2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Design Competition

“…this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.”–President John F. Kennedy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Design Competition?

  • The authorizing law, the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, requires the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a 4-coin series in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon. The Act also requires a competition be held to select a winning obverse coin design emblematic of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing.
  • A single winner’s design will be selected for the common obverse of the coin.
  • The competition will be operated in two phases, described below.

Why are these coins being minted?

  • Congress authorized and President Obama signed into law the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 114-282) “in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon.”
  • Three recipient organizations, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, are authorized to receive the surcharges from the sale of the coins ($35 per gold coin, $10 per silver coin, $5 per clad coin and $50 per 5 ounce silver proof), which will be used for various space-related purposes.
  • In addition to the other requirements, the United States Mint must recover all numismatic and program costs allocated to the program before releasing surcharge funds to the recipient organization.

Who in Congress sponsored the law?

  • The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act was introduced by Bill Posey, United States Representative for Florida’s 8th Congressional district.

Who is paying for this program?

  • As with all commemorative coin programs, which by law must be self-sustaining, the United States Mint will operate the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program, including the design competition, at no cost to taxpayers.

Who may participate in the coin design competition?

  • The competition is open to United States citizens and permanent residents who are 18 years of age and older.
  • No submissions will be accepted from United States Mint or Treasury Department employees, members of the judging panel, or family members of these individuals.

Is this like the Breast Cancer Awareness Coin Design Competition?

  • Like the recent Breast Cancer Awareness Coin Design Competition, the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act requires a public competition for the design of the coin.
  • Unlike the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act, the legislation for this program does not require artists to submit coin designs for both the obverse and reverse of the coin; but rather only the common obverse, which will be depicted on all four coins. Artists are to submit designs via two-dimensional sample and are not required to submit physical models models (nor will physical models be accepted). Considering the amount of work required from the artists, the Mint has structured this competition in two phases, with financial consideration provided to the artists participating in Phase Two.
  • Also unlike the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act, the legislation for this program requires that the coins be curved in a fashion similar to the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary Commemorative Coin. The common obverse of the coins, the design of which is subject to this competition, will be concave.

What about the reverse of the coin?

  • The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act requires that the design for the common reverse of the coins be a representation of a close-up of the famous “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, that shows just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, including the reflection of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. The reverse design will be developed within the United States Mint and is not part of this competition. The reverse of the coin will be convex.

What are the phases of the competition?

  • The 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Design Competition will proceed in two phases.
  • In Phase One, artists will submit three to five samples of their artwork along with general contact information using an online entry form at usmint.gov/competition. These portfolios will be evaluated by the expert jury. From the pool of applicants, the expert jury will choose no more than 20 artists to participate in Phase Two.
  • In Phase Two, artists will be required to submit a design for the common obverse of the coin. This design must be submitted as a digital design. These designs will be reviewed by the entire Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the United States Commission of Fine Arts and then evaluated by the same expert jury from Phase One to ultimately recommend a winner to the Secretary of the Treasury for selection.
  • The law requires that the winning design (obverse) be created by a single artist.
  • Each artist invited to participate in Phase Two of this competition will be paid $500 for his or her submission.

What types of work samples should go into the portfolio?

  • Artists should submit works that display their suitability for this competition. Work samples will be evaluated using the following criteria:
    • Demonstration of ability to convey complex concepts with symbolism
    • Masterful application of ingenuity in interpreting the subject matter and conveying its theme
    • Demonstration that the artist is adaptable to different subject matters and themes
    • Demonstration of ability to render figures, portraits, animals, or landscapes with the use of perspective and scale

Why is this competition broken into two phases?

  • The competition requires artists to submit designs for the obverse of the coin in digital form. By utilizing a two-phase program, the Mint allows artists to demonstrate their interest in the competition without expending significant time and effort. During Phase One, artists will submit three to five original work samples. From this pool of artists, the expert jury can select up to 20 artists it believes will be the most successful in the competition. In Phase Two, these artists will create a design for the coin. Because of the demands placed on the artists who proceed to Phase II, the Mint will be paying a fee of $500 for the designs.

