New Frontier Bronze Medals

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.

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  1. says

    Wow, that looks fantastic. Guess I’ll be forking over a little more money when I pick up the WW2 Nisei medal… and probably the Chickasaw quarters, I keep buying them despite the premiums.

  2. PrinceVegeta says

    If only it was silver, I’ll take one for sure. Will these thing ever gain in value? I have never gotten any medals. I really like the reverse. Why couldn’t it have bee silver? The moon has silver on it, and it look like silver, too.

  3. Broooster says

    “if only it was silver”, I totally agree, love the design, would buy more than one if it was silver. I don’t really collect medals, but might have to make an exception on this one. I will have to ponder over it for a little while I guess.

  4. says

    For those who are unhappy with the cost, the Mint is also offering a smaller, cheaper version here for a price of $7.95:

    It’s certainly one thing to not want to fork over $44 for a non-silver product, but $7.95 doesn’t seem too bad to me if you tack it onto an order with some other desired product (such as the AtB coming at the end of November).

  5. Falcon says

    Why is the 3 inch version more then five times the cost? I would have liked to get the 3 inch one but not for that price. Like everyone said it should have been silver. I will tack on the smalled one onto my next order. Love the design.

  6. Wylson says

    Simple geometry. The area of the design itself is 4 times bigger. 1.5 inch at 7.07 sq in. and the 3 inch at 28.27 sq in. It would be thicker also. So probably at least 8 times the amount of material. Not sure if the mint has any info on exact weights between the 2 sizes.

  7. SmallPotatos says

    I will be picking up a few of these (1.5″) and one 3″. i have purchased a few bronze medal in the past, many for persoanl interest. I do agree that this is a great design; and wish the nusmismatic coins were this good on a consistant basis.

  8. Dolores says

    Please let me share this: I was employed at the Kennedy Space Center for many years and had the thrill of meeting many of the Apollo Astronauts. When I worked in NASA Security (am not a big shot – just Administrative) we had a “pot luck” lunch (I made the cole slaw) for the Apollo 17 Astronauts after their mission, these were Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and John Young (I believe John Young was Commander Backup for the mission. Now to see these people on a coin makes me feel so proud. There were only about 20 of us in the room, thank goodness there was a photographer who gave us photos of the gathering – it’s quite a memory. Thanks for letting me share.

  9. MarkInFlorida says

    It should have been a unique first ever bimetal design with the moon parts in silver and the rest in gold.

  10. Matt L. DeTectre says

    Yes, I agree this is wonderful design as is the WW2 Nisei medal. I’ll take a pass though as they are not silver. Unfortunately the mint doesn’t appear to do many medals in silver. The 911 medal is one of the few to my knowledge but I haven’t been much into the medals..

  11. In the Middle says

    That is pretty bad ass medal! I’ll check the finances after the 25th sets are paid for, but I should be able to swing a 3″. Agree with the others that a silver version would of been real nice.

  12. Two Cents says

    If you want to see the other designs for the New Frontier medal that were considered, go to the following link to last year’s Coin Update:

    Anyone remember the large medals made by the Medallic Arts Company (MACO)? They created some of the most beautiful medals, including a series of lunar Apollo missions. I believe they were 2-1/2 inches in diameter, and struck in high relief in bronze and silver in an antique finish (which helped in preventing tarnishing). The silver ones were around five ounces of .999 fine silver. If I’m not mistaken, they were first sold for $5 in bronze and $20 in silver (at a time when silver was $2.50 or so an ounce). You will see them offered on eBay from time to time.

    Anyway, google “Medallic Arts” (or “MACO”) and “Apollo” and “medal” (or “medals” or “medallions”) and be impressed.

    I too would love to see the New Frontier medals in silver. However, like Wylson said, the amount of silver needed for the three inch version would be significantly greater than the ATB coins. One of the things that held up production of the ATB 5-ouncers was solving the problem of a large diameter, slim thickness coin (to come out to exactly five ounces). The New Frontier medals would have to be thicker to account for the high-relief design and the necessary striking pressure.

    The Medallic Arts medals were 2-1/2 inches in diameter with five ounces of pure silver and were quite thick. As another comparison, the Mint made the Statue of Liberty National Medals in 1986 for the statue’s 100th Anniversary, and they were three inches in diameter and contained around eight ounces of silver.

    It would be great if the Mint made medals for all of the manned Apollo missions beginning with Apollo 7, plus an Apollo 1 memorial medal. That would be a popular series, whether it was done in bronze or silver.

  13. MarkInFlorida says

    If people are wondering, precious metals are falling today because the other markets are crashing and people are selling PM because they need cash to cover their margin calls.

  14. Hidalgo says

    For y’all –

    Are you aware that the 2011 First Spouse medal set will be put on sale on December 1, 2011?

    I plan to buy the Nisei, New Frontier, and 2011 First Spouse set at one time to save on shipping costs.

    I don’t care about appreciation in value. These are great medals for a collector.

  15. Wylson says

    I agree with the above comment. I’m looking to get all these medals at once. Maybe throw in silver proof set or two.

  16. jason says

    are the 3″ medals made the same as the 1.5″ ones? i guess i mean is the quality of the 3″ medals better? some of my spouse medals have scratches on them. will probably pick up the frontier bronze when i get my spouse medals this year. i wish the spouse medals did not start with the new packaging in 2010 before most of the other coin sets.

  17. Crohnos says

    I just received my 3″ medal in the mail yesterday. Ok, so normally I buy items based on at least an assumption they will become more valuable in the future… any silver product seems like a good bet for this. However, I couldn’t let this medal pass by even if it never becomes worth more than what it is. I remember the moon shots as a kid and being glued to the B&W TV to see what would happen. I wanted to be an astronaut after Buzz made it to the moon… Of course, it didn’t happen, but what a dream. I think this medal is an outstanding piece to own, just from a historical perspective if nothing else. Now that NASA is nothing but a shell, this pays tribute to a time in our history when we were leading the world in innovation and heroisim. Remember Apollo 13? The whole world held it’s breath until our boys came home safe, and that only happended due to the innovation and “can do” attitude of the folks at NASA. The medal came in a plain cardboard box and a plastic stand for display. It is currently on top of my entertainment cabinet above the TV where I plan to place a small model Saturn V rocket as well. Personally, I love this medal. It’s big and heavey and beautifully detaild. My recommendation is to buy one!

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