Today is Chinese New Year, the world’s most celebrated festival, which marks the new year on the Chinese calendar.
Many traditions and customs have been adopted over the years, with popular themes surrounding good luck and fortune for the year ahead.
Chinese Lucky Cash Coin
This coin has been issued in China since 221 BCE and is thought to bring good luck.
The unusual shaped Lucky Chinese 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.
Traditionally, these coins were cast in copper, brass or iron and in the mid-19th century they were made of 3 parts copper to 2 parts lead. Rarer silver coins were also produced and gold coins are also known to exist but are even rarer.
Early manufacture methods of these coins included carving the individual coin directly onto a soapstone or clay mould. This rough and ready approach means that early Chinese coins are very diverse, as each was cast from a different mould bearing the same inscription.
Master bronze moulds were later introduced to gain consistency.
It was in the mid 19th century that the first machine-struck cash coins were produced following the introduction of a machine operated mint in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
These coins tended to be made from brass rather than pure copper and as the copper content decreased and cheaper metals like lead and tin became more dominant, the coins took on a yellowish tint.
Originally the hole in the centre of the coin was used to string them together, creating higher denominations, however in the modern era the coins are strung together and placed round the necks of children, or over the beds of sick people for luck.
Some Chinese businesses also hang Chinese cash coins as store signs for good luck and they can even be seen featuring on the logos of the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank.
The cash coin is also used in Feng shui, where they represent an abundance of resources, personal wealth, money, and prosperity.
It’s always fascinating to learn about world coins and the stories behind their origins.
Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year today? Keep your eyes out for any Chinese cash coins and see if your luck could be in this year!
Own the Lucky Chinese Cash Coin
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a coin that many believe will bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
Each coin comes housed in a wallet with informative Certificate of Authenticity detailing the history of the coin.
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.
Summer is right around the corner and as we start thinking about jetting off on holiday for some fun in the sun, it’s time to organise that all important foreign currency.
But have you ever thought about checking your holiday money for hidden treasures and rare coins?
Having recently returned from a two week holiday in Japan, I’ve got foreign currency on my mind and a few leftover Yen in my pocket!
Despite the growing use of credit and debit cards in Japan, the country still relies largely on cash for daily spending, making coins an indispensable aspect of living – although it did take me some time to feel comfortable handling their 500, 100 and 50 Yen coins! Other denominations of Japanese currency include 20, 10, 5 and 1 Yen coins and 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Yen notes, with 10,000 Yen converting to roughly 65 Pounds.
Since returning to England, I’ve begun to wonder what some of these coins might be worth…
The 5 Yen coin is said to be the luckiest of all because of the way the Japanese pronunciation of the coin sounds – “Go-en” –which is the same as the word for destiny in Japanese and the expression for good luck.
When visiting the many Shinto shrines around the country, I noticed people giving 5 Yen coins as donations, and souvenirs of the coin were available to buy, decorated with ribbons and chains through the handy hole in the middle, which can be used to string many coins together.
Roughly converting to a mere 3 Pence, these coins have sold online for much higher than their face value. If dated before 1959 they could be worth about £7 if in uncirculated condition. Coins dated 1957 are scarce and could be worth around £20 in uncirculated condition.
Japan might not be everyone’s typical holiday location, but you too could discover a hidden treasure when you return from your next holiday, with many European, US and Australian coins proving to be very collectable.
Lucy Mackenzie, our Head of Numismatics says, “I would recommend they do their research before they travel to their destination and pay close attention to their change as they could find a rare coin or mis-strike.
“The minting process is never completely exempt from human error and mistakes happen, when it comes to coins these mistakes can often be worth a lot money to sharp-eyed collectors.”
So which holiday destinations do we deem to be the ‘hot spots’ for rare coin hunting?
Europe is certainly a popular and convenient location for us Brits abroad, but before you think about getting rid of those Euros when you return, keep your eyes peeled for the special edition 2 Euros which have been sold for up to fourteen times face value!
Most sought after editions include the 2011 2 Euro Europa from Greece, the 2008 2 Euro Human Rights coin from Finland, 2005 Austrian state contract coin and the 2007 Monaco 2 Euro featuring Grace Kelly which has become one of the rarest commemorative coins, selling for roughly £1,100.
You might also be lucky enough to discover old tender in Europe on your next holiday. These coins were replaced by the Euro in 1999 but could now achieve an easy profit.
Look out for Irish coins from the 1980s and 90s which have been valued for thousands of pounds at auction. The 1985 copper-coloured 20p and the 1992 10p are also ones to hunt out and have both been sold at $5-$10,0000!
For a hop across the pond to America, you could get your hands on rare quarters such as the 2004 Wisconsin extra leaf high quarter, which eBay says is the most sought after of all due to an extra cornstalk leaf on the design being struck by mistake. This small error means that these coins are being sold online for up to £125!
Also look out for the 2005 Minnesote Doubled-die Extra Tree Quarter and the 2000 South Carolina off-centre error quarter to add to your rare coins collection when on your trip stateside.
If you’re travelling farther afield, the Australian mule could make you a tasty profit of $1,000 and has been sold for thousands online, with one selling for $2,742 at auction in 2016.
The production error occurred in 2000, resulting in a coin that was thicker than usual, with a double rim on the Queen’s side. If this treasure turns up in your foreign change, it’s definitely worth keeping hold of!
I’ve certainly admired the beauty of the coins I’ve found on my travels and always keep hold of a few as mementos, but it’s also worth being extra vigilant and checking your foreign currency to see if you can find any hidden gems!
Have you found any rare coins on your trips abroad? Let us know in the comments below.