Niue issues silver, gold ‘Blue Marble’ commemoratives

October 19, 2021 2 min read

Niue issues silver, gold ‘Blue Marble’ commemoratives

By Jeff Starck , Coin World, Published: Oct 16, 2021, 11 AM

The Blue Marble, one of the most iconic images from the American exploration of space, is the subject of two new 2022 coins from Niue.

The Blue Marble, the iconic photo of Earth taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972, appears in vibrant color on the Proof .999 fine silver dollar and Proof .999 fine gold $100 coin.

The photo was taken during the final manned mission to the moon. On the way there, the astronauts snapped the famous photo.

About the photo

The Blue Marble was taken from about 18,000 miles above the planet’s surface.

The photo mainly shows the Earth from the Mediterranean Sea south to Antarctica. This was the first time an Apollo mission trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. In addition to the Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar, almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Asian mainland is on the horizon to the north and east.

To the astronauts, the slightly gibbous Earth had the appearance and size of a glass marble, hence the name. It is most often displayed with Antarctica at the bottom, the traditional map perspective, although from the astronauts’ actual viewpoint, Antarctica appeared at the top of the picture.

At the time, The Blue Marble was reproduced on newspaper covers across the globe.

“It has since become even more momentous, as it has given humanity a new and humbling perspective on its own fragility and that of Earth in the otherwise lifeless void of space,” according to the distributor of the coins, Talisman Coins.

Design details

The obverse of each coin shows Queen Elizabeth II, in crowned profile facing right. Her portrait, with tiara and pearl earrings, was executed by the sculptor Ian Rank Broadley.

The reverse of each coin depicts in the foreground two astronauts of Apollo 17, complete with cameras, exploring the surface of the moon in front their lunar lander module.

The three shooting stars above the Earth represent the three Apollo 17 astronauts, who were the last to reach the moon: Eugene Cernan, mission commander; Harrison Schmitt, lunar module pilot; and Ronald Evans, command module pilot.

The coins depict Cernan and Schmitt on the lunar surface; Evans remained aloft, in orbit, in the command module.

Each coin is encapsulated inside a luxurious clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and satin, and protected by a full color outer cardboard box. An individually numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

The silver coin weighs 31.135 grams and measures 38.6 millimeters in diameter. Its mintage limit is 750 pieces, each retailing for $169.95 U.S.

The gold coin weighs 31.106 grams and measures 38.6 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 150 pieces and retails for $2,999.95 U.S.

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