George Santayana was a Spanish-American philosopher, writer, and poet who influenced many of the decision-makers in the early 20th Century. In 1905, Santayana wrote The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, where he wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
X is for Xantippe
(Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)
In the chapter, Santayana was emphasizing the need to use every experience as a lesson to improve the future. The rest of the chapter discussed how to apply lessons from things that went well.
What does George Santayana have to do with numismatics? Numismaitcs has not learned from the past and making the same mistakes expecting a better outcome. In other words, the numismatic industry is fulfilling the axiom credited to Albert Einstien: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
What are we doing wrong? Let’s look at it in the context of this week’s news. Following the lead of the Royal Mint, the Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition circulating one-dollar coins with the letters A to Z along with a depiction of something Australian that represents that letter. They call it the Great Aussie Coin Hunt.
Some letters are easy, like G for G’Day or V for Vegemite. Others do not have obvious names. When it came to X, the Royal Australian Mint picked Xantippe.
What is Xantippe?
Aussies were perplexed when trying to figure out who, what, or where Xantippe could be. That is when the Royal Australian Mint revealed that Xantippe is a small farming town in Western Australia.
For the Royal Australian Mint, it was the perfect way to get the message out about the new dollar coins. It caused a minor yet fun controversy that had the county talking about the series creating excitement about finding the coins.
In the UK, the Royal Mint had a similar program called The Great British Coin Hunt. In 2018, the Royal Mint issued 10 pence coins struck with British themes. Along with the other limited edition 50 pence themed coins, the Royal Mint keeps Brittons interested in coins by generating excitement about each release.
In the United States, we also saw excitement about looking for coins. We saw an increased awareness of coin collecting during the 50 States Quarters Program. Earlier this year, there was some interest shown over the release of the W mint quarters. The interest was not as strong as the 50 State Quarters, but people heard about the coin.
But that was for National Coin Week. What has happened since then?
Learn from the positive: by advertising, getting the word out, and promoting the coins, the US Mint is capable of getting people interested. By having the numismatic industry join them, people were paying attention.
Since the end of Nation Coin Week, the numismatic industry has been silent to those outside of the hobby. Most of the promotion has been like preaching to the choir. We get it. We got it. But you cannot keep an industry going that outsiders are claiming is dying.
Numismatics is not dying or near death. Like every hobby, it has problems to overcome. The first step to better health is to expand the base. The only way that could happen is if the numismatic industry does something radical: reach out consistently to everyone.
It is time to learn what worked in the past and stop doing the same things over again.
We can learn lessons from other industries. What about the collector car industry? Nearly 20 years ago, the collector car industry existed but was not that strong. The thought was that getting into cars was expensive, time-consuming, and confusing. Then Discovery Networks fell over the answer.
For Discovery, it started as HDNet, a television channel where they experimented with high definition content. They would create something in high definition and air it on HDNet to test the public’s reaction. Interestingly, the shows about cars were their most highly rated content. Then they contracted with Mecum Auctions to broadcast their events, and the ratings for a niche cable channel were higher than expected.
HDNet was renamed to Velocity. Now it is owned by Motor Trend, who rebranded the channel in its name.
Although the car hobby business was doing well, the trade publications point to the rise of HDNet and Velocity as a reason that the hobby is doing better than ever.
What can we learn from putting cars on television? First, there is an interested market out there that may not know where to turn for information. The shows provide both knowledge and entertainment. While there are shows that have a doctrine-like attitude, most are inclusive of all styles and interests.
Just like in numismatics, there is no single way to collect and enjoy cars. And like cars, there is a lot that can be used to teach everyone about history.
There was a multi-part series about the growth of the auto industry that followed many of the early titans, including Henry Ford, William Durant, and Walter Chrysler. One of the segments was their reactions to World War II, while the story was about how the automotive industry also showed how the country participated in the war effort.
What stories can be told about the 1943 steel cent? What about the “Shotgun Shell” cents struck in 1944 by recycling spent shells picked up from the training field?
How about some fun shows? Numismatic Jeopardy, where the questions are based on answers derived from something numismatic-related. For example, “It’s called the Old Line State.” The answer is on the reverse of the 2000 Maryland State Quarter!
