Washington — The United States Mint announced today a collaborative project with the Royal Australian Mint. The two mints will produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969. The set will ...

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United States Mint announces historic collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint and more...

United States Mint announces historic collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint

Washington — The United States Mint announced today a collaborative project with the Royal Australian Mint. The two mints will produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969. The set will feature a U.S. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary half dollar paired with an Australian 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing one-ounce $5 silver coin.

The limited production set will be sold and distributed by the Royal Australian Mint, and will include a certificate of authenticity signed by the director of the United States Mint and the chief executive officer of the Royal Australian Mint. The United States Mint will market the set on its website and provide a link to the Royal Australian Mint’s website for U.S. customers who wish to purchase the product.

“This jointly–issued coin set magnificently symbolizes our long standing alliance and friendship with Australia,” said United States Mint Director David Ryder. “Many Americans will remember listening for the critical reports from the tracking stations in Australia at Carnarvon, Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla, and Parkes, as the Apollo 11 spacecraft traveled to, orbited and landed on the Moon.”

“Weare very pleased that the Royal Australian Mint is entering into a product partnershipwith the United States Mint to bring customers a unique collectible that marksone of mankind’s most remarkable achievements,” said Senator the Hon. ZedSeselja, the Australian Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance. “Thecollaboration highlights the unique part Australia had to play in sending a manto the Moon.”

The United States Mint unveiled the designs for the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program on October 11, 2018. The obverse and reverse designs will be featured on the four coins in the program: A $5 gold coin, a standard size $1 silver coin, a half dollar clad coin, and a five-ounce $1 silver Proof coin. In a manufacturing first for the U.S. Mint, the five-ounce silver Proof coin is curved, as are the other coins in the program.

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The obverse design was selected from entries in a juried competition as required by the authorizing legislation, Public Law 114-282. The winning design is by Gary Cooper of Belfast, Maine. It features the inscriptions MERCURY, GEMINI, and APOLLO— separated by phases of the Moon—and a footprint on the lunar surface. The design represents the efforts of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Additional inscriptions are 2019, IN GOD WE TRUST, and LIBERTY. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the design.

The reverse design is by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It features a representation of a close-up of the iconic “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, showing just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The reflection in Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the respective denomination, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Ms. Hemphill also sculpted the design.

The law that authorizes the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program also requires the United States Mint to collect surcharges from coin sales—$35 for each gold coin, $10 for each $1 silver coin, $5 for each half-dollar coin, and $50 for each five-ounce silver Proof coin. The Mint is authorized to distribute the surcharges as follows:

  • one half to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit,
  • one quarter to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, and
  • one quarter to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

The United States and the Royal Australian Mint will announce the release date for the two-coin set as soon as it has been determined.

Press release courtesy of the United States Mint.

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First International Coin Designer Training program held in Shanghai

2018 International Coin Designer Training at Shanghai Mint participants

By Louis Golino

In early December the Chinese Mint held the first International Coin Designer Training program at its Shanghai branch mint, which brought together several prominent coin designers from Europe, the U.S., and China. These experienced coin designers and medallic artists shared their wealth of experience with artists and designers from China during several days of presentations and workshops.

Joel Iskowitz, a former member of the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program and prolific American narrative artist who has designed countless coins, stamps, and medals for many countries and private mints, was the U.S. participant in the program who was asked to teach and give lectures on the key concepts and techniques involved in designing coins and medals.

Joel was invited to be one of the program instructors by Ms. Tina Deng of the Shanghai Mint. He is no stranger to China, having previously been there 25 years ago on a U.S. Air Force Art Program assignment.

Luo Yonghui and Joel Iskowitz reconnecting nine years after their work on the Journey for Peace medal during the presentation by Joel. Hover to zoom.

In addition, nine years ago, at the invitation of prominent numismatist Mel Wacks, he worked with a team of Chinese medallic artists and designers led by Yonghui Luo to design the “Journey for Peace” medal issued by the Chinese Mint for the 40th anniversary of former President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972.

Obverse side of Chinese medal for 40th anniversary of Nixon’s visit to China.

Only 400 of these high-relief, bronze two-medal sets were struck by the MedalCraft Mint in Greenbay, Wisconsin for the Art Medal Communication center in Shanghai. The medal consists of two halves that each weigh over 10 ounces and fit together. The obverse of one medal features an image of President Nixon and smaller images of doves and of the U.S. president in China, while the other obverse features Chairman Mao of China and smaller images of him with Henry Kissinger and more doves. 

Reverse side of Chinese medal for 40th anniversary of Nixon’s visit to China.

Each reverse features a yin-yang design of an American flying eagle and a Chinese dragon.

During the recent training program, Joel wasable to reunite with Mr. Yonghui and said he was “embraced as a family memberof the artistic community and by those I met in commerce and government.”

