One of the most fascinating things about coin collecting is of course the design on the coin – but what about the shape of the coin itself? As minting technology continues to advance, coins are being struck in all kinds of exciting and innovative shapes.
So I’ve put together selection of 11 unusually shaped collectable coins from around the world…
1. The WWI Brodie Helmet coin …
To commemorate the Armistice Centenary, The Royal Canadian Mint issued a remarkable new coin to honour each and every fallen soldier.
Struck in the shape of a WWI Brodie Helmet, it is more deeply curved surface than any other concave or convex-shaped coin I’ve seen before. The design is so unique in fact, that the Mint have kept the minting technique a closely guarded secret.
2. The FIRST rugby coin of its kind…
To mark the Rugby World Cup in 2015, France issued the first ever coin shaped like a rugby ball.
The concave coins proved to be extremely popular with collectors worldwide, with many keen to add a coin with such a unique pedigree to their collections.
3. A coin shaped like a country…
The Perth Mint regularly issue map-shaped coins, taking advantage of their country’s unique and recognisable outline.
This series makes use of purpose-built tooling and die design to give the coin its distinctive shape.
The first coin in the series featured the Kookaburra and was issued in 2012. Since then there have been a variety of different animals to feature on the coin, with the most recent being the Dingo.
4. The ‘Imperial Egg’…
This impressive looking coin boasts beautiful enamelled colour and a shimmering gemstone inlay.
The ‘Imperial Egg’ Coin is based on the work of Fabergé and proved to be very popular with collectors, especially during the Easter period.
5. You’ll be lucky to find one of these…
You certainly won’t find this Four-Leaf Clover Coin in a field, no matter how hard you look! Legend has it that Eve took a four-leaf-clover from paradise as a memento for the wonderful time she had spent there – they’ve been considered lucky ever since.
Struck in gold to a proof finish, this cleverly produced coin could certainly be regarded as lucky by collectors who have one in their collection – as it is now highly sought-after.
6. The Earth-shattering coin…
The extra-terrestrial chondrite that has been set into the centre of this coin was sourced from a meteorite that crash-landed in Morocco in 2005. The space rock shattered into several pieces when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The coin itself has been struck in a concave shape to represent the crater in which the piece of meteorite landed.
7. Is it a coin or is it a bar? It’s both…
This rectangular silver coin-bar features one of the world’s most iconic landmarks – London’s Tower Bridge.
It’s not often that you see coins minted in this shape as the ‘bar’ format is usually reserved for bullion.
This stunning coin boasts an intricately detailed engraving and tiny details can be seen on the Tower Bridge to create windows, clock and brickwork.
8. The poppy-shaped remembrance coin…
This coin’s unique shape and rich red printing on the reverse takes inspiration from the poppy, which has become synonymous throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance and the charitable work of The Royal British Legion.
Issued to commemorate the end of the First World War and to Remember the Fallen, the Poppy Coin is a significant issue that is poignant to many.
9. The coin that sold out in two days…
This remarkable coin is shaped like the iconic Canadian maple leaf, and proved so popular that it sold out at the Royal Canadian Mint in just 2 days.
Canadian Maple Leaf coins are some of the world’s most recognised Silver coins. This issue takes the design to a whole new level and comes complete with a special wooden display case.
10. The coin that combines heaven and earth…
Issued in China since 221 BCE, the Chinese Lucky Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
11. And last but not least…
The playful Russian ‘Matryoshka Dolls’ first appeared in the late 19th century, now they’ve been immortalised on a silver coin.
This oval issue is displayed within special bespoke packagingwhich consists of two traditional wooden nesting dolls placed one inside the other – the coin and packaging are both something that I’ve never come across before!
Are you lucky enough to have any of these coins in your collection, or perhaps you’ve seen another coin that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below
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An elusive British book character has finally made his way out of the forest and onto a UK 50p coin, making his debut appearance especially for collectors!
After months of anticipation, The Royal Mint has now released the brand new Gruffalo® 50p in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Julia Donaldson’s classic children’s Tale.
The Gruffalo has sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide and is adored by children and families across the globe, who I’m sure will now be delighted to see this character (terrible tusks and all) immortalised on a UK 50p coin for the very first time.
The reverse design by Magic Light Pictures beautifully captures the mysterious and unusual beast, described in Donaldson’s book as having ‘two large, curved horns at the top of his head’ and ‘an enormous, poisonous wart on the end of his wet nose.’
Since the release of the first Beatrix Potter 50p coins in 2016 – a collecting sensation, appealing to not just dedicated collectors, but the wider public and fans of the children’s stories too – classic book and film characters have been a real favourite theme for 50p coins.
The release of The Snowman 50p last Christmas created a flurry of excitement as collectors and lovers of the story rushed to add this coin to their collection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the latest fictional character to take to our UK coinage becomes the next must-have coin.
