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All Things Were Possible Then
July 20, 2009

It is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It was quite an achievement.

I remember it as an Iowa summer day and a very late television broadcast on a Sunday night.

It was an event significant enough that it was married to a proposal to honor the late President Dwight Eisenhower on a new dollar coin not made of silver but retaining the old cartwheel's size.

Since nothing moves quickly where congressional authorization is concerned, the clad dollar coins were released in 1971. Collectors received a bonus of a 40 percent silver version that was struck as both uncirculated and proof. The uncirculated was housed in a polyester film packet within a blue envelope and was priced at $3. The proof was housed in a very large hard plastic case, which in turn was put in a brown box. It sold for $10.

The prices sound low now, but at the time they seemed like highway robbery, the proof especially. There was almost as much collector outcry about that as there presently is about $8.95 Lincoln cent rolls sets.

But then as now, that didn't stop a collector population enthralled by the theme from ordering in significant quantities.

The fact you can still buy the proof for roughly issue price nearly 40 years later shows how popularity is the opposite of a good investment. Remember that when you take your Lincoln cents out in 40 years' time.

But the coin always reminds me of my younger self and that warm summer night when all things seemed possible.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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