Reflecting on the recent program, Joel said:

I have always believed that art is a universal language which transcends cultural and physical barriers and even time itself. As a designer of coins and medals, I have witnessed their powerful role as ambassadors of good will which connect humankind in marvelous ways. Envoys of our collective human story, they are miniature in physical size yet epic in content. Coins and medals are the nexus of history, art, and beauty.

He added:

It is my hope and belief that this first successful International Coin Designer Training inaugurates and inspires a new frontier of dedicated collaboration, a golden era of beautiful coins and medals that combine the best of our cultures and talents to add to the beauty and harmony of our world.

Interview

Erkki Vainio and Joel Iskowitz present winning design teams with their medals of excellence.

Joel provided additional insights on his experience with this program in an interview with Coin Update, which sheds light on the state of medallic art in China and collaboration between Chinese designers and those from other countries.

Louis Golino: When did the training program occur and how long did it last?

Joel Iskowitz: The 2018 International Coin Designer Training began 12/5/18 and lasted three days through 12/7/18.

LG: Was the main purpose of the program increasing collaboration between Chinese coin designers and those from other countries?  Did it have other goals?

JI: Yes, in general this initiative was intended to educate, engender mutual understanding and respect, enhance communications, and possible future collaboration between the East and the West. The emphasis was certainly international as suggested in the title of the event.

This approach to share knowledge and inspiration for design excellence across cultural and national borders was realized by inviting presentations by artists/designers, such as the brilliant Erkki Vainio of Finland, worldwide tool and die expert Torbjørn Hansen of the Norwegian Mint, and myself. The great Chinese master sculptor Yonghui Luo and rising star, Zhu Xiuai, also had important input in every phase of the program. Many of China’s finest coin and medal designers were selected from a competition to participate as well.

I would add that besides the actual colloquy concerning design principles, procedures, and techniques, an additional — but extremely tangible benefit — was the goodwill and camaraderie established among all the artists/designers and the Mint officials who participated.

China is in the midst of a celebration of a 40-year-period of openness. Since 1978 this new era of prosperity and great transition in Chinese culture and art has robustly welcomed ideas and advances of Western nations. The timing of this event could not have been more perfect as China’s successful economic, cultural, and artistic renaissance ushers in a new world order that warmly welcomes active participation by Western civilization.

For myself personally, assomeone who believes that art has no borders and considering the generaldirection my career as an artist has been taking, with more internationalcommissions, this could not have been a more-timely event to be invited to participatein.

LG: Were the Chinese artists and coin designers employees of the Chinese Mint? 

JI: Yes, both Zhu Xiuai and Yonghui Luo are employees of the Shanghai Mint, Mr. Yonghui being the senior designer/sculptor, similar to the position of chief engraver. Many other accomplished Chinese artists participated. My understanding was that some have a contractual relationship with the Shanghai Mint and some were independent artists.

LG: Please describe some of the programs you participated in and what activities took place during those programs.

JI: There were three main presentations, mine being the first on 12/5, Erkki Vainio’s being the second on 12/6, and Torbjørn Hansen’s on 12/7. However, I left Shanghai early that Friday morning and did not attend the last day of the training.

Additional workshops included presentations of artists/designers’ work which were reviewed, critiqued, and judged in a competition. The five principals mentioned earlier forming the panel of judges. Topics covered included:

  • Effectiveness and accuracy of background research
  • Understanding and conveying the cultural context of the design
  • Successful exploration of new techniques and approaches;
  • Inter-relationship with coinability of design regarding tooling, striking, etc.
  • A full day devoted to technical aspects, such as levels of relief, special coin shapes, surface treatments;( laser, color applications, plating, etc.)
  • A hands-on workshop in which teams of designers were tasked with creating packaging materials that organically and thematically relate to and enhance the particular coin or medal. This was ultimately formatted as a contest with the best teams earning medals of merit and the winning design team earning the auspicious gold medal for design excellence.

LG: Are there any particular artistic styles or techniques that you would associate with Chinese coin designers other than the use of symbols and imagery from Chinese culture?

JI: My overall take away from being exposed to the wide array of designs from the Chinese participants was a sense that no matter how enthusiastically they embrace Western influences and modern approaches both aesthetically and technically, they have a natural and inborn respect for their rich and ancient cultural artistic heritage. They do not abandon this lineage in favor of blind rush to be “modern.” They realize that there is a precious connection to the art of the past, and that art really is timeless and retains its relevance if it is created without the artificial and superficial need to appear contemporary.

On a more pedestrian note, Ibelieve that because of a long history of visually interpreting the worldthrough a lens that embraces a circular, mandalic view of the universe (thinkYin-Yang) these artists seem to have a very fluid and naturally elegantsensibility when designing in the round. Also considering the fact that theirwritten form of communication is a type of animated calligraphy or pictograph,these artists have a superb ability to effectively combine inscriptions withfigurative imagery.