The Gruffalo® 50p is available in Brilliant Uncirculated and Silver Proof quality, with the silver coin featuring colour printing to really bring the orange eyed monster to life. Just 25,000 colour printed silver coins are available and after the sell-out success of the silver Snowman 50p, collectors looking to secure this coin will want to act quick!
From publication of The Gruffalo in 1999 to the film adaptation, to the west-end theatre production and now to the 50p coin, the adoration for this endearing character amongst children and adults alike makes the 20th anniversary of the Gruffalo a wonderful occasion to celebrate.
Own the coin in superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality
This is the first time the Gruffalo has featured on official UK coinage and serious collectors will want to guarantee themselves one for their collection.
The Prince of Wales is the world’s longest serving heir apparent, supporting Her Majesty the Queen as her representative while also playing an important role in founding and supporting numerous charitable causes. And on the 14th November this year, HRH The Prince of Wales will celebrate a landmark birthday.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of our future King, The Royal Mint has just announced the release of a brand new UK coin.The release of this coin is sure to be exciting for Change Checkers in the knowledge that the last UK £5 coin that featured Prince Charles turned out to be extremely rare.
The Prince of Wales has had numerous commemorative coins minted to mark special occasions throughout his lifetime, and to celebrate his 70th birthday we’ve taken a look back at the history of Prince Charles in coins. From his first marriage to Princess Diana, to landmark birthday celebrations and now in 2018 as heir apparent to the throne, he will celebrate his 70th birthday…
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 25 pence – 1981
The first ever UK coin issued in the Prince of Wales’ honour, was for his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The coin was struck by The Royal Mint and was a crown tariffed at 25 pence (although no denomination was actually inscribed on the coin).
It was the first time that three people were portrayed on a British coin simultaneously, with the reverse featuring the conjoined profiles of the bridal couple and the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Arnold Machin RA.
Prince Charles’ 50th birthday – 1998
To mark his 50th birthday, The Royal Mint struck a £5 coin issued in five metal versions, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Prince of Wales’ Trust.
This charitable organisation was established to further the interests of young people and also provides the theme for the reverse, which portrays the Prince alongside a 33 word inscription setting out the aims and ideals of the Trust. This inscription is so long that it actually takes the title as the longest inscription on any British coin!
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles – 2005
This 1 Dollar coin from the Cook Islands was issued to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Camilla, however it actually features the wrong date following a last minute delay to the wedding of 24 hours, so that HRH Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the representative of the Queen. The date was unable to be changed as the coins had already been struck!
The design features a portrait of the couple and the incorrect date ‘08.04.2005’ and has a very low mintage of just 5,000, making it a significantly scarce and collectible coin.
Prince Charles and Prince Charles’ 60th birthday – 2008
This £5 coin was released for Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in fact has the lowest mintage figure in the history of UK ‘circulated’ £5 coins. Just 14,088 of these coins were struck by The Royal Mint in 2008 and was one of the last £5 coins to be issued at face value.
This coin features the portrait of Charles by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, whose effigy of the Queen has been used on British coins since 1998. The inscription ICH DIEN means ‘I serve’ and is taken from the Badge of the Prince of Wales.
This coin is extremely sought after by collectors but unfortunately we do not have any stock currently available. Are you lucky enough to have this coin in your collection?
Four Generations of Royalty
At the start of this year, The Royal Mint released this £5 coin which was highly anticipated from the moment HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born on 22nd July 2013 – The Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin.
This is the first time ever that The Royal Mint has issued a coin that celebrates all four generations in line to the throne on a single coin.
The reverse features an original design by much-loved calligrapher Timothy Noad, and ornately shows the initials of the current four generations, E, C, W, G, and represents the heritage of the House of Windsor.
Prince Charles’ 70th birthday – 2018
2018 has been a truly unforgettable year for the Royals, celebrating the Queen’s 65th Jubilee, the birth of Prince Louis, the marriage of Harry and Meghan and on the 14th of November, the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales.
This brand new £5 coin celebrates Prince Charles’ 70th birthday this year, featuring a brand new portrait of the Prince, created by widely respected designer, Robert Elderston who was once an apprentice engraver at The Royal Mint at its previous home in Tower hill more than 50 years ago.
What makes this coin particularly interesting is that it could be very similar to the portrait of Prince Charles that will feature on all United Kingdom coinage once he becomes King.
The 2018 Prince Charles £5 has now been officially released and is available to order here >>
It’s clear that each coin commemorating a momentus period of Prince Charles’ life has proven to be a rarity in some way, whether it be due to having such a low mintage figure, an unusual design or fascinating story.
As we know, £5 coins are reserved for the most important Royal and Historical anniversaries, and this £5 is the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our future King.