Pella banker awarded for pioneering efforts to see Congress authorize 2019’s Apollo 11 commemorative coin

Pella banker awarded for pioneering efforts to see Congress authorize 2019’s Apollo 11 commemorative coin

A Pella man has been recognized for pioneering efforts to see Congress authorize an Apollo 11 fiftieth Anniversary commemorative mint. Michael Olson was awarded the U.S. Mint Director ‘s Award earlier this year for proposing the mints issue the coins in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing after the Apollo 11 mission launched July 16, 1969, landed the Apollo Lunar Module on July 20, 1969, and returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. The coin was issued in 2019 and has won several accolades, including the esteemed 2021 Coin of the Year award.

“ What makes the 2019 Apollo 11 fiftieth anniversary 5-ounce silver proof coin unique is that it is the lone U.S. coin of that size to be struck in a concave/convex fashion, ” OIson said. “ In other words, it is not flat. ” Olson presently works at the Lincoln Savings Bank in Grinnell as a commercial lender, lead government relations. He is an alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa and besides a retired Iowa Army National Guard lieutenant colonel. In 2009, Olson was appointed by the Treasury Department to one of the four congressional leadership seats on the U.S. Mint ‘s Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, which is tasked with recommending themes and designs for all U.S. coins and Congressional aureate medals. It was in 2014, during his tenure on the CCAC, that Olson proposed the theme for the coin. “ merely anterior to heading to Washington, D.C., for one of my final Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee meetings in 2014, I watched the movie ‘Apollo 13 ‘ for what was credibly the twentieth time, ” Olson said. “ And it occurred to me that the fiftieth anniversary of the lunar month landing was coming astir in 2019. I made a marriage proposal to the committee to include this recommendation in the annual composition and it passed unanimously. ” The journey was n’t so elementary, though. The Coinage Act of 1792 stipulates that the U.S. Mint requires Congress to pass a bill in club to authorize the make of a mint. former bills to honor the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Moon landing and NASA ‘s fiftieth anniversary failed. Yet after retentive lobby, the legislation, which was introduced in 2015, passed without resistance and was signed into law in December 2016.

“ Having been involved with the Iowa Bankers Association in their government relations efforts decidedly gave me the tools I needed to get the ball roll out, ” Olson said. “ But I never imagined how hard it would be to get it done. ” Four types of Apollo 11 coins were issued in proof condition ( early samples of a coin write out that are frequently bought by coin collectors ). The five-ounce coins were minted at the Philadelphia Mint, and the rest in San Francisco and Denver. The coins, which, by law, could only be sold in 2019, generated more than $ 8 million in gross. More than half of the funds were directed to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for their Destination Moon display ; the perch were used to support the astronauts ‘ memorial and scholarship foundations. The coins are no longer available from the Mint but can be purchased at Collectors can besides purchase versions autographed by Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise, ampere good as those in original government promotion. Olson presently serves as a treasurer on the board of directors for the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, whose mission involves honoring fallen astronauts and inspiring future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

anterior to the Apollo 11 project, Olson had considered proposing bills to mint coins commemorating Route 66 — an idea he says he may pursue in the future. He besides worked with the Hoover Presidential Library in West branch to put on a ceremony to commemorate the issue of a dollar coin for Iowa ‘s only president, Herbert Hoover. “ On the horizon, in 2026, Iowa will be honored with another coin – this time, a function of the american Innovation Dollar Coin series. Iowa will play a function in recommending themes for that mint, ” he said .

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