Revive the old PBS show History Detectives and do it with numismatics. After all, they did investigate a coin said to be associated with Annie Oakley and a $6 Continental Currency note found in Omaha.
These are a few ideas. I am sure that others can come up with better ones.
Then again, that may mean that the industry will have to break out of its niche comfort zone and embrace something different.
And now the news…
October 4, 2019
Metal detectorists have made many amazing discoveries down the years in Britain, with a great hoard of 2,600 coins just revealed last month. But there are strict rules regarding archaeological finds made by detectorists. → Read more at ancient-origins.net
October 6, 2019
The Royal Australian Mint is producing 26 limited-edition legal tender coins that will be given out as change at post offices over the coming weeks. The A to Z of Australiana could see you pocketing a Neighbours , Weet-Bix or didgeridoo $1 coin in your small change. → Read more at news.com.au
October 8, 2019
The UK’s Treasury plans to commemorate Brexit by minting millions of 50 pence ($0.61) coins. But like many of the Conservative government’s recent moves, there is a major flaw: the imprint date will be the Oct. → Read more at qz.com
Five coins were found by a soldier while fishing in 1944. He put the coins away and forgot about them only to rediscover them again in 1979. When he sent them to a museum for identification, they turned out to be over 1,000 years old. A find like this show the coins predate the story of the island’s discovery by James Cook in 1770.
A Kilwa Coin similar to those found on the beach in Australia (Source: news.com.au)
In recent years, the coins have sparked interest in understanding how they ended up in Australia. Even though they are from a time after the arrival of the Aboriginal people, it presents questions as to whether there were other European settlers before James Cook.
Coins are not only a holder of value; they are also a representation of art, history, and commerce. Coins tell us more about our lives than history, which is written by the victors and not the ordinary people who may have done more to guide history than those whose writings may be less than accurate for their glory or the glory of their sponsors. Nowadays, we call that spin.
If finding five coins on a beach in a remote fishing spot in Australia can rewrite history, what will the coins in our pockets tell future generations about us? What stories do any of the coins we collect tell? While it may be nice to hold a mint state 19th-century dollar in our hands, what impact did that worn large cent have on history? Or the history of those who used it?
The term “history in your hand” could never be more impactful than the story of those five coins found while fishing in Australia.
And now the news…
May 12, 2019
Who needs a boring coin purse when you can surprise shoppers at the cash register by popping the lid on your miniature rice cooker? → Read more at soranews24.com
May 13, 2019
Remember when you were taught Australia was first claimed for the British throne when it was discovered in 1770 by James Cook who promptly declared it “terra nullius”? → Read more at news.com.au
May 15, 2019
The 10,000-yen (US$92) coin costs a lot more than 10,000 yen. → Read more at soranews24.com
May 16, 2019
The Japanese government has announced a new design for the ¥500 coin. The updated version, slated to hit pockets in fiscal 2021, retains the familiar paulownia design but adds a two-tone look and features like microlettering to thwart counterfeiters. → Read more at nippon.com
May 16, 2019
QUEEN ELIZABETH II has her portrait printed on every UK coin in circulation, as well as on the coinage of many Commonwealth countries. Now, a Royal Mint designer has shed some light on a coin which is a particular favourite. → Read more at express.co.uk
With the pre-sale of the Royal Australian Mint’s 2019 two-coin set honoring the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 beginning, a customer service representative from the Mint clarified their shipping policy.
After purchasing the set for AU$177.27 on their website (US$123.96, up 32-cents from yesterday), they charge a flat rate of AU$35.00 (US$22.37) for shipping. Packages are shipped using Auspost eParcel which provides tracking numbers that will be available to users of the U.S. Postal Service’s tracking system.
If there are import fees and taxes, the USPS will collect those from you before delivery.
According to the Royal Australian Mint representative, the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing two Coin Set will not be offered for direct sale in the United States because of licensing agreements. However, that does not affect sales on the secondary market.
Purchasing one set and having it shipped to the United States will cost AU$212.27 (US$148.43) plus surcharges added onto your credit card for the currency exchange.
