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
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
Every year The Royal Mint mark the year’s memorable events and anniversaries that capture the nation by striking these stories onto circulating coins, and 2019 is no different.
Today, The Royal Mint have unveiled the new themes and designs for all the 2019 commemorative coins, and Change Checkers can look forward to some fascinating British anniversaries being commemorated.
50p: The 160th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
As the father of modern crime writing, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy lives on 160 years since his birth, thanks to his iconic creation – Britain’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes™.
The classic tales of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson are treasured reads which have led Doyle to become one of the most famous writers in the world.
Reverse designer: Stephen Raw
£2: The 260th anniversary of the formation of Wedgwood
The industrial revolution of the 18th century shaped Britain’s future and brought about great social changes and technological advancements. Josiah Wedgwood created his pottery empire using modern mass production methods, which we still use today.
Reverse designer: Wedgwood Design Team
£2: The 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings
On the 6th of June 1944, the D-Day landings turned the tide of the Second World War. Allied troops landed at five different beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword for the largest amphibious assault ever launched. This gave them a position from which they could advance into Germany and paved the way for victory on the Western Front and the liberation of Europe.
Reverse designer: Stephen Taylor
£2: The 350th anniversary of Samuel Pepy’s last diary entry
Samuel Pepy’s diary entries provide detailed and personal observations from some of Britain’s most significant moments in history, such as the Restoration, the Plague and the Great Fire of London. His diary has been essential for understanding these events and their impact on people at the time and give invaluable first-hand insights.
Reverse designer: Gary Breeze
£5: The 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria
At her birth in 1819, no one knew that Queen Victoria’s reign would span the rest of the century and make her one Britain’s most famous rulers. She came to the throne aged just 18 years old, at a time when Britain’s Empire was growing and becoming the world’s pre-eminent superpower in an era of unrivalled peace and prosperity.
Reverse designer: John Bergdahl
The announcement of the year’s coins is always an exciting moment for Change Checkers, particularly when the anniversaries are as significant as these.
And now we can now start looking forward to finding these new designs in our change throughout the year!
Own the 2019 Commemorative Coin Set
If you can’t wait to find these coins in your change, be one of the first to own the complete set!
The £2 coin was released in 1986, when this brand new denomination was introduced for the very first time.
The XIII Commonwealth Games was the first commemorative £2 coin and was issued for a non-royal event which gripped the nation. I can only imagine what an exciting time it must have been for people to discover these brand new coins which marked such a significant change in the UK’s commemorative coin issuing strategy.
These coins are considered rare due to the fact that although are legal tender, they were never common in everyday circulation and were struck mainly for collectors.
Six more single coloured £2 coins were struck over the next 10 years before the introduction of the fully circulating bi-metallic £2 denomination in 1998, which has seen 47 different designs in total so far.
So, let’s take a step back in time to 1986 and delve into the history of Britain’s commemorative £2 coins…
Commonwealth Games £2
The 1986 Commonwealth Games £2 coin changed the face of UK commemorative coins, being the first of its denomination to be struck and the first British coin being issued to commemorate a sporting event. The thirteenth Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, and are well remembered for being boycotted by 32 of the 59 eligible countries who did not agree with Britain’s sporting connections to South Africa during the Apartheid era. The reverse design features a thistle encircled by a laurel wreath over the cross of St Andrew.
Edge Inscription: XIII COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCOTLAND 1986
In 1689, Prince William and Mary accepted the Declaration of Rights prior to being offered the throne, which effectively shifted the balance of power from the Crown to Parliament and changed the course of British political history. These £2 coins were issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this landmark Act. There were 2 versions of each coin issued – English and Scottish. The English reverse designs features the Crown of St Edward and the inscription ‘Tercentenary of the Claim of Right’ and ‘Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights’ respectively.
Bank of England £2
When William and Mary came to the throne in 1689, public finances were weak and the system of money and credit were in disarray. The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to act as the Government’s banker and debt manager, and its position as the centre of the UK’s financial system is maintained to this day. This commemorative £2 was issued in 1994 to mark its 300th anniversary. The reverse design features the original Corporate Seal of the Bank of England and distinctive Cypher of William and Mary.
Edge Inscriptions: SIC VOS NON VOBIS (thus you labour but not for yourselves)
This commemorative £2 was issued in 1995 to mark 50 years since the end of World War II. Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, is the 8th May 1945 when armed forces formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany. Upon the news, jubilant crowds sang and danced in the streets of London, New York, Paris and Moscow. The reverse design by John Mills features a dove as “a symbol of aspiring peace; a calm, bountiful and optimistic image”.
Edge Inscriptions: 1945 IN PEACE GOODWILL 1995
United Nations £2
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of World War II with the aim of maintaining world peace and to work for social progress. Since its creation in 1945, the UN has sought to resolve potential conflicts peacefully and fight against poverty, hunger and disease across the world. This commemorative £2 coin issued in 1995 marks 50 years since the inception of the UN, and features flags of nations accompanying the 50th anniversary symbol.
In 1996, England hosted the 10th European football championship and a commemorative £2 coin was struck in celebration of football. The reverse design resembles a football, and is accentuated by the unusual concave surface of the coin. The year of 1996 is prominent, and the sixteen small rings represent the sixteen teams competing in the tournament. The eventual winners of the competition were Germany who knocked out hosts England in the semi-finals.
Edge Inscriptions: TENTH EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the new bi-metallic coin was introduced on the 15th June 1998.
As the first bi-metallic coin ever used in the UK, the £2 yet again revolutionised Britain’s coinage and changed the face of these incredibly popular coins, allowing them to be both commemorative and circulated, which has had a great impact for collectors who are able to find these coins in their change.
Do you have any of the above £2 coins?