Plenty of numismatic celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s step off the ladder of the lunar lander and onto the lunar surface, but not much in the way of bullion coins to date. The Perth Mint has issued a decent design, with 15,000 gold and 50,000 silver ounce coins hitting the market, but in general, the commemorations have centred around the higher-end, with a slew of proof, antiqued, domed and other types populating the shelves.
Into the fray, via the European dealer that distributes the Perth Mint’s Australian Emu coins, Metal Market EU, comes the Royal Australian Mint, with a new design, and rocking some pretty tight mintage limits for the genre. The cap of 25,000 units for the silver is relatively low, but not out of the ordinary in itself. The gold, however, matches the recent APMEX-distributed Lion King bullion coin with a microscopic 250 coin limit. In this case, the gold coin comes with a certificate and a nice box.
The design incorporates elements that have become very iconic on 2019 coin issues for this event. The footprint, astronaut, and moon are all common elements, but it’s good to see the gigantic Saturn V rocket in place of the ubiquitous lunar lander. Everyone has seemingly forgotten this huge part of the story – a shame given how impressive it was and how much it contributed to the space programme as a whole. Thirteen of these near 3,000 tonne rockets were launched and they lost no man or cargo. We like the design a lot. Adam Ball has chosen to forget an outright artsy look for something incorporating recognisable elements, and we think that was a wise decision. The exhaust from the rocket swirling around the border is a neat touch.
Of course, this is an Australian coin from the RAM, so it has the usual understated obverse of Queen Elizabeth II (the Ian Rank Broadley effigy for the final year), and issue details. So, we have a great design, small mintage, and a timeless subject. Seems like a no-brainer to us. Available to order now from Metal Market EU, with others to follow we’d assume. (UPDATE: Revised and corrected obverses added)