While perusing my Twitter feed, I found the announcement from the Royal Australian Mint is beginning the presale of the two-coin set honoring the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.
The set features a 2019-S Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Proof Clad Half Dollar and an Australian Silver Proof $5 coin. The two-coin set can be ordered for AU$195.00 in Australia, where the price includes the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Outside of Australia, the price is 177.27 ($123.64 as of May 9, 2019).
The Australian coin has an interesting design. On the obverse, the Royal Australian Mint reduced the size of Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy on the obverse and filled the side with an image of the moon, a radio telescope representing the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, and a part of the transcript of the Apollo 11 mission. The CSIRO Parkes Observatory was one of the ground tracking stations that helped NASA communicate with the Apollo 11 crew.
The reverse features a stylized scene from the moon landing with a color image of the earth positioned in a way to make Australia facing the virtual camera.
The Australian $5 silver coin can only be purchased in this set and has a mintage limit of 10,000 coins. Thus, it is safe to assume that there will be a limit of 10,000 of these sets.
The Royal Australian Mint is selling a version of the silver coin that is plated in nickel and domed like the U.S. coin. The images on the Royal Australian Mint website shows a dark-colored coin that makes the colored image of the earth stand out. This coin also has a limited production of 10,000 coins.
There is also a gold coin and a six-coin uncirculated set that features copper-nickel base coins and aluminum-bromide one- and two-dollar coins. These coins feature different reverse designs than their precious metals counterparts. The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Bodley.
Coins ordered now will be shipped starting on June 5, 2019.
The Royal Australian Mint has not (yet) provided information if there will be a special program for shipping to the United States or if they will partner with the U.S. Mint to sell the set.
If you are thinking about ordering you might want to watch the currency markets. There has been a decline in the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) versus the U.S. Dollar since the beginning of April. Although markets are difficult to time, a fluctuation of 5-percent in the prices is not going to make a big difference.
Aside from waiting for answers to my questions from the Royal Australian Mint, I will watch the markets for the next two weeks to see if I can save money if the AUD dips below 60-cents to the USD.
Coin images courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint.
Pairing U.S. coins with a foreign coin for sale has been done in the past by the U.S. Mint. In 2002, the U.S. Mint offered the “Legacies of Freedom” This week, the U.S. Mint announced a collaborative project with the Royal Australian Mint to produce a commemorative coin set in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The set will feature a U.S. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Half Dollar paired with an Australian 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing 1 oz. $5 Silver Coin.
The announcement noted that the set will be produced and sold by the Royal Australian Mint with marketing help from the U.S. Mint who will put a link on their website.
set. A limited edition of 50,000 sets that included an uncirculated American Silver Eagle $1 coin and a £2 Silver Britannia from the Royal Mint. These sets were created and marketed by the U.S. Mint with a price of $49.88 per set, noting that the spot price of silver was $6.39 per troy ounce.
Prior to that, the U.S. Mint produced the 2000 Leif Ericson Millennium Commemorative Set that included a 2000 Leif Ericson Proof Silver Dollar and a 1000 Kronur proof silver coin produced by the U.S. Mint for Iceland. It was the last coin the U.S. Mint produced for a foreign government. The U.S. Mint sold 86,136 sets at a price of $63 per set.
Since the set will be produced by the Royal Australia Mint, there are questions regarding the opportunities that may be missed by the U.S. Mint to do the same. For example:
- The press release says that it will be a “limited production set” but does not specify how many sets will be produced.
- Other than the legal requirements that the U.S. Mint shall not lose money on a commemorative coin program and that the half-dollar includes a $5 surcharge, what are the financial arrangements between the two government mints?
- Who will handle the fulfillment of orders from the United States? Those who have purchased items from Australia and New Zealand know that the because of shipping and customs restrictions, items can take 6-8 weeks to enter the United States before it can be given to the Postal Service for delivery.
These questions will be addressed to the U.S. Mint as soon as Tuesday. Even though the U.S. Mint continues to operate during the shutdown, offices in Washington, D.C. will be closed on Monday because of 8-12 inches of snow that covers the region.
