A "Mercury" dime that flew on the second Mercury flight, recovered from the Atlantic Ocean thirty-eight years later.Mercury-Redstone 4 Liberty Bell 7 Flown 1936 "Mercury" Dime from the Recovered Spacecraft. A circulated 1936 Winged Liberty Head 10¢ piece in a clear 2x2 holder attractively double matted and framed with a 4" "Liberty Bell Seven Project Team" patch into a signed, illustrated Certificate of Authenticity; the frame is 14" x 12" overall. The dime has the letters "II35" carved vertically on the reverse, likely by Gus Grissom to aid in identification postflight. The text on the certificate, signed by Expedition Leader Curt Newport, reads: "This 1942 [sic] Mercury Dime was carried into space on the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft during Virgil I. 'Gus' Grissom's Mercury-Redstone Mission No. 4 on July 21, 1962. It was lost at sea and recovered, along with Liberty Bell 7, on July 20, 1999."
Gus Grissom was the pilot of this sub-orbital mission, America's second-ever spaceflight, and barely escaped from the capsule as it floated in the Atlantic Ocean after a hatch exploded prematurely. He was rescued, but Liberty Bell 7 sank into the ocean. Near the thirty-eighth anniversary of the flight, a recovery team financed by the Discovery Channel, pulled the capsule off the floor of the Atlantic and onto the salvage ship. Liberty Bell 7 was taken to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas for a painstaking restoration where fifty-two of these Mercury dimes were found in the capsule. They had been taken on the flight by Grissom to be given to fellow astronauts, co-workers, and/or their children. The most recent information we could find is that only twelve of those dimes (including this one) are in private hands, with the balance still held by the Cosmosphere. The NASA National Space Science Data Center website confirms the existence of these dimes: "Also among the artifacts found inside were some of Grissom's gear and some Mercury dimes which had been taken into space as souvenirs." A photocopy of an additional Newport-signed COA for this particular example is included with the lot; it mentions the correct date and engraved ID number. A rare and historic space-flown numismatic item.
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