans who contributed to Apollo’s success, and our remarkable ability to accomplish a truly amazing technological feat. I encourage you to support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to commemorate 50 years since the Eagle landed in the Sea of Tranquility, an event that defined the United States of America as the greatest space faring nation on Earth.”