And now the news…
January 5, 2019
Coins expected to bring increased security to economies of British territories and dependencies → Read more at theguardian.com
January 9, 2019
A penny that a Massachusetts teenager found in his change from lunch money could be worth as much as $1.65 million (£1.3 million) when it is auctioned off. → Read more at foxnews.com
January 9, 2019
My grandfather was a numismatist. William Evans Mullan II died over the weekend. The coin collection lives on. → Read more at djournal.com
January 10, 2019
Don Lutes Jr. kept the 1943 copper penny he stumbled upon in his high school cafeteria seven decades ago in a safe behind a wall in his Massachusetts home. → Read more at cnn.com
January 11, 2019
Jim Cramer shares his favorite ways to add gold to a portfolio and encourages investing in the precious metal if you’re nervous about 2019. → Read more at cnbc.com
January 11, 2019
BERLIN — Four young men have gone on trial over the brazen theft of a 100−kilogram Canadian gold coin from a Berlin museum. → Read more at manitobapost.com
Here is a way to acknowledge your history and have some fun with it as well.
A Rascals and Ratbacs Souvenir card with attached coin (Image Courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)
After the British discovery of Australia in 1770, they initially settled the colony of New South Whales by exiling criminals to the area. Although there were free colonies in Australia, it became known as Britain’s penal colony. Rather than bemoan their sketchy past, especially since they have moved on to become a successful nation, the Royal Australian Mint seems to have embraced their history to have a little fun and promote coins.
Using its yearly roadshow, the Royal Australian Mint kicked off its Rascals and Ratbags Roadshow Reveal at the Mint in the capital city of Canberra to introduced the Rascals and Ratbags coins. These coins celebrate the 230th Anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on the island nation and the 150th anniversary of the Hougoumont, the last ship to carry convicts to Australia.
The coin is available in Australia as a four-coin uncirculated mintmark and privy mark set, a $1 (AUD) silver proof with the “C” (Canberra) mintmark, and a one-tenth ounce $10 (AUD) gold proof coin also with the “C” mintmark.
(Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint)
Since these are not colored coins they will not be a subject of their lawsuit with the Royal Canadian Mint.
As part of the celebration, the Royal Australian Mint is traveling with a portable press to allow visitors to strike a special Australia counterstamp in their coins.
It goes to show that rather than dwell on your past problems, fix them and move on. Have a little fun at your own expense. It is certainly better than the arguing that pervades the United States.
And now the news…
May 9, 2018
That Makes Cents It’s a U.S. Mint. → Read more at kqed.org
May 12, 2018
Canberra’s coin enthusiasts head to Royal Australian Mint for special roadshow reveal. → Read more at canberratimes.com.au
May 15, 2018
On March 6, Ghana’s Independence Day, artist Yaw Owusu was crouched on his living room floor, putting the finishing touches on a new piece. Stretching over most of the floor, the work sparked silver and copper as the sun bounced off the carpet of pesewa coins — the country’s least valuable currency and Owusu’s preferred medium. → Read more at ozy.com
May 16, 2018
Break out those piggy banks – if you can get your hands on some old Irish punt, you've basically won the lotto. According to The Central Bank's annual report, $270.4 million (€226m) worth of old Irish punts remains unaccounted for. → Read more at irishcentral.com
May 16, 2018
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has arrested a man on suspicion of selling counterfeit 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic commemorative coins. Yasuhiro Kotani, 43, was arrested for allegedly violating the trademark law by possessing the imitations in order to sell them. → Read more at japantimes.co.jp
May 18, 2018
Venkatesh Kandula believes in tracing history through coins. The numismatist from Tuni has around 1,800 coins in his kitty, some that are historical rarities. On World Museum Day, Kandula displayed his treasure trove of rare coin collections at Visakha Museum on Friday. → Read more at thehindu.com
May 19, 2018
OUT OF CIRCULATION SOON These are some of the “Flora and Fauna” and “Pilipino” coin series to be demonitized. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced on Friday the start of the demonetization process → Read more at newsinfo.inquirer.net
The royal mints in the Commonwealth Realm are have returned to court with the Royal Canadian Mint accusing the Royal Australian Mint of stealing the technology it uses to print coins.
