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Posts Tagged ‘world coins’

The coins born from war and ice…

During its lifetime, The Royal Mint has struck coins for over 100 different countries from around the globe.

But do you know the story of how they came to strike Icelandic coinage?

The ‘inauguration’ of Iceland’s coinage

The story of how The Royal Mint came to strike Iceland’s coins began in World War Two.

After a night where the windows and roofs of The Royal Mint at Tower Hill had been destroyed by enemy action, the very first British-struck Icelandic coins were born as “a glacial wind whirled round the coining presses to inaugurate this coinage of Iceland” (explained by John Craig, The Deputy Master of The Royal Mint, in his annual report).

Prior to World War II, Iceland was ruled by the Danish crown and Icelandic coins had been struck by The Copenhagen Mint.

But the fall of Denmark into enemy hands during the war meant that Iceland had to look elsewhere for its coinage requirements…

First ever British-struck Icelandic coins

It was in 1940 that The Royal Mint received its first order to strike the five Icelandic denominations from 1 Eyrir (0.01 Krόnur) to 25 Aurar (0.25 Krόnur).

The coins born from war and ice...
1940 1 Eyrir. Credit: Numista

This was soon followed by additional orders for Krόnur and 2 Krόnur coins.

Not only did The Royal Mint experience damages to the building during WWII, but the price of nickel also rose substantially as the metal was in extremely high demand for munitions.

This meant it became necessary to strike the 1942 dated 10 and 25 Icelandic Aurar coins in the ‘poor metal’ of zinc rather than the now commonly used Cupro-nickel.

The coins born from war and ice...
1942 10 Aurar made from zinc. Credit: Numista

The new coins series

In June 1944 Iceland became a republic. A new series of coins were introduced in 1946, which remained in use for the next 35 years.

A full rendering of the national Coat of Arms appeared on the Krόnur and 2 Krόnur, complete with the bull, eagle, dragon and giant supporters.

The coins born from war and ice...
1 Krόnur coin depicting the national Coat of Arms. Credit: Numista

Four new denominations were added in the late 1960s, including the 50 Aurar, 5 Krόnur, 10 Krόnur and 50 Krόnur.

Iceland’s first commemorative coins

Iceland’s first commemorative coin was struck at The Royal Mint in 1961 – a gold 500 Krόnur marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the scholar and statements, Jόn Sigurdsson.

The coins born from war and ice...
1961 Gold 500 Krόnur. Credit: CoinArchives.com

Iceland became a free and sovereign nation in 1918 when the Union Treaty with Denmark came into effect on the 1st December. To commemorate 50 years since this historic moment, a 50 Krόnur coin was issued.

In its first year of issue in 1968, the reverse design of the 50 Krόnur included a representation of the Althing (Parliament) building and carried an inscription marking the 50th anniversary of the achievement of Icelandic national sovereignty.

The coins born from war and ice...
1968 50 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

In 1974, The Royal Mint issued a three coin series of gold and silver coins, designed by Throstur Magnusson to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland.

The coins born from war and ice...
1974 Gold Proof 10,000 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

A major reform to Iceland’s coinage

The Icelandic financial market suffered hyperinflation in 1981, which was settled by a major reform of the coinage, resulting in a complete redesign and revaluation of the circulating coins.

100 old Krόnur was now worth just 1 new Krόna. As well as 1 and 5 Krόna coins, denominations of 5, 10 and 50 Aurar were also introduced.

The new obverses, in keeping with Magnusson’s designs, depicted the traditional protector spirits (“Landvættir”) of Iceland.

The coins born from war and ice...
1 – 100 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

Each reverse portrays a variety of aquatic life, including dolphins, cod and northern shrimp.

As Iceland’s economy has been founded on fishing for so long, the pungent smell of fish smelting came to be known as “money smell”.

It’s great to discover more about different coins from around the world, and I’m sure you’ll agree that the stories behind Icelandic coinage are really fascinating.

If you’re lucky enough to have come across any Icelandic coins during your trips abroad, let us 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

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

The coins that find their way into your change…

Coins from Crown dependencies and overseas British territories can sometimes make an unexpected appearance in our change.

