One small step: Australia celebrates Moon Landing with limited runs of gold and silver bullion coins

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)

REVERSEGOLD
OBVERSESILVER

THE LANDING

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. Conspiracy theories abound about the truth of the landings, of course, most complete nonsense, but it happened and this fantastic achievement will be heavily commemorated this year. (Source: Wikipedia)

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 Australia $100 Australia
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.00 mm 38.74 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 25,000 250
BOX / COA No / No Yes / Yes
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