The man on the moon arrived fifty years ago and Cameroon celebrates with a silver coin

A defining moment in human history, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out from the Apollo 11 lander onto the lunar surface, a new chapter in our history commenced. That it was one that we as a species have failed to capitalise on, takes away nothing from that incredible achievement back in 1969. Next year sees the 50th anniversary of the mission and as expected, there will be plenty of coins to mark the occasion. We’ve already seen some fine issues from MDM, and next month will see the long-awaited issue of the United States Mint, but today we’re looking at a new piece from Moneda Nueva. Issued for the Republic of Cameroon, it chooses elements that we’re sure will be popular ones for a number of modern coins due to be released to commemorate the event.

The first of those elements sits prominently on this new coins reverse face. The figure of Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the surface of the moon has become one of the most important and widely seen images in history. Moneda Nueva have chosen a tightly cropped look at the astronaut, choosing to concentrate on the man rather than include the lunar lander Just a simple title inscription resides on this face. The antique finish looks good and the helmet glass is coloured with a special color application that changes between shades of blue and green as you move the coin around.

The obverse employs another iconic image of the mission – Buzz Aldrins’ footprint in the lunar surface. We’d be willing to bet that hardly any coin issued for the event won’t have the footprint integrated into it in some way, but they’ve done a fine job here using high-relief to give the reproduction some added depth. The issuing state, denomination and date are inscribed here also.

A rimless coin struck in three ounces of sterling 0.925 silver, it comes presented in a floating frame with a certificate of authenticity. Everything sits in a themed outer sleeve. Just 500 of these will be produced, which is quite a small number given how popular and important the subject matter is. It’s available to pre-order now, with shipping in January. A very nice coin and one we suspect will stand out from a sea of proof coloured issues.



“One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” With these words, astronaut Neil Armstrong opened up the next phase in human exploration by stepping from the Apollo 11 lunar lander onto the surface of the Moon. Joined 20 minutes later by Buzz Aldrin, and watched overhead by designated driver, Michael Collins, this was an event that was watched around the world with absolute admiration.

It was July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC that the lunar module Eagle touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, and six hours later Armstrong set foot on the surface. Along with Aldrin, they spent around 135 minutes walking on the lunar surface and collected a little more than 21 kg of material to return to Earth. Including their time in the module, they spent 21½ hours on the Moon.

The mission to the Moon was called Apollo 11, and started with the launch of a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on 16 July at 13:32 UTC and was the fifth manned mission of NASA’s Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft was constructed around three basic parts. A command module was the living and control space for the three astronauts, and was the only part that splashed back down to Earth in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 after more than eight days in space. The service module supplied the command module with power and propulsion, and the lunar module landed on the Moon surface (The Eagle has landed) and returned the two walkers back to the command module.

One of the first major events that was broadcast live around the world, the landing affirmed the United States as the victor in the Space Race against the Soviet Union, after being beaten by the Communist superpower in the race to get a man into orbit some years previously. There were just five further manned landings on the Moon, the last in 1972, and amazingly, there weren’t even any unmanned landings between 1976 and the end of 2013.

DENOMINATION 3,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
FINISH Antique
BOX / COA Yes / Yes