The government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (15th March) two new crown coins, their first-ever produced in coloured titanium. The coins, befittingly, feature one of the territory’s most familiar reptilian residents, ...

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British Indian Ocean Territory: Indigenous green turtle featured on new titanium colour crown and more...

British Indian Ocean Territory: Indigenous green turtle featured on new titanium colour crown

The government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (15th March) two new crown coins, their first-ever produced in coloured titanium. The coins, befittingly, feature one of the territory’s most familiar reptilian residents, the green turtle. Also known by its scientific name, Chelonia mydas, this large sea turtle takes its name not from its shell, which is brown to black in colour, but from the color of the fat found beneath its carapace. These migratory herbivores often inhabit shallow lagoons but also travel long distances between feeding and nesting grounds. One of the places green turtles can be found nesting is on the beaches of the Chagos Islands, specifically Diego Garcia, which is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Between 400 and 800 of these majestic animals nest annually throughout the Chagos and are well protected. This protection is most evident in Diego Garcia, where approximately 50 percent of the whole island is a protected nature reserve. It is here that the adult females can lay their eggs without the threat of human intervention. The green turtle’s diet changes as it grows. As juveniles they are carnivorous, but as they mature their diet changes to include more and more vegetation. Fully mature adults are often strict herbivores. The turtles’ feeding trips usually last about 5 minutes, but they can actually hold their breath underwater for up to 5 hours.

The coins are produced by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The reverse design, which is shared by both the green-shaded titanium and the cupro-nickel versions, depicts a pair of turtles swimming in unison with the sun warming their shells.

The obverse features the Pobjoy Mint’s exclusive effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, along with the year of issue.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit
£2 Titanium 10 g 38.1 mm Brilliant Unc. 7,500
£2 Cupro-nickel 28.2 g 38.6 mm Brilliant Unc. 10,000

As titanium reacts differently with every strike, each Green Turtle coin is technically different from all others and varies slightly in colour. There is also a lined effect present on the coins that is unique to this metal. The minting process has managed to capture a high level of detail on the shells of the turtles—a feat that is especially difficult on titanium coins, due to the hardness of the metal.

The cupro-nickel coin is shipped in a Pobjoy Mint branded blue presentation pouch. The titanium coin is shipped encapsulated in an acrylic capsule for protection and housed in a stunning red box with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins issued by the government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.   ❑


Canada: 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup celebrated on new 25¢ circulation coin

Press release courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

(Ottawa)—One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the former governor general of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston, donated a silver challenge cup to recognize the best amateur hockey team in in the country. Today the legendary Stanley Cup is making a Canadian homecoming in the form of millions of 25-cent commemorative circulation coins issued by the Mint in celebration of this milestone anniversary. This special coin was unveiled March 16 at Rideau Hall by David Johnston, governor general of Canada, and Royal Canadian Mint president and CEO Sandra Hanington.

“The celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup is a perfect example of the pride and excitement Canadians will feel throughout the experience of Canada 150, and the government of Canada is proud that the Royal Canadian Mint has created a special circulation coin in its honor,” said Bill Morneau, minister of finance. “Millions of Canadians who are united by their shared love of hockey can now collect this coin as a way to relive their favorite moments of the quest for the ultimate symbol of hockey excellence.”

“As the ultimate symbol of Canadians’ passion for hockey, the Stanley Cup is woven into the fabric of our culture and identity, and marking its 125th anniversary on a 25-cent circulation coin is one of the best ways to celebrate their pride,” said Sandra Hanington. “The legacy of the Stanley Cup, along with the many precious memories it holds, can forever be treasured by millions of Canadians who find this coin in their change and save it is as a symbol of Canadian hockey glory.”

Designed by British Columbia artist Steve Hepburn, the reverse of this new 25-cent circulation coin depicts the Stanley Cup, flanked by two hockey players—one in period uniform and the other in modern-day uniform. Together, these players represent the Stanley Cup’s rich history. A total of 12.5 million coins will begin circulating on March 17.

The obverse features Susanna Blunt’s effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which has been included on all Canadian circulation coins and many commemorative and collector coins since 2003.

Hockey fans across Canada can start looking for this coin in their change; attend coin exchanges at the Mint’s Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Vancouver boutiques; or obtain limited quantities through an online coin exchange at (limited to Canada only).

The Mint is also celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup by issuing specially wrapped collector rolls of forty 25-cent coins. Limited to 50,000 commemorative rolls, this limited-edition product retails for $22.95 CAD. More information on this product can be found at

Editor’s note: U.S. customers can preorder the coins on ebay, where single coins are currently listed for about $3 to $5 (U.S.), including shipping.  