In January, it was reported that the Royal Canadian Mint file a patent infringement lawsuit against the Royal Australian Mint when the Aussies issued 2012 Remembrance Day coins that the Canucks claim uses the same or similar technologies.
It is being reported that in March, the Royal Canadian Mint filed additional documents in the Federal Court of Australia claiming that the printing method on the coin that commemorates the Australian children’s book Possum Magic also infringes on their patents.
The original claim included the 500,000 coin run from 2012. With this updated filing to include other Remembrance Day coins, Olympic-themed coins, and other commemorative, the total is now 15 million Australian $2 coins. The Royal Canadian Mint wants all of the coins in the Royal Australian Mint’s possession to be turned over or “destroy(ed) under supervision.”
As part of their defense, the Royal Australian Mint is asking the courts to invalidate the patents claiming there is not enough novelty over previous methods. Those who watch technology patent fights here in the United States have heard this argument before.
A hearing is scheduled for June. More claims and counter-claims can be added to this lawsuit between now and then. Stay tune!
And now the news…
April 16, 2018
What can you give your country for its 70th anniversary? For thousands of school pupils and volunteers, the answer is the sweat of their brows as they worked to prepare a new public 70-kilometer (43-mile) walking path called the Sanhedrin Trail. → Read more at timesofisrael.com
April 16, 2018
An amateur archaeologist and a 13-year-old student have uncovered a stash of thousand-year-old coins, rings and pearls on an island in the Baltic Sea in northern Germany, including items that might be tied to Harald Bluetooth, the famous king who united Denmark. → Read more at npr.org
April 16, 2018
OTTAWA — A legal battle between the Royal Canadian Mint and its counterpart in Australia is heating up as Canada cries foul over “Possum Magic” coins. The Canadian Crown corporation is alleging the Royal Australian Mint stole its method for printing colour onto metal, and has expanded a December lawsuit over red poppies on a run of 2012 Remembrance Day coins. → Read more at nationalpost.com
April 18, 2018
Maloney, author of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act, commended Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc. after it announced its “Campaign for 290,” which aims to attract at least 290 cosponsors to Rep. Maloney’s legislation by Memorial Day. → Read more at hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com
April 19, 2018
The "Half Eagle" is 164 years old and one of only four known → Read more at heraldtribune.com
April 19, 2018
The Royal Canadian Mint claims an Australian Possum Magic-themed coin infringes on their patent. → Read more at bbc.com
April 19, 2018
The Ernst Badian Collection gives insight to Roman history, as well as the evolution of currency. → Read more at njtvonline.org
April 19, 2018
Silver is, like gold, a commodity store of value and is free of counterparty risk, with energy-intensive replacement costs setting the lower boundary for prices (the same energy proof of value that underlies gold prices). → Read more at goldmoney.com
April 19, 2018
The Royal Canadian Mint, which is the official maker of the country’s money, has said the commemorative Australian series, which celebrates the classic Mem Fox children’s book Possum Magic, ripped off its unique process of painting colour onto metal. → Read more at news.com.au
April 20, 2018
A former Bank of Japan employee was arrested Friday for allegedly stealing gold coins worth a total of ¥200,000 ($1,850) from the central bank’s Tokyo head office, police said. Koichi Yakushiji, 54, is suspected of stealing the two gold coins on April 2, the police said. → Read more at japantimes.co.jp
One of the more interesting news items is that the Royal Canadian Mint is suing the Royal Australian Mint.
Apparently, the Royal Canadian Mint alleges that the process used by the Royal Australian Mint to produce the 2012 $2 Remembrance Day Poppy coin used a process that was patented by the Royal Canadian Mint. The Royal Australian Mint says the process is substantially different that it does not infringe on the Royal Canadian Mint’s intellectual property.
The Royal Canadian Mint alleges the Royal Australian Mint infringed on its patents when creating the 2012 Remembrance Day $2 coin.
Reports state that the two sides have tried to discuss the matter over the last two years. When no agreement had been reached, the Royal Canadian Mint decided to sue for relief. The Royal Canadian Mint is demanding that Australia hand over all 500,000 of the Remembrance Day coins struck or “destroyed under supervision.”
