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The Eagle Has Landed

Apollo 11 InsigniaIt was July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “ Buzz” Aldrin, made history by being the first humans to land on Earth’s only natural satellite. A mere 238,900 mile trip began with the launch of the Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, with Michael Collins who orbited over the moon in the command module, the trip fulfilled the promise of President John F. Kennedy who said to congress on May 25, 1961, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

Kennedy would have been pleased with the events of 47 years ago, today.

Michael Collins design the mission insignia. Collins said that he wanted a symbol to represent a “peaceful lunar landing by the United States.” He also left the names of the astronauts off of the insignia so that it would represent everyone who worked on the mission. It is one of the few mission insignias that does not include the name of the astronauts.

Apollo 11 flown silver Robbins Medal once owned by Wally Schirra

Apollo 11 flown silver Robbins Medal once owned by Wally Schirra

The first numismatic-related item that used the Apollo 11 mission insignia were the medals made by the Robbins Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts. Although there were many space-flown numismatics that have surfaced over the years, the most famous from Apollo 11 was the sterling silver Robbins Medal that was presented to Wally Schirra by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong and Schirra were good friends. He gave the medal to honor his friend, the first three-time astronaut who retired just before the Apollo 11 flight.

This medal was sold for $33,460.00 on April 18, 2013 by Heritage Auctions.

In March, before the Apollo 11 launch, President Dwight Eisenhower died of congestive heart failure at the age of 78. To honor the late president, congress passed the bill to produce what ended up to be the last large dollar coin with the portrait of Eisenhower. It was Rep. Bob Casey (D-TX) who remembered that Eisenhower created NASA and proposed that the reverse of the coin use the Apollo 11 mission insignia rather than just a heraldic eagle.

The Eisenhower dollar was released in 1971 and struck until 1978. Other than relief and varieties, the only design change was made in honor of the nation’s bicentennial in 1975-76.

Beginning in 1976, the U.S. Mint was looking to reduce the costs of coin production and was testing different shapes and compositions for a new dollar coin. In order to appease the powerful vending machine industry, the result was a coin that was too similar in size and composition to the quarter dollar. Congress made the decision to honor Susan B. Anthony and leave the Apollo 11 mission insignia on the reverse.

Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro designed the reverse for both the Eisenhower and SBA dollars using the Apollo 11 mission insignia. An iconic design even though the coins were less than successful.

Credits

  • Apollo mission insignia courtesy of NASA.
  • Apollo 11 flown Robbins Medal courtesy of Heritage Auctions
  • Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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125 Year Celebration

Dr. George HeathIt has been 125 years since Michigan physicist Dr. George Heath founded the American Numismatic Association in 1891. Heath, who operated a coin business on the side, began this journey by publishing his own magazine in 1888 called The Numismatist. He used the magazine as a call to other collectors to create the ANA.

The ANA will celebrate this milestone at the upcoming World’s Fair of Money. In an interesting coincidence, or maybe planning, the celebration will be help practically next door to the place called “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Irrespective of whatever issues anyone sees or perceives with regard to the ANA, you have to admit that an organization like the ANA to survive 125 years is pretty amazing.

If you are interested in a long-form history of the ANA, I recommend reading “125 Years of Collecting with the American Numismatic Association” written by Q. David Bowers. It is not a quick read, but 125 years of history was not easy to create. The current page is in seven parts with an eighth promised for next month. There is no indication if that will be the last part. Still, it is a recommended article.

Currently, if you become an ANA member or renew your membership for 3 years or donate $125, you can receive a 2016 American Silver Eagle graded MS-69 by Numismatic Guarantee Corporation with a special Anniversary Label. I there is a limit of 2,500 coins. If you become a life member or donate $500, you can receive one graded MS-70. There is a 250 limit on the higher graded coins.

There was also a set of coins created for the National Money Show with a special label. There was a renewal opportunity that allowed existing ANA members to renew and receive their coin with the National Money Show label. These were coins left over from the show in Dallas.

Not only did I take advantage of the renewal offer but added a donation to receive both versions of the coin in MS-65. Although I do not collect grading service labels, this was an opportunity to support the ANA. There may be a limited number of coins left. If you are not a member, you may want to consider joining. If you are a member, either consider a three-year renewal or donate $125 to help the ANA. I believe it is a good cause!

Image of Dr. George Heath courtesy of the ANA.

A Token of Brexit

A few weeks ago I wrote about the potential effects of Brexit on markets should the Brits vote to leave the European Union. When the OUT vote won by a slim margin, there was an instant worldwide reaction. In the subsequent weeks, we have seen world markets react to everything. After an initial fall in markets because of Brexit they have recovered only to be sent back into uncertainty with world events.

The London PM Gold Fix was $1,265.12 before the polls closed on June 23. The next day, the London PM Gold Fix closed at $1,315.50 (4-percent increase). On July 15, the PM Gold Fix closed at $1,327.00, 4.9-percent increase since the vote. Experts are saying gold could continue to climb at the 4-percent rate for the near future.

