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  Kara International's Skylab-insert medals

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Author Topic:   Kara International's Skylab-insert medals

Posts: 60
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 10-06-2017 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A very interesting article on the process it took to make the Kara International Skylab-insert medallions in 1980.
An Australian entrepreneur named Mervyn C. Cole acquired a 30-pound fragment of the craft following its crash and he is now marketing gold and silver medals that incorporate bits of metal from that piece. This metal from Skylab, described by Mr. Cole as a complex stainless steel-based alloy, forms a central plug in each medal...

Initially, Kara International planned to strike medals made entirely of the metal from the spacecraft... However, with Skylab, this technique turned out to be impractical. First, the spacecraft fragment wasn't big enough; it wouldn't have permitted production of a large enough issue. Second, and more important, the metal proved too hard for normal minting. Eventually, the company hit upon the notion of using Skylab metal as an insert and making the medals primarily of other materials.

...problems persisted even with the modified minting approach. Although they accounted for just a small portion of the overall area of the medals, the space-metal inserts frequently shattered the dies. On one occasion 300 silver medals were found to have hairline cracks and all were returned to the smelter.

The problems were finally surmounted by striking planchets with two matching deep indentations in the center, into which two dumps were placed. This solution was found, as Mr. Cole recalls it, "just as many of us were about convinced the whole job might be an impossibility."

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 38103
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-06-2017 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An example of one of the medals (via Museums Victoria):


Posts: 838
From: Churchton, MD
Registered: Oct 2012

posted 10-06-2017 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have the below medallion in my collection and wondering if the Skylab medallions that contain flown metal were manufactured in Australia. It's interesting that the same font in my medallion is the same as the embedded metal medallion. Could they be from the same manufacturer or requisitioned by same person?

However, as the article attests the metal used was too hard to combine with other metals and therefore an insert was created. That brings up the point how much and type of falling debris found in Australia were used in creation of other whole medallions?

Does the Manned Flight Awareness medallion contain debris metal from Australia, metal used in the creation of Skylab, or metal carried back from the mission?



Posts: 60
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 10-08-2017 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Joe, the MFA coin is from a 16mm film canister from Skylab, different than the Australian piece used in Australia. Not sure on the "1 billion mile coin" where the metal came from.

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