Yesterday, the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, and Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the three astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission which successfully landed the first humans on the moon. The United States Mint has made available 3 inch and 1.5 inch bronze reproductions of the medal.
The obverse design includes portraits of the four astronauts. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin appear in the upper portion facing left, while John Glenn appears on the lower portion facing right. A partial view of the earth from orbit appears at the bottom of the medal, and just above is a scene of an astronaut walking on the moon facing a flag. The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.
The reverse features the Lunar Excursion Module orbiting the moon and the Friendship 7 mission capsule orbiting earth. An inscription reads “We Came in Peace for All Mankind”. The reverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart.
Both the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) had recommended the obverse and reverse designs that were ultimately selected. The CFA had recommended modification to the obverse design by removing the features in the lower portion of the medal since they would be redundant with the reverse. They also recommended eliminating the intrusion of the portraits into the outer ring are containing text. These recommended design modifications were not performed.
The CCAC made recommendations for some modifications to the reverse design. This included a change from the original inscription from “We Came in Peace” to “We Came in Peace for All Mankind” and the removal of “Act of Congress 2009”. These recommendations were followed for the final design. The CCAC also recommended identifying the two space missions on the reverse. This recommendation was not followed.
The New Frontier 3 inch bronze medals are available priced at $44.95 each and the 1.5 inch bronze medals are priced at $7.95 each.