The world eagerly watched on July 20, 1969, as Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin, Jr. took mankind’s first steps on the Moon. This unprecedented engineering, scientific, and political achievement was the culmination of the efforts of an estimated 400,000 Americans and secured our Nation’s leadership in space for generations to come. The Apollo 11 crew—Armstrong, Aldrin, and Michael Collins—safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, fulfilling the national goal set in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Nearly half a century later, the United States is the only country ever to have attempted and succeeded in landing humans on a celestial body other than Earth and safely returning them home.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon, Public Law 114-282 authorizes a four-coin program: a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coin.
About the Competition
As required by the Public Law, the Mint invited American artists to design a common obverse image that is emblematic of the United States Space Program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. The Secretary of the Treasury selected the design from a juried competition. Gary Cooper of Belfast, Maine, created the winning design in the Apollo 11 Commemorative Coin Design Competition.
About the Coins
Prices for the coins include surcharges of $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin, $5 for each half dollar clad coin and $50 for each five ounce proof silver dollar coin, which the law authorizes to be paid as follows:
- one-half to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit,
- one-quarter to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and
- one-quarter to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
In honor of the upcoming Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coin collection, we’re launching a new game on the U.S. Mint Kids site, Space Supply. In this game you will deliver critical supplies to the Space Colonies across our solar system while dodging space debris, asteroids, and UFOs.
Coins in Space
Did you know that there are coins currently in outer space? Two of our state quarters, Maryland and Florida, are on NASA’s New Horizons mission exploring Pluto, its moons, and the Kuiper Belt – the farthest spacecraft flyby in history.
NASA Lesson Plans
NASA provides free educational resources about the U.S. space program and its explorations. Below are some interesting lesson plans in PDF format that explore moon and Apollo 11 related topics. Find additional education resources on NASA’s Educators Page.
- Moon ABCs Fact Sheet (Grades 4-12): Learn fun facts about comparisons of Earth and the moon, including “Brain Busters”, or questions designed to stimulate deeper thinking.
- Diameter of the Moon (Grades 4-12): Learn to calculate the diameter of the moon using proportions.
- Lunar Landing Sites (Grades 4-12): Plan a mission to the moon, including designing a space craft and choosing a suitable lunar landing site, and share their ideas.
- Impact Craters (Grades 4-12): Recreate a lunar surface using flour, baking soda, and cornmeal, and drop impacts such as marbles at various heights to understand how certain factors, including size, velocity, and geology, impact how craters are formed.
U.S. Mint Lesson Plans
- Many Happy Returns (Grade 4): Make connections between the past and present by comparing the journey of Lewis and Clark with the space flight of Apollo 11.
- Distinguished Discoveries (Grades 4-6): Analyze the importance of discoveries, including the U.S. space program, and research, compare, and contrast two discoveries.
- Exploration Across Eras (Grades 9-12): Research and write a persuasive essay that discusses the similarities between the Corps of Discovery and the space program.