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Launching from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin first orbited around the Earth before continuing to the moon. After nearly 76 hours into the flight, the spacecraft composed of the command module Columbia and landing module Eagle entered orbit around the moon. 23 hours later Eagle separated from Columbia and made for the moon’s surface.
About 109 hours and 42 minutes after being launched into space via the Saturn V rocket, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. Aldrin followed about 20 minutes later. The pair would spend 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface before ascending into lunar orbit, docking with Columbia and heading home, where they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and picked up by the crew of recovery ship USS Hornet.
When the astronauts were recovered, so were a number of Robbins Medals -- specially struck medallions that traveled with the Apollo 11 crew to the moon and back. Now, on the 50th anniversary of this history-changing event, you can celebrate the Apollo 11 mission with a commemorative medal crafted from digital scans of the original Apollo 11 Robbins Medal dies. Select commemoratives even contain real space-flown alloy!
Since Apollo 7, Robbins Medals (so named for the company that mints them -- Robbins Company of Attleboro, MA) have journeyed into space along with every manned U.S. mission. Up to 450 medals were minted for each mission, and given almost exclusively to the astronauts, their families, and the crew that made the mission possible.
On the obverse of the medals is an image taken from the mission patch, its design created or directed by the astronaut crew of the mission. The reverse of the medals was initially left blank, with the launch and return dates added once the mission was complete and the medals had returned to Earth.
For the Apollo 11 mission, three gold medals went aboard the spacecraft -- one for each astronaut. In addition, 440 silver Robbins Medals were stowed in the spacecraft. An additional 10 were struck but did not travel into space. As part of Neil Armstrong's Private Collection, his personal gold Robbins Medal, as well as additional silver medallions, will be sold at an auction to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
Robbins Medals’ scarcity, history of having flown in space and place in American history make them highly sought-after collectibles.
Pictured to the left is an official Apollo 11 Robbins medal, serial number 179. It was owned by astronaut Jack Swigert and was flown into space on the Apollo 11 Mission. The medal measures 1.25” and is made of sterling silver. This one sold for $50,000 in May, 2015 at Heritage auctions. This is one of the most expensive prices obtained for an Apollo 11 Robbins medal. (source https://historical.ha.com/)
Designed by Command Module Pilot Michael Collins with input from Armstrong, Aldrin and others, the Apollo 11 mission patch depicts an American Bald Eagle landing on the surface of the moon, an olive branch clutched in its talons. This design was eventually adopted for the reverse of the Eisenhower and Susan B. Anthony Dollar coins.
We partnered with the Armstrong family, who owned the dies used to strike the original medals, to create the Apollo 11 Commemorative Proofs. We digitally scanned these dies and added the dual dates of 1969 and 2019, as well as the words "50th Anniversary."
The dies used to strike the original Apollo 11 Robbins Medals were a part of the Armstrong Family Collection. In honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary, these original dies were digitally scanned and used as the model for new dies. These new dies were used to mint special 50th anniversary commemorative proofs.
Struck in a full ounce of 99.9% fine silver or half an ounce of 99.99% pure gold, these proofs feature the original Mission Patch design of an eagle landing on the moon, an olive branch clutched in its beak. The reverse features the names of the three astronauts, launch, landing and return dates for their mission, dual dates of 1969 and 2019 and the words "50th Anniversary."
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