Saturn V rocket art revealed for 2024 American Innovation $1 coin

The United States Mint is getting ready to put a rocket in your pocket.

As first announced in 2022, the state of Alabama chose NASA’s historic Saturn V to appear on a $1 coin as its example of American Innovation. With the dollar piece now nearing its Spring 2024 release, the mint has revealed the final design for the moon rocket-adorned coin.

“The American Innovation $1 Coin representing Alabama recognizes the invention of the Saturn V rocket,” reads the mint’s website. “The Saturn V rocket was developed to support the Apollo space program for human exploration to the moon. NASA launched 13 Saturn V rockets between 1967 and 1973.”

Nine of the rockets launched crews to orbit or land on the moon. The last Saturn V to fly delivered the Skylab orbital workshop into Earth orbit.

Though the Saturn V flew from Florida, it is associated with Alabama, given it was designed and partially built at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Related: Saturn V: The mighty U.S. moon rocket

One of only three remaining Saturn V rockets as seen on display at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (Image credit: EverGreene)

The reverse, or tails-side, design of Alabama’s American Innovation dollar coin captures the power and force of the 36-story-tall Saturn V by showing the rocket lifting off as a large full moon fills the background.

The design is nearly identical to the concept created by Justin Kunz, a member of the mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. Kunz’ proposal was favored both by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and the members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), a panel that advises the Secretary of the Treasury, from a choice of 11 candidate designs.

The CCAC recommended adding the inscription “Saturn V,” which was adopted in the final sculpt by medallic artist Phebe Hemphill.

The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), which also reviewed the proposals, preferred a different depiction of the Saturn V, though they noted that they liked the billowing plume from the rocket’s five F-1 engines as depicted by Kunz.

Ultimately, the decision was made by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.

The obverse, or heads-side, design, which is common to all of the coins in the American Innovation series, features a representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile. Created by medallic artist Craig Campbell, the obverse also includes a privy mark of a stylized gear, representing industry and innovation.

The common obverse or heads side of the American Innovation $1 coins depicts the Statue of Liberty. (Image credit: U.S. Mint/collectSPACE.com)