NGC Certifies Medals from the Moon Missions

Posted on 11/7/2007

Historical medal series offers interesting collecting opportunities.

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NGC has just certified a gold medal flown aboard the Apollo 16 moon mission. This Robbins Medal is pedigreed to Apollo 16 lunar module pilot, Charles M. Duke, Jr., the tenth man to have walked on the moon. While a number of medals have been flown on space missions, this is one of only two Apollo 16 gold medals, documented thus far, to have gone in the lunar module to the moon's surface. It has been graded MS 65 by NGC.

The Robbins Company privately struck medals as mementos for the astronauts to take aboard their missions into space and they were not originally intended for a wider audience. Robbins began this medal series, often simply referred to as “Robbins Space Medals” in 1968 to commemorate Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission. Since then, they have been issued for all manned space missions without interruption. The medals have been struck for all Apollo, Skylab, Soyuz, Space Shuttle, International Space Station stints and long duration space stays. Most were struck in high relief, and depict the mission emblem and crew member names on the obverse and launch, landed and return dates on the reverse.

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Robbins medals were available for purchase only by the astronauts who were members of the Astronaut Flight Office. Consequently their mintages are extremely limited, usually between 100 and 450 medals per mission. The majority of the medals were struck in sterling silver. The mission crew members were permitted to buy as many silver medals as they desired for missions they participated in, and other astronauts not on the crews could purchase up to three of them for each mission. The gold medals from the earliest missions could be purchased only by the crew members. These rare gold medals are sometime referred to as "wives" medals because most were flown as special gifts for wives of the crew members. Many were later put into bezels and worn by the wives to the events held in honor of the crew after the mission.

Among collectors today, the most desirable gold medals are from any of the six missions that landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972. The total number of gold medals for all six moon landing missions combined totals just 30 medals.

MissionNumber of Medals 
Apollo 113 
Apollo 127 
Apollo 146 
Apollo 156Note: 3 were forgotten on the Lunar Module and lost
Apollo 165 
Apollo 176 

NGC is proud to have also certified two of the gold medals from Apollo 12, the second moon landing, and one gold medal from Apollo 15, the fourth moon landing, in addition to the Apollo 16 medal mentioned above. For more information on NGC’s services for collectors of tokens and medals, please visit Certification of Tokens and Medals on NGC's website.

Thank you to Howard C. Weinberger for contributions to this article. Mr. Weinberger is the author of two books on this subject, The Robbins Medallions, Flown Treasure from the Apollo Space Program and Collecting the Robbins Medallions.

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