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Glow in the Dark Coin-set for Kids

February 11, 2019 0 Comments

As the average age of coin collectors continues to rise, the idea of getting children interesting in this fascinating hobby becomes more and more relevant. Kids are always fascinating by things that glow in the dark, and the US Mint has obliged with a set that also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, with a simple but effective item for kids between 7 and 12. They have taken two relevant coins and mounted them in a stand-up Rocket-ship that is treated to absorb light and then glow in the dark. The two coins are the recent Native American $1 Coin, and the 2019 classic Kennedy half-dollar.

The $1 coin, which we described in more detail in an earlier blog, serves double-duty by connecting science with girls, as it features Mary Golda Ross, the Native American female engineer who worked for NASA. She is shown with a space-relevant equation inscribed on a cloud. Above her is John Herrington, a Native American astronaut, shown walking in space with a group of stars around him.

The Kennedy half-dollar is perhaps not the most obvious choice, since Lyndon B. Johnson was President at the time of the Moon-walk, but the assassination of John F. Kennedy was certainly a major event of the 60s, and the coin, originally released in 1964 to mark the assassination, is still in circulation and production today, so there is historic continuity. The image on the obverse was hastily created from a medal design by the Mint’s Chief Engraver of the time, Gilroy Roberts, with input from then Assistant Chief Engraver, Frank Gasparro, and also from Mrs. Kennedy herself. The reverse is the Presidential Seal. The coin began life in silver, but was never widely circulated, despite being sold out before the end of the first day, because they were kept as souvenirs. Even when the coins continued to be made, first in a silver alloy, and then entirely without silver, they have never been widely circulated. Many children will therefore not have seen this coin before, and they will hopefully be able to appreciate its historic value.

While the coins are obviously the value in the set, for smaller children especially it will probably be the mounting that creates the greatest interest. Shaped like a cartoon rocket-ship, the mounting has with three coin-slots – two in use for the coins and one intended to be added to by the child with a new coin. The Mint hopes this will motivate collecting, which in turn of course will help their sales, but more importantly, continue coin collecting into the new generations. When the mounting is placed in bright light for at least 5 minutes, it will then glow in a dark room.

The Rocketship is part of a wider initiative by the Mint to attract a younger audience, and two more ‘youth’ releases are set for 2019. All this is being done under the trademark, Mighty Minters, featuring a multi-ethnic group of children, plus a fox wearing glasses and a blue bird. This initiative has been met with a mixed reception on collectors’ forums, and a sense that this publicity may not impact the intended audience effectively contrasts with the desire to encourage collecting and keep the hobby alive. Only time will tell. The set goes on sale on February 28.

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