This is the front of an old silver dollar I found on my bookshelf. The reverse side is even better.
As you can see, it was a special minting for the American Bi-Centennial in 1976. On the back, instead of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, there’s a nice tribute to the Apollo mission that put a giant plastic replica of the Liberty Bell into orbit near the moon.
At the time, NASA officials claimed it was more than a thousand times larger than the largest Macy’s Thanksgiving’s Day Parade float. About four months later, when it fell out of orbit and returned to earth in the form of millions of burnt pea-sized pellets, disappointed litigators working for Greenpeace revealed that, in fact, the plastic Liberty Bell had only been about twelve feet across.
Nonetheless, the fiasco ended up costing President Gerald Ford re-election.
I also found this Susan B. Anthony dollar — which is not nearly as old, but it also celebrates the way we conquered the moon and made it our own:
Regrettably, the giant eagle depicted here, known popularly as “Colonel Fury” (his official name was actually “Sgt. Fury”) was not able to return to Earth, due to a lack of oxygen.
An attempt to grant Sgt. Fury a posthumous Medal of Honor in 1985 was thwarted by a Republican filibuster. The space shuttle Challenger exploded the next year.