What’s Your Inspiration?

By Heather Sabharwal
May 9, 2017

Apollo 11 mission patch with eagle landing on the moon
The distinctive Apollo 11 mission patch was designed by the crew.

When it comes to coin design, inspiration can take many forms. From historical documentation to personal experiences, United States Mint artists draw upon many things to ultimately express the values, aspirations and shared heritage of our Nation.

July 20, 1969 was an especially inspiring day for the world, as more than half a billion people watched American astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon. Almost 50 years later, the U.S. Mint is asking artists to channel that monumental moment, and the years of hard work leading up to it, as inspiration to design the obverse (heads side) of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin.

April Stafford posed in front of a wall of coin art
April Stafford heads the Mint’s Office of Design Management, which works with artists.

A public coin design competition calls for artists 18 years or older to design an image emblematic of the U.S. space program leading up to the first manned moon landing. When it comes to commemorating such a pivotal moment in world history and conveying it on a coin, there are many sources from which artists may find inspiration: photographs, video and audio are natural references. Memories of watching the landing on television or recollecting when the story of Apollo 11 was first shared – from a teacher, a parent or a space enthusiast – can all be tapped for this exciting subject matter.

“The success of Apollo 11 almost 50 years ago not only evokes pride, but also a sense of optimism for all Americans. It represents the possible,” shared April Stafford, who heads the Office of Design Management at the U.S. Mint and who oversees the public design competition. “There is a lot to be inspired by when you think back on the American space program, what we achieved as a nation and what’s to come in the future. We can’t wait to see what the artists create.”

The public competition for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program is open through June 29, 2017.



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