I can’t help but get a bit excited at this time of year, and now that my Change Checker Advent calendar is counting down to Christmas, I really can’t wait for the big day!
But what’s got me even more excited is to see how Santa’s little elves have been busily working away this year to release the most wonderfully festive coins in time for Christmas.
From all across the world we’ve seen renowned Mints issue beautiful Christmas coins that would take pride of place in any collection and I for one would certainly treasure forever (here’s hoping there’s one for me under the tree this year!).
I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite 2018 Christmas coins from around the world that I’d like to share with you, starting of course with the UK Nutcracker £5.
2018 UK Nutcracker £5
We all know that £5 coins are the ultimate collector’s piece, so I really enjoyed seeing this year’s festive £5, the Nutcracker.
The 2018 Christmas £5 coin features a magical design of an enchanting Nutcracker scene, by acclaimed engraver, Harry Brockway. According to legend, ‘Nutcracker’ represents strength and power and serves as a guardian – the perfect protector to watch over your family this Christmas time.
This is actually only the second time ever that The Royal Mint has released a Christmas £5 coin, and I’m sure that collectors will want to stay on top of this new tradition and make sure they don’t miss any of these coins for their collection, starting with last year’s Christmas Tree £5.
2018 UK The Snowman 50p
I love The Snowman Christmas story and so it came as no surprise to me to see that this coin was a favourite this year, with both Silver Proof and Gold versions completely SELLING OUT on the first day of issue!
Issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate the festive season, The Snowman 50p marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved festive tale and was designed by Natasha Ratcliffe to depict the boy and the snowman flying through the night sky above Brighton Pier.
The Isle of Man has previously issued Christmas 50ps featuring The Snowman and these now sell for £100’s on the secondary market, which I’m sure would have added to the collectability of this first ever UK Christmas 50p.
2018 Isle of Man Wren £2
You might be familiar with the Isle of Man Christmas 50p coins, but this Christmas a very special £2 coin has been issued featuring a festive wren design.
Hunt the Wren, as it is known on the island has become one of the most popular yet more unusual Manx traditions in practice today, although it actually dates back to Pagan times! This year, the Boxing Day tradition has been celebrated on a £2 coin and only a limited quantity of these coins will enter circulation on the Isle of Man.
Typically, the mintages for Isle of Man coins are much lower than UK coins, with none of the previous Manx Christmas 50ps exceeding 30,000!
2018 Canada 3D Snowball Fight 50 Cents
We all love a snowball fight! Chances are though that in the UK we won’t see quite as much snow (if any) this year as Canada. But don’t despair, as this wonderful Canadian 50 Cent coin allows you to bring to life the magic of a snowball fight on an innovative 3D coin!
The Royal Canadian Mint is renowned for their forward thinking technology, and this Christmas they have used lenticular printing to create artist Tony Bianco’s fun-filled design with an illusion of depth, which actually appears to move as the coin is viewed from different angles – so watch out for those snowballs!
It really put a smile on my face when I came upon this coin in my research, and with a mintage of just 20,000 I’m sure Canadian Change Checkers will be eager to add this coin to their collection.
2018 Australia Looney Tunes Christmas Star Shaped $1
When it comes to dressing the Christmas tree this year, I’m sure Australian Change Checkers will be thrilled with this exquisite star shaped 99.99% Pure Silver $1 coin, which comes with protective casing that can be hung as a decoration.
The Perth Mint has produced some fantastic star shaped Christmas coins over the past few years and this year’s coin is no exception. One of the best known animated characters of all time, Buggs Bunny and his girlfriend Lola are celebrated in colour printing for this vibrant and festive Looney Tunes design.
This coin is actually legal tender in Tuvalu (a small island off Australia), but I certainly wouldn’t be spending it if I found one in my stocking!
2018 New Zealand Disney Silver $1
2018 must be the year for animated characters, as the new $1 from New Zealand features the iconic Mickey Mouse and his friends for this Disney Christmas themed 999 Fine Silver coin.
This is the fifth annual release from the New Zealand Mint and has been so incredibly popular this year that it has in fact sold out completely! Although with such an appealing theme and a very low mintage of just 10,000 this comes as no surprise to me.
Like the Australian Christmas coin, this $1 also comes in a special presentation case to be hung as a decoration – just imagine creating your very own tree filled with international Christmas coins!