Sure, this can be an annoyance as technically the coins are not legal tender in the UK, but from a collecting point of view, new and interesting designs are always a bonus!

In our latest coin hunt competition, we went head to head with 10 YouTube Coin Hunters for a 50p coin hunt and it was amazing to see how many of the teams stumbled across coins that shouldn’t be in our change…

Here are some of the unexpected coins we came across:

2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

Yasmin and I were lucky enough to come across this 2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p in our coin hunt.

The coin features Jersey’s Grosnez Castle on the reverse surrounded by the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Jersey’. The obverse features the Arnold Machin engraving of Queen Elizabeth II.

Interestingly, 2012 dated Bailiwick of Jersey 50p coins were also struck in 2013 and 2014, giving this particular coin a total mintage of 365,000.

Jersey’s coinage is not legal tender in the rest of the UK, but the lower mintage figures of the island’s coins compared to the UK makes them particularly scarce and collectible, so it was a great surprise to find a Jersey coin amongst our 50ps!

Jersey’s coin mintages are significantly lower because of their smaller population of only 100,000.

2012 Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

During his coin hunt, Christopher Collects managed to find a 2012 Freesia Flowers coin from Guernsey.

This beautiful 50p features two crossed freesia flowers on the reverse design, however it is the obverse design which is particularly special.

The coins that find their way into your change...

The obverse features Raphael Maklouf’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey’ above, and also a small Guernsey Coat of Arms to the left.

This addition on the obverse makes the Guernsey 50p stand out when compared to UK 50p coins.

We don’t know the mintage figures for this coin, however it will likely be fairly low when compared to UK figures, due to Guernsey’s smaller population.

2018 Isle of Man Imperial State Crown 50p

The coins that find their way into your change...

Coin Cupboard was very lucky and also found a Bailiwick of Jersey 50p, as well as an Imperial State Crown 50p from the Isle of Man.

The Imperial State Crown 50p was issued in 2018 as part of a five coin set celebrating the Sapphire Coronation Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

A limited number of each coin entered circulation on the Isle of Man, although we don’t know the exact mintage figure for this coin.

The coins that find their way into your change...

The reverse design shows the Coronation Crown and the obverse features Jody Clark’s most recent portrait of the Queen which, unlike UK coins, includes her shoulders.

1999 East Caribbean States 1 Dollar

The coins that find their way into your change...

Whilst you might expect a few British Isles coins to turn up every now and again, we certainly weren’t expecting to find this coin in our 50p bank bag!

In fact, both team Change Checker and Dom Collects came across one of these unusual coins in our change.

This 1 dollar was issued from 1989 to 2000 in the Eastern Caribbean States, but how did it find its way into our UK change?

As a British Overseas Territory, the East Caribbean States currency features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

This, along with the coin’s size which is very close to the UK 50p, means it has managed to get mixed up with UK change and passed off as a 50p.

The coins that find their way into your change...

However, there is one very significant difference between this coin and a 50p, and that’s the shape. The East Caribbean States dollar is actually decagonal (10 sided) and features milling along every other edge of the coin.

You can imagine just how surprising it was to come across this coin in the middle of our 50p hunt, and how unusual still that we weren’t the only team to find one!

It just goes to show how many fascinating coins find their way into our change and why it’s always worthing checking to see if you’ve found a coin which was intended for circulation in the UK.


Secure your Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p coin today!

The coins that find their way into your change...

You can now secure the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p for your British Isles collection.

Click here to secure this coin today.

11 of the world’s most oddly shaped coins…

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

Canada 2018 Silver Helmet Coin Product Image Top - This remarkable new Armistice Centenary issue is so unique its production techniques have been kept a closely guarded secret…

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…

st rugby 2015 coin gif - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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… 

map coin - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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’…

27154 imperial egg cloisonne easter 2015 diamond 3 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

clover coin flat1 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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… 

meteorite 1 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

tower bridge white bk - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

poppy1 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

untitled - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

chinese e1450794042244 - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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…

russian dolls - Discover the world’s 10 most oddly shaped coins...

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

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app