Dick Johnson's submission initiated the discussion, including a note from Joe Boling. This week Dick replies as follows. -EditorThe following comments refute Joe Boling's statements in the last E-Sylum:
Regarding minting coins of new alloys - forget it. Any such experiments in space will involve milligrams of metal. You will never see quantities brought back sufficient to go into production - most likely never enough for even a single piece.
The year was 1983. My partner and I had contracted with an Australian businessman to sell a certain medal in America. He had purchased the unmanned space capsule that had crashed back to earth in Western Australia. A portion of this relic scrap metal he had melted, rolled into strips and turned over to the Perth Mint. They blanked the strips and struck into half-dollar size medals, whose legend noted the relic status of the metal that had been in space from which the medal was struck.
We placed an advertisement offering this medal in the New York Times. NASA had authorized a private group to study the commercial possibilities of space. One of those committee members saw our advertisement and contacted us. After several telephone conversations, he showed up at our office to talk to us in depth. The first thing he did, however, was stick a paper in front of each of us to sign, swearing us to secrecy, prohibiting us from revealing to anyone else what we would reveal to him.
The discussion from two medal dealers was exactly what Joe Boling states will never happen. And without breaching our confidentiality agreement, I will not reveal the details of what was disused that day. However, I can say both NASA and private groups are interested in alloying new metals in space (without the restrictions of gravity).
Granted the quantities may be limited at first, and the cost of lifting base metals to a space station, and returning the newly formed metal alloy to earth -- where it would be struck medals -- may be expensive. But it can be done. Joe Boling's negativity is anathema to American enterprise attitude where anything is possible. We can do it!
Sorry, Joe, never say never. We may not live long enough to witness this, but I stand behind my statement, there will be a medal made of space-made alloy some day! There is a report in NASAs archives that explores this very subject.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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