Junes Coin of the Month is Out of this World

Junes Coin of the Month is a NGC PFUC-69 French 2009 10 Euro coin that commemorates the International Year of Astronomy and the 40th anniversary of mans first steps on the moon.

Greetings everyone, ever since I was a boy, I have had two enduring interests. The one is obvious, and it has to do with collecting coins. The other is not quite as apparent and has to do with science fiction and space exploration. This month, my Coin of the Month post brings both of these unrelated interests together into one coin.

The United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. This event was to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations through a telescope by Galileo Galilei. Some of the worldwide objectives of the International Year of Astronomy were to increase scientific awareness, improve science education, and promote widespread access to knowledge and observation. Coincidently, 2009 is also the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrongs and Buzz Aldrins historic walk on the moon. To commemorate both these events, France has released a special 2009 silver 10 Euro coin.

Struck at the Paris Mint, this proof coin is 37mm in diameter and weighs 22.2 grams. The fineness of the coin is 900/1000 fine silver, and the mintage is 10,000. There are also colorized gold and five-ounce silver versions of this coin with identical designs. I bought this coin in 2009 directly from the Paris Mint.

The obverse of this coin has a relief similar to that of a shallow birdbath and pictures a mirrored Saturn and stars in a field of frosted space. Around the edge of the coin is a mirrored rim with engravings and astronomical symbols. The English translation of the engravings is 2009 International Year of Astronomy. The symbols around the bottom circumference represent the sun and the moon and each of the planets in our solar system. Noticeably missing from the symbols is the symbol for our home planet, Earth.

The symbols from left to right represent the moon, the sun, and the planets in order according to their distance from the sun. The first planetary symbol is the winged caduceus of Mercury, the god of commerce and communication. Next is the hand mirror of Venus, the goddess of love. The shield and spear of Mars, the god of war follows Venus. A thunderbolt, an eagle, and the letter zeta or Z represents Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus. A sickle represents Saturn the god of time. A globe surmounted by the letter H represents Uranus the god of the sky, the H is for William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus. The trident represents Neptune the god of the sea. The symbol for Pluto, the god of the underworld, is reminiscent of Neptunes trident except that a globe replaces the center prong.

The reverse relief is similar to that of a convex camera lens and pictures a frosted image of a crescent moon. Emblazoned on the moon is a mirrored footprint to represent the historic walk on the moon of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In the dark portion of the moons crescent with a mirrored backdrop is the coins face value of 10 Euros, the date, the letters RF representing the Republic of France, and two privy marks of which the cornucopia represents the Paris Mint. The inscription around the rim of the dark crescent translates to 40 years of the first steps on the moon.

Finally, I hope that you have enjoyed reading my post and learned a little more about the solar system we live in, just as I have.

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