Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Coin Wins 2021 Coin of the Year Award

By Office of Corporate Communications
March 9, 2021

Watch this video to learn more about the 2021 Coin of the Year that was part of the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program.


The United States Mint earned top honors and international recognition at the 2021 Coin of the Year (COTY) international awards competition. The 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Five Ounce Proof Silver Coin was named the 2021 Coin of the Year! The coin also won in two categories for Best Silver Coin and Best Contemporary Event Coin.

The Coin of the Year Award, which began in 1984, is considered one of the most prestigious awards amongst mints worldwide. Each year, an international panel of judges selects winners from ten categories focused on aesthetic and commercial appeal, commemoration, inspiration, and innovation. A primary winner is then selected from the ten category winners, earning the grand title of Coin of the Year.

The U.S. Mint was proud to be a part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon by NASA’s Apollo 11 crew. The four-coin program included a curved gold coin, a curved silver coin, a curved clad coin, and a curved five ounce silver proof coin. The five ounce silver proof coin was the Mint’s first curved five ounce silver coin, and represented a special achievement in the Mint’s technical capabilities.

The obverse (heads) was designed by artist Gary Cooper, whose design for the coin was selected through a public design competition. It was sculpted by Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna. The obverse design features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI,” and “APOLLO,” separated by phases of the Moon, and a footprint on the lunar surface. Together they represent the efforts of the U.S. space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing on July 20, 1969.

The reverse (tails) design features a representation of a close-up of the famous “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph that shows the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The reflection in Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. The reverse was designed and sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill, in consultation with NASA.

Surcharges from the sale of these coins were authorized to be paid to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for their respective missions, including education and promotion of space exploration.

Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Five Ounce Silver Proof Coin obverse and reverse
Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Five Ounce Silver Proof Coin

See more Inside the Mint articles.

Content last updated on