|Houston, We Have A Collectible|
|Collecting Apollo 13, Thirty+ Years Later|
by Robert Pearlman
Coins and Medallions
An unknown number of medallions, minted by The Franklin Mint, were given to the crew to fly to the Moon and back. As no landing occurred, Lovell returned all the coins to the Mint. The sterling silver medallions were later melted down and added to non-flown metal to strike the Mint's limited edition set "Project Apollo: Man's Greatest Adventure" commemorating all the lunar flights.
Also aboard Apollo 13 (and every Apollo flight) were medallions specifically created as souvenirs for the crew and their families. The gold and silver coins were minted by The Robbins Company and were purchased by the astronauts. Usually dispersed to friends, family, and VIPs inside the program, the Apollo 13 medallions had a different fate. Because of the late crew change (Swigert for Mattingly), the coins flown aboard Apollo 13 displayed the wrong names. Therefore, when the Robbins medallions were returned to Earth, they were also melted down and then re-struck with the proper crew designation. In addition, an area usually reserved to date stamp the time of the Moon landing was removed for obvious reasons.
Commemorative "covers" -- stamped, cancelled envelopes are easily found with cancellations for the launch and splashdown. Indeed, some of the more desired covers were postmarked aboard the recovery ship, the USS Iwo Jima. Crew-signed recovery covers are scarce and are valued between $500-700.
During the summer of 1995, several companies released toys in conjunction with blockbuster movie. Among the more notable products was a twelve-inch astronaut action figure by Kenner® (distributed by Hasbro, Inc.), a Galoob Micro Machines® set complete with miniature capsule, recovery helicopter, and astronauts, and a "Special Edition" version of the board game Solarquest® produced by Universal Games.
Even a "fast food" toy was released. Hardee's offered kids the opportunity to collect a set of cardboard and metal Apollo 13 pogs inside a Saturn V rocket-shaped holder.
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