Collecting Apollo 11

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
— President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962

Eisenhower Dollar Reverse featuring the Apollo 11 mission insignia

President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University was not the official policy announcement. He made that announcement on May 25, 1961. This speech was to convince the American people and Congress that it was necessary to fund this idea. Given the technology of the time, the space race was a longshot with people bound and determined to beat the Soviets to the moon.

Kennedy’s vision was accomplished by the Apollo 11 crew of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin along with the thousands of support people on Earth. A little more than eight years after Kennedy made it the nation’s policy, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969.

From within the capsule attached to the top of the Saturn V launch vehicle, a rocket once described as a giant Roman candle, the rocket roared to life to lift the three pioneers into the final frontier. Even though the liftoff occurred at 9:32 AM in Florida, it was watched worldwide regardless of the local time.

Four days later, on Sunday, July 20, 1969, the world held its collective breath as the Lunar Module (LM), call-sign Eagle, was guided to the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and landed at 4:18 PM Central Time. Relief came when Neil Armstrong transmitted a message to Mission Control in Houston:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) Charles Duke’s response summed up the feel of those of us on Earth as he stumbled a bit at the beginning:

“Roger, Twan– Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

According to the official schedule, Armstrong and Aldrin were supposed to get five hours of sleep. Realizing that it was unlikely they would be able to sleep, the crew prepared for the first walk on the moon’s surface.

Six and a half hours after landing, after Walter Cronkite and the CBS News team showed models as to how Armstrong will descend from the LM, pull the D-Ring to activate the camera, Armstrong left the LM and went down the latter. He pulled the D-Ring, and the world watched his progress. Just before reaching the surface of the moon, Armstrong uncovered a plaque mounted on the LM that read:

Replica of the plaque on Eagle, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute)

Armstrong looked at the surface and described the moon’s dust as “very fine-grained” and “almost like a powder.” Then with a short jump, he left the bottom rung of the ladder and was standing on the surface of the moon.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Over the years, there has been a debate about whether Armstrong included the word“a” in the statement. That is not what was heard at the time, and modern examinations of the audio tapes neither confirm or deny the claim. Regardless of what he said, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the surface of the moon, a little more than eight years since President Kennedy said it was his goal.

Apollo 11 Flown MS66 NGC Sterling Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 241, from The Armstrong Family Collection (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Ironically, with the concerns about weight and preserving fuel, there appears to have been a lot of souvenirs carried to space with the crew. The most famous of these souvenirs are the Robbins Medals.

The practice of carrying Fliteline medals started in 1965 with the flight of Gemini 3, NASA’s first manned mission in the Gemini program. In 1968, the Robbins Company of Attleboro, Mass. was contracted to produce the Fliteline medals starting with Apollo 7.

It is reported that 480 of these 28mm medals were carried aboard Apollo 11.

According to Heritage Auctions, the most paid for a mission flown Robbins Medal was medal #241, a silver medal graded MS66 by NGC, that sold for $112,500 (including buyer’s premium) on November 1, 2018. It was sold with a Statement of Provenance signed by Armstrong’s sons as being once owned by Neil Armstrong. The provenance likely accounts for its high price.

Hey ANA Members, it’s time to VOTE!

The countdown to the July 1 deadline to vote for the next American Numismatic Association Board of Governors approaches, it is time to look at the candidates and determine who can best lead the organization forward.

For the first time in many years, there are races for President, Vice President, and Board of Governors. This year this is a choice. Here are my choices:

President

For ANA president members have the choice of COL Steven K. Ellsworth, ret., or Donald H. Kagin, Ph.D.

Ellsworth is currently a member of the ANA Board of governors and the owner of Butternut Coin Company, which moved from Virginia to Tennessee. Ellsworth has been around but has many strong opinions that have irritated several of the ANA’s constituency. Recently, during the National Money Show, Ellsworth made statements that exhibitors and the exhibit committee interpreted as hostile to them. Unfortunately, when he had the opportunity to clarify his position, his tone turned combative while making accusations of there being a clique amongst the exhibitor community.