Canada: “The Sugar Shack” captures iconic practice of making maple syrup

(Background photo courtesy U.S. Library of Congress)

The Royal Canadian Mint have launched a silver coin that pays tribute to one of the country’s best-known commodities: that of delicious maple syrup. Going back almost to the time of the first inhabitants of the region now known as Canada, the process of collecting maple sap and turning it into syrup has been part of life for literally generations.

The tradition of maple syrup dates back to Canada’s First Nations people, who introduced it to the settlers of New France. They, in turn, developed it into an industry that would make Canada internationally renowned as the primary producer of this tasty and unique treat. When it comes to the production of maple products, Canada is a world leader, providing a staggering 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup. Although Canada’s “maple belt” stretches from the western edges of Manitoba eastward to Nova Scotia, the primary producer is the province of Quebec, which produces 91% of Canadian maple syrup.

While maple syrup can be made from the sap of several maple species, the sap of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree boasts the ideal sugar content that makes Canada’s maple syrup so highly sought-after. In the summer and fall, the tree builds up starch reserves that mature over winter. The sugaring-off process is started by the freeze-thaw cycle of early spring, when cold nights followed by daytime temperatures above freezing (0º Celsius or 32º Fahrenheit) cause the sap to build up pressure within the tree.

As groundwater naturally mixes with the maple’s now-sugary sap, a tap-hole is bored into the tree, allowing this clear liquid to flow into buckets or through a tubed collection system leading back to a storage tank. The sap is then boiled down in the sugarhouse. It takes about 40 litres (or 10-1/2) gallons of sap to make just 1 litre (about 1 quart) of pure, delectable maple syrup. The process is simple yet time consuming. As the water content evaporates, the caramelized liquid thickens to a sweet golden syrup that, once filtered and graded for quality, eventually finds its way onto your breakfast table as the perfect topping for a hearty pancake breakfast.

Designed by Canadian artist Tony Bianco, the coin captures the wonder of a quintessentially Canadian tradition. The engraved scene is set in early spring, when the temperatures slowly climb during the day but fall again after sunset. The application of vibrant colour on the coin adds several focal points along the leafless landscape, which is otherwise dominated by silver and white. A sleigh pulled by a team of horses adds a timeless quality to the setting, as does the bright red sugarhouse nestled in the maple grove, where the sap is boiled to produce pure maple syrup. In the foreground, the eye is naturally drawn towards the bright winter clothing of a young child, who wonderingly peers into a bucket and curiously studies the collected sap.

The obverse features Susanna Blunt’s effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which has been included on all Canadian circulation coins and many commemorative and collector coins since 2003. The denomination of 10 DOLLARS is placed below the Queen’s effigy.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit
$10 .999 silver 15.8 g 34 mm Proof with applied colour 15,000

The Proof silver dollar is individually encapsulated and presented in a branded RCM custom box accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Please visit the website of the Royal Canadian Mint for additional information on this and other coins on offer.   ❑

Editor’s note—Although the Sugar Shack coin is Canadian, the vintage photo of a father and son gathering maple sap is obviously from a U.S. farm, as the photo is from the Library of Congress.


The Netherlands: “Lion daalder” reborn in new gold and silver bullion coins

The following is a cross-post from World Mint News Blog’s sister site, Coin Update.

The Royal Dutch Mint have unveiled their newest silver and gold 1-ounce coins, which are based on one of the world’s most well-known and trusted trade coins of the late 16th century. The famed lion daalder (or leeuwendaalder) was first minted by the Province of Holland in 1575 as a means of increasing trade between their many trading ports and outposts from Asia to the Americas, from Africa to Australia, and everywhere in between. However, these very coins were themselves based on an even more popular and well-known coin: the Joachimsthaler of Bohemia, minted from 1519. It was important for the new Dutch provincial coin (whose very name, daalder, was a derivative of the word “thaler”) to resemble closely these well-known coins so Dutch traders could benefit from the popularity and trust enjoyed by Joachimsthalers, both locally and internationally. Early daalders were cut out of silver planchets that were not perfectly round and were relatively thin, so their strike was not very detailed and the image on both sides was less visible than hoped for. In time the coins improved in quality as well as in reputation.