I’m sure you’ll agree that wherever you are in the world, there’s something extra special about a Christmas coin which brings everyone together at this time of year. Whether or not you’re a dedicated collector, or simply enjoy Christmas collectables, these coins are impossible to resist!
Secure the perfect numismatic gift this Christmas!
With Christmas just around the corner, check out our charming selection of festive commemoratives that could make the perfect gift for friends or family, or as a special Christmas treat for yourself… we won’t tell if you don’t.
In this incredibly poignant year, 100 years since the end of World War One, a number of stunning coins have been issued across the world to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.
Over the year, we’ve been researching coins from all over the world, and the theme that brings us all together in 2018, is the Armistice Centenary. A number of truly stunning coins have been released to mark the anniversary and below are some of our favourites, chosen from world renowned Mints around the world marking this important Armistice centenary anniversary.
Change Checkers have been voting for which coin shown below is their favourite, and the results can be found at the bottom of this blog.
United Kingdom £2
This £2 is the final coin issued as part of the First World War £2 series first issued by The Royal Mint in 2014. Issued earlier in 2018, the design by Stephen Raw features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’, from the Wilfred Owen poem Strange Meeting. The words stand out of a mud-like background in the centre of this striking £2 coin, which was actually modelled in the clay taken by the artist from the Sambre-Oise Canal where Wilfred Owen died in 1918.
United Kingdom £5
To honour the sacrifices of all those who have risked and continue to risk their lives to protect our freedom, a UK £5 coin was issued by The Royal Mint. The coin features a design by Laura Clancy on the reverse symbolic of the resilient and determined poppies that grew amidst the chaos in the valley of the Somme and colour printing has been used to highlight the vibrant red in the poppy design. This coin stands as a poignant reminder of the brave men and women who have lost their lives or have been injured in conflicts past and present.
Isle of Man 50p
This 50p was chosen by the Isle of Man Government to commemorate the First World War Armistice Centenary. As a special acknowledgement to the sacrifices made by the 1,165 Manx men who lost their lives in the war, a specially minted coin featuring distinctive red poppies was presented to each child in full time education on the Isle of Man. Cupro-Nickel versions of the coin without the red poppies went into general circulation. The new coin features ‘The Manxman’ from the top of the Douglas War Memorial and the words ‘Their name liveth for evermore’.
In October this year, The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled these finely crafted $2 coins issued to remember the sacrifices of Canadians who fought for freedom during WWI. Just 3 million coins have been minted – two million of a stunning coloured version and one million of the non-coloured coin, both of which have been released into circulation in Canada. The reverse image by artist Laurie McGaw features a soldier’s helmet in the centre to represent the many lives lost during WWI and the large poppy beneath it is inspired by the Canadian poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, who died in combat in January, 1918.
US 1 Dollar
More than 4 million men and women from the United States served in the First World War and so to commemorate the centenary of World War I and honor the American soldiers, this Proof Silver Dollar has been issued. The obverse design is titled “Soldier’s Charge” and depicts a soldier gripping his rifle, with the words, “LIBERTY,” “1918,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The reverse design is titled “Poppies in the Wire,” featuring poppies mixed amongst brutal barbed wiring.
New Zealand 50-cent
The 2018 Armistice 50 cent coin follows the Anzac coin which was minted in 2015 to mark the centenary of New Zealand’s efforts in WW1. Designed by Dave Burke, the reverse of this 50 Cent features a coloured red poppy flower surrounded by a wreath and the three silver ferns on the wreath represent the three services of the New Zealand Defence Force: Army, Navy and Air Force. The 50-cent coins were released into circulation in New Zealand but were actually struck by The Royal Canadian Mint, where all 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are currently minted for New Zealand.
Released by The Royal Australian Mint, the new $2 Armistice coin serves as a tangible and visible reminder to all Australians of the fight for freedom 100 years ago. Designed by T Dean and developed with the assistance of the Australian War Memorial, the coin features the number 100 to signify the important Armistice Centenary Anniversary, and the centre zero features a red coloured poppy. The coin features a ‘C’ mintmark, meaning the coin has been struck at the Canberra Mint and is a stunning keepsake in this centenary year.
Issued by La Monnaie de Paris (The Paris Mint), this €2 coin features a cornflower, a symbol of remembrance in France. This dates back to WWI as soldier’s uniforms were blue and these flowers, as well as poppies, continued to grow in land devastated by war. The flower also symbolizes delicacy and innocence.
