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Many coin collectors have the desire to collect coins with family members. Indeed, many of us have fond memories with a dad or grandma showing us coins that they have collected over the years.
The United States Mint Rocketship 2019 is a gateway to a larger world….and beyond. The set is meant to appeal to kids and showcases two special coins: the 2019 Kennedy Half Dollar with a standard, business (NIFC) strike, and the proof 2019 Native American $1 Coin, that honors Native American contributions to the U.S. Space Program. These coins will spark an interest in U.S. History, the Space Race of the 1960s and STEM subjects in school. The coins are displayed in a rocket-shaped easel that glows in the dark!
The subject of the 2019 Native American $1 Coin is American Indians in the Space Program. Engineer Mary Golda Ross of the Cherokee Nation appears on the reverse of the coin. She was the first Native American engineer in the U.S. space program. She worked on the development of the Gemini and Apollo space programs. Above her, in his space suit, is the most recent U.S. Astronaut with Native American heritage, John Herrington. He is depicted during one of his space walks from the International Space Station. He is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, and in 2002 he became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space. An Atlas-Agena rocket launches into space in the background. Mary Golda Ross’ equation noting the energy required for a departure from Earth and the orbit of a distant celestial body is inscribed in its cloud. Without that crucial equation the space program wouldn’t exist. A star-filled field backdrop, represents the wonder of, and the challenges that, await us in outer space. The obverse of the coin is the standard Sacagawea portrait introduced in 2000. The coin was struck to proof quality at the San Francisco branch of the U.S. Mint.
Without the leadership of President John F. Kennedy in the early 1960s, the decade would likely have had a completely different feel. His challenge to land a man on the moon, and safely return him to Earth, inspired a generation of Americans. The half dollar coin struck in his honor, is included in this set. The obverse features a portrait of Kennedy designed by Gilroy Roberts, while the reverse features a heraldic eagle based on the Seal of the President of the United States, as designed by Frank Gasparro. This cupro-nickel features the standard business strike, identical to the Not Intended For Circulation (NIFC) that is so in-demand today. This issue was struck at the Denver branch of the U.S. Mint.
There is an open slot at the top of the rocket for a quarter dollar coin, but there is no coin included. This available space is intended for some customization of the piece. A nice proof quarter from a birth year or your state would be appropriate. Another suggestion touching on the space theme, would be to include the 2000 Maryland ATB Quarter or the 2004 Florida ATB Quarter. The Florida Quarter pictures a Space Shuttle and was also sent into space on the New Horizons interstellar space probe, along with the Maryland Quarter. These are the only two U.S. Quarter Dollar designs to travel outside of the Solar System. The New Horizons probe was intended to fly by Pluto when it was still classified as a planet, among other objectives.
Another coin that might stoke the fires of youngster’s imaginations would be the 1909 VDB Lincoln Cent. Not only is it the more affordable Philadelphia Mint struck sister to the famous 1909-S VDB, but an example of that coin was included on the Mars rover Curiosity back in 2011, to aid in camera calibration after landing.
This is only the beginning, the U.S. Mint just released the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Mission coins and MCM has reproductions of the famous Robbins Medals. The classic Eisenhower and Susan B. Anthony dollars feature a reverse based on the famous Apollo 11 Mission Badge. You could consider certified coins with the authentic hand signature of astronauts Clayton Anderson and Charlie Duke. There are many ways to shape a collection with space as a theme.
Whether it was Grandma’s Mason jar full of Wheat cents or “Mercury” dimes, Dad’s Franklin half dollars from the tooth fairy or Grandpas’s silver dollars, this is how most of us got started in the hobby. And these memories mean a lot to all of us. The U.S. Mint’s Rocketship 2019 and these other options are a great way to introduce a lifetime of collecting to your family.
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