All in all, although, I was honored to present as an authority in design, I came away from this event awed by the richness and pure artistry of the participants. Most impressive to me was the depth, character, and beauty of the younger designers’ creations.

2018 International Coin Designer Training instructors Zhu Xiuai, Erkki Vainio, Joel Iskowitz (with glasses), and Chinese coin designers.

LG: Were you, Erkki Vainio, and Zhu Xiuai the main instructors and the ones who led the discussions and presentations?

JI: As I mentioned above, myself, Erkki Vainio, and Torbjørn Hansen made the formal presentations, but Mr.Yonghui and Zhu Xiuai played a very active and important role in the training. Their comments were very informative and as is evidenced in the Chinese world of arts and letters, quite poetic. Listening to some of the comments, especially those of Yonghui Luo, I thought of some of the grand statements of Andre Malraux, who spoke of a sisterhood and brotherhood of artists that speak to each other, unbounded by the constraints of time or national and cultural boundaries.

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2019—an exciting year ahead for numismatic books!

By Dennis Tucker

Dearfellow collectors,

I hope this note finds everyone well and that you are enjoying the new year.

As I write this, the first full week of January 2019 is coming to a close. The 64th annual show of Florida United Numismatists is getting under way in Orlando—the first major U.S. convention of the numismatic new year, and a traditional bellwether of the strength of the hobby market. At the same time the New York International Numismatic Convention is holding court in the ancient and world-coin arena.

Smallerlocal and regional shows are gearing up around the country through January andFebruary.

Onthe horizon we see the Long Beach Expo . . . the first of three annual WhitmanBaltimore Expos . . . the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show. . . and those are just a few events highlighting the year’s first quarter.

TheUnited States Mint continues to innovate, with new coinage programs coming tothe forefront and new coins being added to ongoing programs. Important auctionsare scheduled in the rare-coin and paper-money markets.

Inthe midst of all this activity, 2019 also promises to be an exciting year fornumismatic books.

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AlreadyWhitman Publishing has rolled out updated, revised, and in some cases expandednew editions of several Bowers Series books. Collectors of Barber silver coins,Lincoln cents, Morgan dollars, Civil War tokens, and other U.S. coins will havethe latest research and market information at their fingertips.

Asalways, Whitman numismatic director Q. David Bowers is writing new books fasterthan we can publish them!

New editions of Robert Leonard’s intriguing Curious Currency: The Story of Money From the Stone Age to the Internet Age and Robert W. Shippee’s best-selling Pleasure and Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins will give every student of money plenty to chew on.

The 73rd edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins—the hobby’s beloved “Red Book”—will debut in March, followed by its 1,504-page expanded edition known as Mega Red.

Ifyou collect ancient coins, bullion coins, paper money, tokens and medals,colonial coppers, U.S. gold, or world coins, you have a year of fun andengaging education coming up.

Manyof your favorite Whitman authors, as well as some talented newcomers, willbring new books to your shelf this year. Look for Jeff Garrett, KennethBressett, Adam Crum, Clifford Mishler, Beth Deisher, Arthur and Ira Friedberg,Roger W. Burdette, and more.

NumismatistWilliam Bierly explores the rich numismatic history of the national motto “InGod We Trust” in his new book of the same name, digging far deeper than thebare-bones summary most collectors know—or think they know.

CharlesMorgan and Hubert Walker shine their inquisitive research on the 100 GreatestModern World Coins, showcasing amazing beauties and rarities from around theglobe.

MaryL. Martin teams up with Dave Bowers to study the vast world of collectibleAmerican postcards, including many with surprising and delightful numismaticconnections.

All of these books and more will capture the excitement and energy of the collecting hobby in 2019. Sign up for free membership in Whitman’s online registration to stay up to date on new releases, track your orders, view your order history, create a favorites wish-list, and get the latest offers and deals in 2019.

Happycollecting, and I’ll see you on the bourse!

Dennis Tucker is publisher at Whitman Publishing, a former governor of the Token and Medal Society, and the numismatic specialist of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is the author of American Gold and Silver: U.S. Mint Collector and Investor Coins and Medals, Bicentennial to Date.

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2019 Canadian dollar coin marks 50th anniversary of the country’s decriminalization of homosexuality

50 years ago, Pierre Trudeau, the father of Canadian PrimeMinister Justin Trudeau, introduced amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code in1967 that decriminalized same-sex relationships two years later. His wordsregarding the matter echoed a very libertarian sentiment:

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1980.

There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. What’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2017.