Kagin grew up in the numismatics business, the son of a very prominent member of the ANA. But Kagin is not without his issues. He was a member of the Board of Governors during the fiasco with Executive Director and Legal Counsel Christopher Cipoletti in 2007. Then there were the Larry Shepherd issues that led to more embarrassment. For the subsequent election, Kagin said that he and the Board made mistakes and he wanted another chance. Kagin lost the election during a “throw the bums out” feelings by the membership.

Over the last few years, it appears that Kagin has learned from his mistakes. Sometimes it takes falling on your behind to be able to learn from those mistakes. It also seems that his vision for the ANA has matured since his return to the Board.

The Coin Collectors Blog endorses Don Kagin for ANA President for his sober vision and less combative personality, which is necessary for the ANA.

Vice President

The race for ANA Vice President is between Dr. Ralph W. Ross and Thomas J. Uram.

Although I have briefly met both gentlemen, I cannot say that I have had an extensive conversation with either. The personality dynamics are very different. Although that should not be a determining factor, the differences make it a consideration.

Ross has been a member of the Board of Governors for some time. He is a teacher by trade, which can be beneficial to figure out how to spread the word about numismatics beyond the ANA. In reality, where has he been? In my interaction with the Board, Ross is its quietest member. We do not hear much from him or about him regarding his position on the Board. He is just there.

Uram has been an active participant for some time. He is an exhibitor, judge, and has acted as a coach to exhibitors. Having someone on the Board who understands the exhibitor community may be good for the ANA.

Uram is not a professional numismatist but has had a long career in the financial services industry. Given the ANA’s propensity for having consistent financial problems, having someone around who can make sure the ANA stays fiscally stable may be a good idea.

Finally, Uram is a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) as an appointee of the Secretary of the Treasury. Although I have been a critic of the CCAC and not a fan of the Secretary, having someone with that type of experience could have its advantages.

Therefore, the Coin Collectors Blog endorses Tom Uram to be the next Vice President of the ANA.

Board of Governors

There are ten candidates to fill seven seats. Three people will not be serving on the Board. I will not comment on every one of the candidates in this space. I will provide some thoughts on what has gone into my decision.

First, I do not endorse Mike Ellis and his return to the Board. Although I believe in second chances, some have to come with a significant amount of contrition and time. It has not been long enough after “he had made a mistake and chose to step down from the board.” Any person who had to step down from the Board of Governors because of “mistake” must be required to jump a higher hurdle to return. I am still waiting for the jump.

While I have nothing against Greg Lyon, this would be his sixth and final term on the Board. After ten years as a member of the Board of Governors, it is time to step aside and allow new people into leadership.

There are endorsement forthcoming for Muriel Eymery and Shanna Schmidt. Eymery, who is from London, would bring a very different perspective to the ANA that is very necessary. Her view on foreign collectors and the world of numismatics outside of the United States would be an asset to an organization that appears insular. This type of diversity would benefit the ANA.

Schmidt is a dealer with a specialty in ancient numismatics and has a background beyond numismatics. Aside from adding diversity to the Board of Governors, which is very necessary, the line in her biography that attracted me was that her “master’s thesis was on the cultural-property debate as it relates specifically to ancient coins.” It is a topic that I have commented on several times and wish the ANA would involve itself with on behalf of the numismatic community.

Based on the considerations, the Coin Collectors Blog endorses the following seven candidates for the ANA Board of Governors (in alphabetical order by last name): Rick Ewing, Muriel Eymery, John Highfill, Cliff Mishler, Paul Montgomery, Robert Oberth, and Shanna Schmidt.

If you are an ANA member, go vote!

If you are not an ANA member, you should consider becoming one!

VIDEO: DIY Mechanical Coin Sorting Machine

Although this video is “sponsored” by Wix, it is interesting to watch the process of making a coin sorting machine. Just ignore the Wix ads at the beginning and end of the video.

In today’s video I want to show you how to make extremly effective fully mechancal coin sorting machine that allows you to sort up to 300 coins per minute! All you need is plywood, screws and chipboard. You can use this coin sorter anywhere cause it’s quite portable!

If you want to watch the video on YouTube and see the rest of the text with the advertisement, click here.