Hungary HUF 2,000
The Magyar Nemzeti Bank in Hungary paid homage to the heroic efforts and the sacrifice made by Hungarian soldiers by issuing a 2,000 HUF collector coin. The dominant design featured on the obverse shows a section of a world map with Europe as the centre and starred settlement names in boxes where the most significant battles took place involving Hungarian soldiers. The reverse depicts a scene from the trenches, showing trench warfare and the tragedy of war, as well as the heroism and comradery of the soldiers.
Solomon Islands $1
The Solomon Islands have issued this limited edition 1 dollar coin featuring a cluster of vivid red Remembrance poppies against the Union Flag background. The reverse design has the important centenary dates and the words ‘LEST WE FORGET’. As a commonwealth country, the reverse of this coin features the Queen’s portrait.
Each coin pays its own historic tribute to this significant anniversary marked by millions of people around the world. Change Checker’s voted for their favourite of the stunning coins above, and the results are now in, with the UK Remembrance Day £5 coming in first place, followed by the Solomon Islands $1 and the Isle of Man First World War Centenary 50p.
Mark the historic Armistice Centenary anniversary!
This year marks the centenary of Armistice, arguably the most important military anniversary to be celebrated in British history.
Every Boxing Day on the Isle of Man, communities come together across the island to dance and sing in the streets around “the king of all birds“, the wren, who is paraded around on a decorative pole.
Hunt the Wren, as it is known on the island, has become one of the most popular yet more unusual Manx traditions in practice today.
The practice dates back to Pagan times and is thought to have descended from Celtic mythology and may have been influenced by Scandinavian Viking settlers during the 8th and 10th centuries.
Historically groups of boys dressed up in straw outfits, known as ‘wren boys’ would gather on St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) to hunt a sacred wren bird. They would then tie the bird to the top of a decorative pole and visit different houses, singing to receive money or presents for their display. Those who were generous and gave money to the boys would receive a feather from the bird as a thank you, and the collected money was used to host a village dance later in January.
Today the Hunt the Wren tradition is still a popular part of the islands seasonal festivities, and many communities come together to dance and raise money for charity. A replica of a wren is used nowadays instead of harming any real birds, and ribbons which are used to decorate the pole are handed out as good luck instead of the bird feathers.
This unusual community tradition is so special on the Isle of Man that it has been celebrated on a brand new £2 coin and only a limited number of these coins will enter circulation on the island.
But it’s not the first time that the Hunt the Wren tradition has been celebrated on a coin, it was also featured on a 50p coin 24 years ago in 1994.
So to celebrate this new festive coin release from the Isle of Man, what better reason is there to take a look back at some of the festive designs issued on Isle of Man coinage over the years.
Here are a few of our favourites which show off how exciting Isle of Man coinage can be…
Just yesterday, the UK Royal Mint issued the first ever Christmas themed 50p coin to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved festive tale The Snowman™. And it’s safe to say the demand for the much anticipated coin has been overwhelming. It has been so popular in fact that the Silver Proof and Gold versions of the coin have already completely SOLD OUT.
But the Isle of Man have been way ahead of the UK and have already issued a few 50p coins over the years featuring the much-loved children’s character the Snowman. Issued in 2003, the first coin to feature the Snowman and James, the hero of the story, holding hands and dancing had a tiny mintage of just 10,000. Although not many of these coins are available on the secondary market, if you did want to add one to your collection, you’d be looking at parting with a minimum of £200!
The same design was issued in 2008 although these coins were not struck for general circulation. Fast forward to 2014 and the coin features the Snowman and James hugging with a Christmas tree in the background. As we already know, this coin regularly sells for 80 times its face value on secondary market selling sites such as eBay.
The Isle of Man have issued a wide range of Christmas themed 50ps over the last 40 years and it’s safe to say that any of these festive 50p coins would definitely be an envious addition to anyone’s collection. The mintages for Isle of Man festive 50ps have never exceeded 30,000 most likely due to the island having a population of less than 85,000 so it’s no wonder the coins are so sought-after.
Let us know your favourite design ever issued on a festive coin and whether you’ve been able to add it to your collection.
Own the first Festive £2 coin from the Isle of Man
If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:
– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app