L to R, Eugene A. Cernan, lunar module pilot; John W. Young, command module pilot; and Thomas P. Stafford, commander. (photo right) Apollo 10 space vehicle at Pad B, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center. photo credit: NASA


L to R, Eugene A. Cernan, lunar module pilot; John W. Young, command module pilot; and Thomas P. Stafford, commander. (photo right) Apollo 10 space vehicle at Pad B, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center. photo credit: NASA


APOLLO 10: Flown $2 Bill

Launch Date: May 18, 1969 | Splashdown Date: May 26, 1969


6A GT9_A10_A17 Flown Bill_Front.jpg
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About the Provenance

This bill was acquired directly from the personal space collection of Captain Eugene A. Cernan in 2010, who documented in both paper and on film the history of this bill, it's flight status, and its intense personal meaning to him. The bill itself is signed by Gene, and notated as having been flown on Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, and to the lunar surface on Apollo 17. Its condition is a product of the fact that his father carried it in his wallet for many years as a good luck talisman before Gene took it with on all three of his space flights. The condition issues, rather than detracting from the bill, add to its collective historic experience and remain enduring, symbolic signs of its tremendous travels as well as intense personal meaning to Captain Cernan.

 About the Bill

This series 1953 bill, with serial number A10241591A, was first taken into orbit by Gene Cernan on Gemini 9A as a favor to his father, who made the habit of carrying this bill with him in his wallet for good luck. Gene’s father died in January of 1967, before he could return the bill to him. In memory and in tribute to his father, Gene later flew the bill into lunar orbit on Apollo 10, coming within just 8.4 miles of landing on the lunar surface. He also took it with him on the historic Apollo 17 mission, the last lunar landing of the Apollo program – and the bill made its way to the lunar surface, traveling with Gene and Harrison Schmitt in the spacecraft Challenger to the Taurus Littrow Valley. It is the only such bill flown on each of these flights, and the only known bill of any denomination flown on three separate space missions. It is one of the few, extremely rare space artifacts in private hands to have achieved low Earth orbit, lunar orbit, and to have landed on the lunar surface. Additionally, the bill was exposed to the vacuum of space twice – once during the EVA of Gemini 9A in low Earth orbit, and again during the trans-Earth EVA of Ron Evans during the return trip of Apollo 17 shortly after leaving lunar orbit. Finally, the Apollo 10 mission holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the fastest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 24,791 miles per hour – making this bill the only such bill to ever experience such a high rate of speed. As such, it is the rarest and most significant space flown bill of any denomination in existence. 

Captain Eugene A. Cernan signs the formal letter of flight certification, attesting the $2 bills history and 3x flight status. The signing took place in his study in Texas in August, 2010 -- after 44 years in his possession.

Captain Eugene A. Cernan signs the formal letter of flight certification, attesting the $2 bills history and 3x flight status. The signing took place in his study in Texas in August, 2010 -- after 44 years in his possession.

Captain Cernan with the bill and flight certification letter, August, 2010.

Captain Cernan with the bill and flight certification letter, August, 2010.

June 1969 cover scan of Life Magazine, showing the image of the Apollo 10 lunar module in flight above the lunar surface as part of the last test flight before the historic landing of Apollo 11 the following month. On board with Gene Cernan is the flown $2 bill.

June 1969 cover scan of Life Magazine, showing the image of the Apollo 10 lunar module in flight above the lunar surface as part of the last test flight before the historic landing of Apollo 11 the following month. On board with Gene Cernan is the flown $2 bill.

In 2010, astronaut Gene Cernan -- the last man to walk on the moon -- discusses in detail the $2 bill that he took with on all three of his spaceflights in honor of the memory of his father, who always carried it for good luck. This bill flew on Gemini 9, to lunar orbit on Apollo 10, and on to the surface of the moon during Apollo 17.