Weekly World Numismatic News for June 23, 2019

1883 Liberty Head Nickel (Type 1)

1883 Liberty Head Nickel — Type 1, No “CENTS” on reverse (Credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History)

A story that appeared in the Desert Sun seems to defy what some in the numismatics industry wants you to believe is successful collecting. The problem is that it is narrow in focus.

The article talks about the dealer’s held belief that successful coin collecting is about the hunt for the perfect coin. It is finding the right coin for your collection then making it better. Unfortunately, the more this industry holds on to these notions, they are scaring off potential collectors.

What the article and dealers do not want to tell you that it is perfectly acceptable to pick a set, topic, or series and find examples that are good or consistent with the rest of the collection. They tell you that you have to buy the coin in the latest piece of plastic with the highest number and graffitied with stickers. But what they do not tell you is that you can find better-looking coins at lower grades and many times without stickers or entomb in plastic.

One of the best looking collection I saw was a Liberty Head “V” Nickel set with all of the coins in extra fine (XF) condition. It is a more difficult collection to assemble than one might think. These coins were the workhorse of the economy. Their copper-nickel alloy was softer than the silver coins and wore quickly. It is challenging to find 19th-century coins in XF condition.

The set will not bring its assembler a lot of profit since the Liberty Head nickel is not in high demand. Instead, it is an accomplishment by a dedicated collector whose goal was to have fun.

Maybe that is the key to promoting the hobby. Let’s have some fun and stop worrying about what is the right or wrong way to collect!

And now the news…

 June 18, 2019

A gold coin that dates back to ancient Rome and was discovered in a field by a man with a metal detector has sold at auction for nearly $700,000.  → Read more at jckonline.com


 June 20, 2019

Why not get the kids off the computer and into something of lasting value?  → Read more at desertsun.com


 June 20, 2019

The archaeological excavations in Parion, a well-protected ancient city in Çanakkale, aim to shed light on the defense system of the city  → Read more at hurriyetdailynews.com


 June 20, 2019

Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron were among the impressive collection.  → Read more at silive.com


 June 21, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — While attending the International Paper Money Show in Kansas City, Missouri late last week, the staff of Liberty Coin Service purchased an exceedingly rare 1736 mortgage document for land in Mooreland, Pennsylvania Province that was printed by Benjamin Franklin.  → Read more at fox47news.com

Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws

 

VIDEO: World’s Largest Coin Pyramid (Almost)

This one is just for fun.

Cory Nelson and his coin pyramid

Cory Nelson poses with his World Record creation (screen grab from YouTube)

Cory Nelson of Phoenix, Arizona, built the world’s largest coin pyramid.

In an interview with CBC Radio, Nelson said that after building a coin pyramid with 41,000 coins on his desk, his coworkers asked if it was the world’s largest. He said that if it were not, he would make sure it is.

According to the Guinness World Records, the record was 1,000,935 Lithuanian one-cent coin by Vytautas Jakštas and Domas Jokubauskis. The pair built their coin pyramid in 2014 using Lithuanian Litas as a celebration before Lithuania converted to the Euro.

After three years of work on it for 20 hours per week, 45 YouTube videos tracking his work, and 1,030,315 Lincoln cents later (that is $10,303.15 worth of coins), Nelson submitted his creation to become the world records holder. It will take a while for GWR to verify the record.

Here’s the final video of Nelson’s pyramid:

Hey ANA Members, it’s time to VOTE!

The countdown to the July 1 deadline to vote for the next American Numismatic Association Board of Governors approaches, it is time to look at the candidates and determine who can best lead the organization forward. For the first time in many years, there are races...

read more

VIDEO: DIY Mechanical Coin Sorting Machine

Although this video is “sponsored” by Wix, it is interesting to watch the process of making a coin sorting machine. Just ignore the Wix ads at the beginning and end of the video. In today's video I want to show you how to make extremly effective fully...

read more

Weekly World Numismatic News for June 23, 2019

A story that appeared in the Desert Sun seems to defy what some in the numismatics industry wants you to believe is successful collecting. The problem is that it is narrow in focus. The article talks about the dealer's held belief that successful coin collecting is...

read more
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