The world eagerly watched on July 20, 1969, as Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin, Jr. took mankind’s first steps on the Moon. This unprecedented engineering, scientific, and political achievement was the culmination of the efforts of an estimated 400,000 Americans and secured our Nation’s leadership in space for generations to come. The Apollo 11 crew—Armstrong, Aldrin, and Michael Collins—safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, fulfilling the national goal set in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Nearly half a century later, the United States is the only country ever to have attempted and succeeded in landing humans on a celestial body other than Earth and safely returning them home.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon, Public Law 114-282 authorizes a four-coin program: a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coin.
OBVERSE: The obverse design was selected from entries in a juried competition as required by the authorizing legislation, Public Law 114-282. The winning design is by Gary Cooper of Belfast, Maine. It features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI,” and “APOLLO”— separated by phases of the Moon—and a footprint on the lunar surface. The design represents the efforts of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Additional inscriptions are “2019,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “LIBERTY.” Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the design.
REVERSE: The reverse design is by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It features a representation of a close-up of the iconic “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, showing just 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. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the respective denomination, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Ms. Hemphill also sculpted the design.