?On July 20, 1969, two American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, landed on the moon and became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface. Upon their return from the Apollo 11 mission, the astronauts were granted an audience with Pope Paul VI on October 16, 1969, part of the Giant Step tour. At that visit, the Pope presented them with multiple gifts and medals. Interestingly, the gold medal featured in lot 1073 of our June 2022 auction, a Pius XI award, is not listed as an official award to Aldrin from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and instead appears to be a personal gift from Pope Paul VI himself. The words "dono dedit" (as a gift) allude to this. None of the other Pius XI medals we have researched exhibit such language. As such, this medal is one of a highly personal nature from the head of the Catholic church to one of the most famous astronauts of all time. ?