Since the Royal Canadian Mint is a crown corporation, it is an independent entity of the Canadian government. It has its own corporate and governance structure mandated by law. For those in the United States, it is similar to the relationship that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have with the United States government. On the other hand, the Royal Australian Mint is an agency in the Australian government in the same manner that the U.S. Mint is an agency in the United States government. Therefore, the Royal Canadian Mint is suing the Commonwealth of Australia.
“The applicant has suffered, and will continue to suffer, loss and damage by reason of the acts of the respondent pleaded above,” the statement of claim filed by the Royal Canadian Mint reads. Really? The Royal Canadian Mint has suffered because the Royal Australian Mint created a coin with a colored poppy for sale and distribution in Australia?
If the Royal Australian Mint infringed on the Royal Canadian Mint patent then there may be a case for relief owed for using the technology. But if the Royal Canadian Mint is trying to make a case based on the suffering of damages from sales of circulating versus commemorative coins, I think that the Royal Canadian Mint may be royally going in the wrong direction.
And now the news…
January 15, 2018
“At a time when our national debt is over $20 trillion, it is more and more difficult to find money for important things like cancer research,” – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. → Read more at womensenews.org
January 17, 2018
Online dealer sold 30kg of gold Tuesday, worth more than $1m Bitcoin tumbles below $10,000 for first time since December Amid the wild Bitcoin ride that’s wiped more than 40 percent off the cryptocurrency’s price in a month, a pattern may be emerging: sellers are switching out of digital gold and into the real thing. → Read more at bloomberg.com
January 17, 2018
Gold’s liquidity and stability have made it an attractive option for investors in recent years. There are many ways to invest in gold. Investopedia lists gold futures, investing in old companies, gold EFTs, gold mutual funds, gold bullion, gold jewelry, and, of course, gold coins. → Read more at newsmax.com
January 17, 2018
After more than a year, visitors to the Nevada State Museum can watch the museum's historic Coin Press No. 1 carry on a mission it started nearly 150 year ago in the same building. The venerable press — which churned out millions of dollars in silver and gold coins during stints at U.S. → Read more at nevadaappeal.com
January 18, 2018
OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Mint is suing its Australian counterpart over the way it prints red poppies on its commemorative Remembrance Day coins. Documents filed in Australia’s Federal Court in December allege The Royal Australian Mint used without permission a printing method patented by the Canadian mint — which is now demanding that Australia’s 500,000 commemorative $2 coins, in circulation since 2012, either be turned over to them or “destroy(ed) under supervision.” → Read more at nationalpost.com
Image courtesy of the Royal Australian Mint and had to be downloaded from Internet archives since it was deleted from their website.
Whenever I comment on using design elements on coins that do not involve engraving I am reminded that one person’s gimmick is another’s innovation. I am also reminded that I have demonstrated a bit of hypocrisy by purchasing some of these coins for my collection including celebrating the innovation of one of these coins. So why do I have a near visceral reaction to the introduction of a coin whose purpose is to commemorate with a non-engraved design elements?
The question came to mind after the Perth Mint introduced the “Charlie Chaplin – 100 Years of Laughter 2014 1oz Silver Proof Lenticular Coin.” The coin is issued by the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu to honor the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chapin’s first movie appearance as The Tramp. The ingot-shaped coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley designed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and an image of Chaplin on the reverse.
2014 Charlie Chaplin 1 oz lenticular commemorative coin from the Perth Mint
The reverse does not use just any image. It is the iconic image of the waddling tramp walking away from the camera. Like the image on the screen, this is a moving image. Using lenticular technology, the image will shift as you move the coin making it appear that Chaplin is walking.
Chaplin was the nascent movie industry’s first megastar. Although Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were the most recognizable of the time, Chaplin was the first actor whose movies were considered a success because he was involved with them. And while there were posters and booklets printed about other stars, Chaplin was the first to be fully merchandised around the world including a Chaplin doll that is one of the most prized toy and movie memorabilia collectibles today.
