By Littleton Coin Company ………..
Can you imagine a collecting niche for Martian money? Seems like something out of a sci-fi movie – but recently, there HAVE been some popular coins making headlines as they journey where no coin has gone before.
In 2012, a 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln cent was strapped in for a journey on board the Mars Curiosity rover, making the Red Planet its new home for the foreseeable future. It was placed on a calibration target, and serves as a scale for sizing images taken on the Martian surface. Now, as collectors wonder what impact the Martian experience will have on that lone 1909 cent, they’re keeping their eyes on the coin any time images from Curiosity are published!
Even before Curiosity was launched toward Mars, two Statehood quarters began an even longer voyage. When New Horizons rocketed into the exosphere in 2006, it set out on a decade-long, three-billion-mile trip to Pluto… and beyond! This past summer, in July 2015, a Florida Statehood quarter and a Maryland issue both whisked past Pluto on board New Horizons (which beamed back to Earth the most detailed pictures to date of the dwarf planet). It’s fascinating to think that, as I write this, those coins are now on their way into deep space, destined for the Kuiper Belt.
A giant leap for numismatists…
This brings to mind the Space Race, which officially launched in October 1957 as Russia sent Sputnik into orbit around Earth. In the nearly 60 years since, a number of coins have made their way into space. During the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, all three men on board the capsule – Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins – were authorized to carry flight souvenirs. Buzz chose to bring a medal produced by Robbins Co. of Attleboro, MA.
Struck in 92.5% silver, the medal features the mission patch design of Apollo 11. It features an eagle landing on the moon, with the earth shown in the background. This same design was used on both Eisenhower dollars of 1971-74 and 1977-78, as well as Susan B. Anthony dollars of 1979-1999.
However, coins that have been in space, aren’t the only options available to collectors who want to “get their head in the clouds.”
In recent years, various coin series have been issued by mints around the world honoring many different aspects of space and its exploration. In 2009, France’s Monnaie de Paris issued a curved 10-euro coin honoring both the 40th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon, as well as the International Year of Astronomy.
Another fascinating series came out of the Perth Mint from 2007-2010. These 99.9% silver pieces feature a full-color Earth in the center, with an outer disk (displaying each particular coin’s theme) that “orbits” the globe.
And now, there’s been talk of creating a new commemorative for 2019 honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing. And it’s projected to make a “giant leap” in the numismatic world. In addition to the standard $5 gold, $1 silver and clad half dollars, the design would be issued in the large, 5 ounce 99.9% pure silver dollar size (along the lines of the 3″ diameter National Park quarter issues).
With many more designs available that offer a glimpse of the heavens, “the sky’s the limit” when building a collection of space-themed coins. Do you collect any pieces that aren’t mentioned here, or have you seen others that you enjoy?
Littleton Coin Company is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of coins, paper money and collecting supplies. Since 1945, they have been making collecting fun and easy. For more information about the Littleton Coin Company or the Collector Stories Contest, visit www.littletoncoin.com