Where can the public find more information about the competition?

Who will be judging the competition?

  • Entries from both Phase One and Phase Two will be evaluated by an expert jury composed of three members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and three members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). The jury will be chaired by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget, Department of the Treasury.
  • All eligible designs submitted in Phase Two will be reviewed by the CCAC and CFA in public meetings.
  • Following that review, the expert jury will reconvene, review the comments from the CCAC and CFA, and recommend a winner to the Secretary of the Treasury for selection.
  • Subject matter experts will be available to advise the expert jury during the judging process.
  • The expert jury may recommend edits to the winning design, which will be incorporated by the winning artist and/or the United States Mint Sculptor-Engravers.
  • The final obverse design of the coin will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury based on the winning design selected by the expert jury, and any of the expert jury’s recommended edits.

What are the specific guidelines for Phase One of the competition?

  • Artists must upload three to five original work samples to usmint.gov.
  • These may be digital designs or photographs of prior work.
  • No physical artwork will be accepted in Phase One, but photographs of physical artwork are acceptable.
  • Artists must certify that they are United States citizens or permanent residents and are 18 years of age or older.

For a complete listing of the rules and requirements for Phase One of the competition and the competition in its entirety, please see the Official Rules.

Are plasters required for Phase Two?

  • No, plasters or any other physical model are not required, nor will they be accepted, for the Phase Two entry. Entries must consist of electronic designs.

What are the specific guidelines for the designs submitted in Phase Two of the competition?

  • Artists invited to participate in Phase Two must submit a two-dimensional digital design for the common obverse of the coin.
  • The design must be emblematic of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing.
  • The design must contain the inscriptions “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “2019.”
  • Designs may not include the name or depiction of any living person, including an astronaut, even with permission. (Please note that the reverse design, described above, is permitted to depict a living person because it was so legislated by Congress).
  • Designs may not include names, emblems, logos, trademarks, or other intellectual property associated with any specific government, commercial, or private organization.
  • Designs must be the artist’s own original artwork and not include the artist’s name, initials, logo, mark, or other identifier anywhere on the design.

For a complete listing of the rules and requirements for Phase One of the competition and the competition in its entirety, please see the Official Rules.

How do I enter the competition?

How long will the competition run?

  • The United States Mint will begin accepting submissions for Phase One of the competition on May 1, 2017. The competition will remain open through June 29, 2017, though the Mint reserves the right to end the acceptance of submissions early if 1,000 entries are received.
  • Artists selected to participate in Phase Two will be notified on or about July 31, 2017. All Phase Two submissions must be received by the United States Mint by September 8, 2017.

What will winners receive?

  • The winner of the design competition will receive $5,000.
  • The winner’s initials will appear on the minted coins.
  • The winner may be invited to attend a ceremony where the winning design will be unveiled and the winning design will be showcased on mintdev.lmsolas.com.

When and where will the unveiling occur?

  • A final decision on the date and place of the unveiling has not yet been made.

Where do I find the rules for the competition?

How much will the coins cost?

  • The price has not yet been set for the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coins.

Who decides what commemorative coins are minted?

  • Congress authorizes commemorative coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events, and institutions. Although these coins are legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation. Each commemorative coin is produced by the United States Mint in limited quantity and is available only for a limited time.
  • As well as commemorating important aspects of American history and culture, commemorative coins help raise money for important causes identified in the authorizing legislation.
  • Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, the United States Mint has raised more than $506,000,000 in surcharges to help build new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial, preserve historical sites like George Washington’s home, support various Olympic programs, support organizations such as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and many more.
  • Part of the price of commemorative coins is a surcharge that is authorized by law for organizations and projects that benefit the community.
  • The three organizations designated to receive surcharges on the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program are: the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit (50% of surcharges), the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (25% of surcharges) and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (25% of surcharges).

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