Forty-eight years ago tonight, a Sunday evening, I was glued to the TV watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I was inspired. I was moved. I was a teen but I still got tears. I was an avid fan of the space program and an amateur astronomer.
I was also a numismatist. That summer and for a few years after, many medals were issued to commemorate the moon walk. Large bronze and silver medals were offered for sale in coin publications. many were attractive, showing portraits of the astronauts and a detailed rendering of the moon.
The Franklin Mint struck a mini-coin of silver that was carried to the moon on one of the Apollo flights. The obverse bore a moon map and the reverse, a description of the medal's silver. The Franklin Mint also issued an "America in Space" series of medals to commemorate the space program. These were beautiful, well-done and well researched.
The US Mint will strike coins to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, two years from now. I have a feeling these will be the best and most meaningful tributes of them all.