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2019 New Zealand Space Pioneers Silver Proof Coin - Silver Coin

Silver Coin
GBP £77.65
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Technical details
  • 01.05.2019
  • Hannah Fortune, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
  • B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH
  • 0.999 silver
  • 1oz
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • One New Zealand dollar
About 2019 New Zealand Space Pioneers Silver Proof Coin

In the countdown to the historic Moon walk, people throughout New Zealand abandoned their office and school desks to gather around radios. With no live television broadcast possible, local shops had run out of batteries for transistors as Kiwis ensured they would not miss this highly-anticipated moment in history. At 2.56pm NZ time on July 21, 1969, time stood still as Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon’s surface. His famous words were broadcast all the way from the surface of the Moon to Earth: "That's one small step for [a] man. One giant leap for mankind.

The wonders of the night sky have been an integral part of the story of human settlement in New Zealand. Polynesians navigated to Aotearoa - the Māori name of New Zealand - by the stars. Captain James Cook came to the Pacific to observe the Transit of Venus, which helped us to fathom the size of the Solar System.

Immersed in a clear, unpolluted southern sky, from New Zealand we have more stars and galaxies accessible to the naked eye than in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. It is not surprising then that for most of New Zealand’s history, the lines between professional and amateur astronomers have been blurred. Astronomers from all walks of life have made great contributions to science and supported the development of the research institutions that exist now. It is in this spirit that New Zealanders have helped to advance the world’s knowledge about space and space sciences.

In the early 20th century Charles Gifford’s mathematical evidence showed that the craters on the Moon’s surface were created by collisions with meteorites, while Alan Gilmore and Pamela Kilmartin’s current efforts to identify near-Earth asteroids add to the global effort of tracking them and keeping Earth safe. In the intervening years, New Zealand produced such giants of space sciences as Sir William Pickering and Beatrice Hill Tinsley. Pickering, a rocket scientist, pioneered the exploration of space. His work was critical in the Apollo programme and he oversaw the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California for 22 years. Beatrice Hill Tinsley made breakthrough discoveries on how galaxies evolve, growing understanding of the size and age of the Universe and its rate of expansion. We also saw the extraordinary effort of Albert Jones, who catalogued over half a million of variable stars and co-discovered a supernova using only his eyes and a telescope.

Although those mentioned above are just a handful of Kiwis, these bright stars made significant contributions towards our understanding of the Universe, and there are many more who have been and continue to make significant impacts in the worlds of astronomy, astrobiology and space sciences in general. Half a century on from the Apollo 11 mission, while small, New Zealanders can reflect proudly on our nation’s achievements in the context of this giant leap.

Highlights

• Minted from 0.999 silver with selective colour

• Low worldwide mintage of 1,500 coins

• Finished with a recessed background and finely detailed textures

• Released in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the historic Moon landing

• Each coin comes with a unique numbered certificate.

Design

This 1oz silver proof coin depicts a view of Earth from behind the Moon. New Zealand is visible and above it hangs the Southern Cross, in a nod to the stars on New Zealand’s flag. The rim of the coin is designed to look like the inside of a rocket or space station window. The text on the rim of the coin and the Southern Cross will be raised and mirrored, and the moon will have a pitted 3D-like texture. The background will be recessed to create depth.