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NASA Mission Medals
by Balfour

 

NASA Mission Medals
by Balfour

Tributes in Silver and Pewter

The Coin & Medal Collector's Asylum, Copyright 1999-2004.

Struck for NASA by the L. G. Balfour Company of Massachusetts these medals were for distribution to NASA and space industry employees that worked on the missions. They were not originally available to the public but in 1973 the International Numismatic Agency, 96 Prince Street, New York, New York was appointed exclusive distributors to the public for the 13 medals. The medals distributed by the International Numismatic Agency were only available in sets which came in custom designed leatherette chests lined with silk and velvet.

The medals were struck in both sterling silver and pewter. The designs were taken from sketches and photographs approved by the NASA artist and technicians associated with each mission. The medals commemorate the following missions: Freedom 7, Friendship 7, Gemini 4, Gemini 6 & 7, Gemini 8, Apollo 8, Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 13, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17.

These 1 3/16 inch medals are struck in a special three dimensional high relief technique developed by the Balfour Company. These medals have a look like no other high relief medals you've probably ever encountered. The relief is so deep and the angles so crisp that you'll swear the metal in the recesses is tissue thin. The International Numismatic Agency press release in the November 1973 Numismatist stated the Balfour method "stresses the carved contours of the design elements. This unusual perspective involves the viewer as a participant in the drama of each mission." The medals are quite interesting and photography does not do them justice.

The International Numismatic Agency marketed the 13-medal sets in 1973, in the aforementioned leatherette cases, for $150 in sterling silver or $45 in bronze plus $1.50 postage and insurance . Long out of production, they can now only be found on the secondary market. Complete sets in their original cases are encountered much less frequently than individual medals and the number of pewter medals found far out number the sterling silver versions.

 

Collector's Guide

 

  Mission Astronauts Mission Date

 

PIC Freedom 7 Alan B. Shepard Jr. May 5, 1961

 

PIC Freindship 7 John H. Glenn Jr. February 20, 1962

 

PIC Gemini IV James A. McDivitt
Edward H. White II
June 3-7, 1965

 

PIC Gemini VI /
Gemini VII
Walter Schirra
ThomasStafford
FrankBorman
James A. Lovell Jr.
December 4-15, 1965

 

PIC Gemini VIII Neil Armstrong
David R. Scott
March 16, 1966

 

PIC Apollo 8 James A. Lovell Jr.
William Anders
Frank Borman
December 21-28, 1968

 

PIC Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong
Michael Collins
Edwin Aldrin

 

PIC Apollo XII Charles Conrad
Richard Gordon
Alan Bean
November 14-24, 1969

 

PIC Apollo XIII John L. Swigert Jr.
James A. Lovell Jr.
Fred W. Haise Jr.
April 11-17, 1970

 

PIC Apollo 14 Alan B. Shepard Jr.
Stuart A. Roosa
Edgar D.Mitchell
January 31 - February 9, 1971

 

PIC Apollo 15 Dave Scott
Al Worden
Jim Irwin
July 30 - August 7, 1971

 

PIC Apollo 16 Thomas K. Mattingly II
John W. Young
Charles M. Duke Jr.
April 16-28, 1972

 

PIC Apollo 17 Eugene A. Cernan
Ronald E. Evans
Harrison H. Schmitt
December 7-19, 1972


Printable PDF formated version of the
MCA NASA Mission Medals by Balfour Collector's Guide
(9 Kbytes)

This collector's guide and photographs courtosy of The Coin-n-Medal Collector's Asylum where it was presented as an e-exhibit.





ã Copyright Medal Collectors of America   -  2004-2007