Silver has been on a slow and steady rise for most of the spring also saw a bump following the Brexit vote. When the London Silver Fix closed at $17.29 on June 23, this was already a $3.29 increase (23.5-percent) from the January 4 first close of 2016 price of $14.00. After the results were announced, London Silver Fix closed at $18.04, a 4.3-percent increase. With the London Silver Fix closing at $20.14 on July 15 (16.48-percent increase), some pundits are suggesting that silver will continue to outperform gold for the near future.

When I wrote about Brexit, I also mentioned the “In/Out UK EU Referendum Medallion” produced by Chard(1964), a British metals dealer. After the post, the folks at Chard saw a small bump in sales from collectors the United States from a few of my readers. I was not paid to mention the medal. I just found the information online and thought it was an interesting idea. Shortly before the vote, someone at Chard contacted me and offered to send me some medals.

After a swim across the pond, the medals arrived in my physical mail last weekend. Even though I thought Brexit was a bad idea, the medals are still very cool. Design is the same on both medals. One is copper and the other is Abyssinian Gold, a type of brass made of 90-percent copper and 10-percent zinc that has a gold-like color. Medals are 31mm in diameter and weighs 14 grams making it a nice sized coin for flipping.

Chard sent two sets of the medals. I will keep one set and donate the other to my coin club’s annual auction whose proceeds will benefit the Scouts and other numismatic-related education in our region.

It appears that these medals can still be purchased for £2.95 each ($4.33 at the current exchange rate) plus shipping (estimated at £6.00 or $8.80) directly from Chard’s website. I am not making money from this endorsement. I just think it’s a fun collectible!

Static charts courtesy of Kitco.

POLL: What do you collect?

2015 Canada Bugs Bunny $20 Silver Coin

From my collection, a 2015 Canada Bugs Bunny $20 for $20 Silver Coin

Throughout the life of this blog, I have revealed a lot about myself and my collection. I do not mind sharing but every so often I would like to know something about you. Based on my logs, I know the blog has attracted new readers over the last few years for which I thank you for joining my little corner of the Internet world. But what do you like? If you are a long time reader, has your collection changed?

I am asking for two reasons: first, I am curious. I know that my tastes are different from yours and I am curious about yours. There is no wrong answer to this question because whatever you like to collect is right for you. It should not matter what anyone thinks of your collection because it’s your collection and you are the one that has to be happy with it. I want to know what makes you happy.

The second reason is so I know a little about who is reading the my blog. It will allow me to could tailor some content to your tastes. It is good for me to stretch out of my comfort zone a bit to learn about something else. But I want to do so in a way that I can write about it and someone will have an appreciation for the content.

The poll is anonymous. The usual set of website logs are kept on the server but it does not identify you or how you voted. Comments are encouraged and moderated only to prevent spam. If you are reading this from a site that aggregates web content, you will have to visit the page on my site in order to participate.

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BREAKING NEWS: Rosie Rios Last Day

Rosie Rios

Former Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios

The Department of the Treasury announced that today, Friday, July 8, 2016, will be Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios last day working for the department. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said (via Politico):

“Rosie Rios joined the Treasury team nearly eight years ago, during the presidential transition. Since then, she has been a thoughtful steward of two important Treasury bureaus — the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Mint — and has been an advocate for women and girls including, for example, her leadership of the Treasury Women in Finance symposium.
 
“I am particularly grateful for her creativity and leadership in the effort to redesign our paper currency and to ensure that future notes reflect, for the first time in 120 years, the important role of women in shaping our democracy. I thank her for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

As the 43rd Treasurer, Rios has been an advocate for everything regarding her oversight of the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing including her participation at shows. Aside from her signature appearing on every Federal Reserve Note since the 2009 Series, she continued to autograph notes for collectors at conventions. She jokingly calls them “Rosie Dollars.”

Series 2009 Federal Reserve Note autographed by Treasurer of the U.S. Rosa Gumataotao Rios

Series 2009 Federal Reserve Note autographed by Treasurer of the U.S. Rosa Gumataotao Rios

Rios has worked as a business executive prior to working on the Obama campaign in 2008 in Virginia. She was hired to work with the transition team on matters concerning the Treasury Department and then was nominated as Treasurer. Rios has been serving as Treasurer since August 8, 2009.

Her future plans were not announced.

Aside from being a tough act to follow, the position may stay vacant for a while. Given the hyper-partisan nature of congress and that we are heavy into this election cycle, it is highly unlikely that the Senate would consider confirming an Obama appointment. Currently, Rhett Jeppson is waiting for a vote to confirm his appointment to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint. Jeppson’s nomination was sent to the Senate for “advise and consent” on July 9, 2016. A hearing about his nomination was held on March 15, 2016. The nomination remains in committee waiting for the Senate to do their job and hold a vote.

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