Even though Chaplin was the phenomenon of this time and I consider myself a fan, I am having a difficult time liking this coin.
In fact, I downright hate it!
I cannot explain why I hate this coin because I am interested in the Niue 2007 Van Gogh silver coin and the Andorra 2008 Renoir 10 Diners silver coin. All three coins are colored coins and ingot shaped, but the Chaplin coin really bothers me.
Niue Island 2007 Great Painters – Vincent Van Gogh $1 Rectangular Silver Dollar with Color and Zircon Crystal Gemstones
Andorra 2008 Great Painters – Pierre August Renoir 10 Diners Rectangular Silver Proof with Color
Although I did not like the Monnaie de Paris 2012 Yves Klein commemorative coin with the blue hand, I did not have this type of reaction. However, I still like the 2006 Canadian Breast Cancer commemorative and circulating quarter with enameled features.
2006 Breast Cancer Silver Coin with colored pink ribbon.
2006 Breast Cancer Quarter was Canada’s first colored circulating coin
One of the differences between the colored coins that I like versus those that I do not are the ones I like do have some engraving involved. And even though I do not like the Yves Klein commemorative, I do not find it as objectionable because the blue hand is an enhancement and not the entire design on the coin.
Not counting the Somalia motorcycle and sports car coins, I seem to have this response where the coloring or design gimmick encompasses the entire design of the coin. Once the coloring or other design elements that are not engraved go beyond enhancements and are used to create the design is when I begin to object.
2007 Somalia Motorcycle Non-circulating Legal Tender Coins
2010 Somalia Sports Cars
It could also be the subject matter. As a resurgent gear-head with an eye toward the classics, the Somalia classic motorcycles and sports car coins appeal to me while the coins with colored birds and flowers do not. As the surviving spouse of a cancer victim, I supported the use of coins to raise money for cancer research by the Royal Canadian Mint, but none of the current hologram coins would interest me if they did not have the holograms.
Color and other enhancements on coins are here to stay. If there were not a market for them then the various mints would not produce these types of coins. It may be something that will attract more collectors and grow the hobby, which is good.
Maybe I should think about these enhancements like I think about cars: I want a car that drives and feels like a car and a coin that is engraved art; I do not want to drive a computer nor a coin that seems gimmicky.
- Image of the 2014 Charlie Chaplin 1-ounce lenticular silver coin courtesy of the Perth Mint.
- Images of the Van Gogh and Renoir coins courtesy of Talisman Coins.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
“In Flanders Fields” was written during World War I by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician stationed in northern France. Aside from being a physician, he was a teacher, poet, and author. McCrea was appointed as a field surgeon and was in charge of a field hospital during the Second Battle of Ypres when his friend and former student Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed in the battle. The death and funeral of his friend inspired McCrae to write the poem.
“In Flanders Fields” was published anonymously in the British magazine Punch on December 8, 1915. However, the index for the year printed only a few weeks later attributed the poem to McCrea. The poem became one of the most popular of the war and was extensively printed in the United States while its leaders were debated whether to join the war.
McCrae died of pneumonia on January 28, 1918 while commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) at Boulogne. He was buried with full military honors at Wimereaux Cemetery near the English Channel 3 miles from Boulogne.
McCrae’s poem has made the poppy a popular and powerful symbol of Remembrance Day celebrated on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the Commonwealth Realm to mark the anniversary of Armistice Day in 1919. In the United States, we celebrate it as Veterans Day.
2004 Canada Poppy Quarter, the first colorized coin ever issued for circulation by any mint.
The remembrance poppy is not as strong a symbol in the United States since the nation did not declare war on Germany until April 1917. The American Legion has used the poppy as part of its fund raising efforts.
Maybe the United States should embrace the poppy as well. Why not create a commemorative coin with a colored poppy as the design and use the seignorage from the sales to support the work of the Department of Veterans Affairs? How about changing the reverse of the Roosevelt Dime to be a red-colored poppy to raise awareness of all our veterans? Using the Roosevelt Dime would give it a needed refresh and would tie both World Wars in one coin. Then the U.S. Mint could strike special silver dime for sale to the public.
Maybe it is an idea whose time has come.