Before the 1960s amendments, homosexuality was criminalized amongthe public, and Canadian government employees also suffered a purge before theamendments took effect. Justin Trudeau apologized for this and set aside CAN$110million to compensate those affected. Furthermore, The Expungement ofHistorically Unjust Convictions Act allows an estimated 9,000 people to applyfor the permanent removal of criminal records that resulted from theconvictions of same-sex activity between consenting adults. In Justin Trudeau’sspeech to the House of Commons in 2017, he emphasized his remorse for theprevious actions of the Canadian government:

It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret for the things we have done that I stand here today and say: ‘We were wrong’. . . . It is my hope that in talking about these injustices, vowing to never repeat them, and acting to right these wrongs, we can begin to heal.

The Canadian one-dollar coin, colloquially known as the “loonie” (for its depiction of a common loon on most of the coin’s reverses).

Now, 50 years later, a new Canadian dollar is set tocommemorate the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and its design wasapproved on December 14 by the Canadian government. While the design of the newreverse, and its designer, remain a secret for the time being, some hints havebeen released from a cabinet order and were reported by the CanadianBroadcasting Corporation (CBC):

(The reverse is a) stylized rendering of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear. 

Additionally, the word “equality” will be displayed on the coin in English and French. The designer of the reverse has simply been identified as “RA,” but it is also known from Mint Spokesman Alex Reeves that two LGBTQ organizations provided assistance in the matter.


Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf, the first legally married same-sex couple in the Canadian province of Quebec. Photo taken April 1, 2004.

Despite the coin’s commemorative dates of 1969 and 2019, according to Cameron Aitken, a spokesman for the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969 was only partial. “The definition of ‘consenting adults’ was limited to those 21 and over, for example. . . . A lot of people were still arrested,” said Aitken in an interview. This suggests that the coin’s commemorative dates may follow with some controversy, but only time will tell.

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Greece: New silver collector coin dedicated to the centenary anniversary of the Hellenic Mathematical Society

The Bank of Greece has announced that they have issued, on the 20th December, their last silver Proof collector coin for 2018 and will be in recognition of the centenary anniversary of the founding of the Hellenic Mathematical Society.

Greece has a rich tradition in mathematics since antiquity, with such figures as Thales, Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes. Founded in 1918 in Athens with the mission of promoting the discipline and continuously improving mathematical education, the Hellenic Mathematical Society (HMS) today counts more than 15,000 members and 34 regional branches, with a notable contribution to the advancement of science and culture. To achieve its mission, the HMS conducts a range of activities, such as the organisation of training programmes, the annual national conference on mathematical education, and three annual national mathematical competitions, the winners of which form the national team that represents Greece in the Balkan and International Mathematical Olympiads. The HMS also publishes a number of journals, as well as selected mathematical books by Greek and foreign authors.

Its operation one hundred years on from its founding is based on the volunteering of its members, its management, the dozens of members of the society in the working committees in Athens and other cities, as well as all other members who contribute on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of HMA is and remains to promote and disseminate the various disciplines of mathematical science. This goal is achieved through a series of set objectives which include the following:


1. The progress of mathematics science

2. A development of the free exchange of information between mathematicians, scientists, and society.

3. The development and maintenance of scientific integrity and the improvement of the capabilities of its members.

4. Substantial and continuous improvement of mathematical education and the progress of general education.

5. An approach of the Greek mathematician, their briefing on all recent advances in science and technology, and the provision of practical help on issues that concern them during academic, educational, and teaching work.

As part of the national official recognition of the society’s centenary anniversary, a decision of the Ministry of Education has declared 2018 the Year of Mathematics to celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Hellenic Mathematical Society (HMS).

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The silver Proof-quality coins are produced by the Hellenic State Mint at their facilities in Athens, on behalf of the Bank of Greece, and are designed by M. Antonatou. The obverse side is dominated by the Greek letter π (known as Pi), and references its value as one of the most common constants in all of mathematics. It is the circumference of any circle, divided by its diameter. The centred figure is surrounded by a collection of equations well-known to many a mathematician, including E=mc2, publicised by the nuclear physicist Albert Einstein and is seen below the pi. The primary design is partially encircled by the text 100 ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ (“100 years of the Hellenic Mathematical Society”).

The reverse side of the coin includes a selection of mathematical symbols and equations arranged in a geometrical pattern. The Greek national crest is placed in the centre and is seen with a blue colour applied to the wreath and the cross. The denomination of 6 ΕΥΡΩ is placed below the crest with the year of issue, 2018, shown above the lettering ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΉ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΊΑ.

Denom.Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€6.925 Silver 10 g 28.5 mm Proof with applied colour 1,500

Each coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom Bank of Greece-branded case, along with a certificate of authenticity. For the purchase of one (1) coin per person, collectors residing in Greece can visit the Bank of Greece in Athens in person. Those outside Greece can e-mail a request, using the relevant ordering form, to the following mailing address: Serv.NumProd@bankofgreece.gr.

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