Philadelphia Mint issued first few strikes of Proof silver dollars to commemorate the Apollo 11 50th anniversary on 13th of December.
There were lots of honored guests invited who helped to strike the first samples of the typical silver dollar. After they struck the dollars, they put it into envelopes. People who were involved in the process of creating of those sample 3-inch and 5 oz dollars will be able to purchase it when the official sales for this program start – on 24th of January at 12 PM EST.
The honored guests of this event were the children and relatives of three Apollo 11 astronauts: Andy the son of Buzz Aldrin, Mark the son of Neil Armstrong, and Ann the daughter of Michael Collins. Also, they stuck the silver coin with David Ryder – the US Mint Director.
Both of these dollars are unique in the history of US commemorative coin program. It is the fist 5 oz silver dollar of that nominal. Also, 1.5” silver dollar is the only one to be struck on a .999 fine silver planchet, while all the others were struck on a .900 same planchet.
The 3” silver dollar will be a special edition of 100K coins, and 1.5” coin’s edition will be at its maximum 400K coins in both Proof and Uncirculated versions.
David Ryder told that there is no precise information regarding the prices of Proof 5 oz silver dollars, but the approximate amount will be at a higher end of $200.
The 50 cents coins covered with copper and nickel have the issue of 750,000 and both Proof and Uncirculated coins. At the same time the gold $5 coin is limited to 50,000 pieces.
Each and every coin is forged with a concave obverse and convex reverse. The obverse, was developed by Gary Cooper who won an open design contest. The mint sculpture was made by US Mint sculptor Joseph Menna. The design of the other side was made by US Mint sculptor Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse has an engraved picture of the footprint on the terrain of the Moon. The reverse has an engraved picture of the well-known photography of Buzz Aldrin on the Moon with shadows and part of the Buzz’s helmet with the reflection that shows Neil Armstrong and the US Flag. The original picture was taken on the 20th of July in 1969.
The preparation of this design took a lot of time, due to a great amount of details and shadows needed to be engraved. It was really hard to work on curved features. The first design was developed for 3” coins and then they worked on the coin of a smaller size.
Each and every side of the coin were individually engraved on CNC machines and perfected by hands, which makes each coin almost unique.
If all the coins from this program are sold, it will provide $14 million for the donation to Smithsonian Institution Air and Space Museum (50% of the revenue), and then 25% to both the Astronauts Memorial Foundation and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.