With a weight of 26.79 grams of .750 fine silver, the lion daalder was also popular in the Dutch East Indies as well as in the Dutch New Netherlands Colony (present-day New York). After the British became the dominant power in the New World, the lion daalder remained in circulation with a recognised value of 4 shillings and 6 pence. Besides the popularity of the Spanish “piece of eight” (or 8-reales silver coin), which also widely circulated in the United States from the late 1700’s, it is unmistakable that the lion daalder greatly influenced the American silver coinage—especially the name of the new country’s currency, the dollar, which was first minted in 1794.

During the mid-17th century, the leeuwendaalder became so widely used and recognised worldwide, it pushed many local coins out of their own markets. Aside from the Balkan countries, the lion daalder was the standard form of commerce in regions and states such as Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, and Northwest Africa for over a century. It was not until 1713, when the leeuwendaalder was no longer minted, that it was finally surpassed by the Maria Theresa thaler from 1751 onwards. Despite their lack of production, the leeuwendaalder remained legal tender for some time in the Levant.

The Royal Dutch Mint’s first modern lion daalder restrikes are based on the design originally issued in Utrecht in 1617, and mark the 400th anniversary of this particular provincial issue. Included on the obverse is a standing knight. In front of his legs rests a shield bearing a lion in what is known as the rampant position. (This lion is found on both the Dutch and Belgian coats of arms.) Within two circles of beadwork around the rim is the legend MO. ARG. PRO. CONFOE. BELG.—short for MONETA ARGENTEA PROVINCIARUM CONFOEDERATUM BELGICARUM, or “silver money of the Province of the Netherlands”—followed by the letters TRA (representing Utrecht).

The reverse displays the same heraldic lion in a larger size, and as with the obverse design it has two circles of beadwork around the rim enclosing a legend—in this case, the date of issue, 2017, and the motto of the United Provinces, CONFIDENS. DNO. NON. MOVETVR, or “Who trusts in the Lord is not moved” (“DNO” is an abbreviation of “Domino,” or “Lord”).

The following informative video, narrated by Rene van Dijk (commercial director of the Royal Dutch Mint) and  describing the coins’ production, can also be viewed on YouTube:


Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit
Daalder .999 silver 31.1 g 38.7 mm Proof 5,000
Daalder .999 silver 62.2 g 38.7 mm Proof 200
Daalder .999 gold 31.1 g 38.7 mm Proof 100
Daalder .999 gold 62.2 g 38.7 mm Proof 10

The gold pieces and silver piedfort versions are minted in very low quantities. The Royal Dutch Mint will announce at a later date whether the new lion daalder is the beginning of a new series of coins.

Please visit the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for information on this and other coins the mint offers.   ❑


Hungary: 200th birthday of János Arany commemorated in three metals

(Coin & Currency Institute, Williston, Vermont)—János Arany is called one of the key figures in Hungarian literature and political life. He was a poet, teacher, editor, secretary of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and one of the best-known and most renowned figures in Hungarian literature.

The National Bank of Hungary is marking the 200th anniversary of his birth with a 5,000-forint miniature gold coin, a 10,000-forint silver coin, and an identical 2,000-forint copper-nickel coin. The front of the small gold piece depicts the titles of Arany’s most important works in a golden motif drawing designed on the golden ratio. The back of the coin bears a facing bust of Arany by Miklós Barabás.

Silver 1,000 forint; the design for the copper-nickel 2,000 forint is the same, except for the denomination.

The 0.999 fine prooflike gold coin has a diameter of 11 mm and weight of 0.5 grams. It costs $67.50. The other two coins are each 38.61 mm, but the silver Proof ($76.50) weighs 31.46 grams while the Uncirculated copper-nickel coin ($19.50) is 30.8 grams. All three coins have an issue limit of 5,000 pieces each.

Arany was born into a poor Calvinist family and raised with great care, as eight of nine siblings died of tuberculosis before him. He was a true child prodigy and started working as a tutor at the age of 11 to support his aging parents. He was well educated and as an adult he read the great works of Latin, Greek, German, English, and French literature in the original and did a great deal of significant translation work. His translations of Shakespeare are outstanding. His vocabulary was unparalleled, as he used some 60 thousand individual words in his works, surpassing his contemporaries by far. As the greatest Hungarian ballad writer, he was known as the Shakespeare of ballads—some called him “the notary of Szalonta” for his profession, whereas in his home town he was given the name “the listening man,” likely in reflection of his character.

To order, or for more information on these and other coins of Hungary, contact the Hungarian Mint’s North American representative at P.O. Box 399, Williston, VT 05495 (toll-free 1-800-421-1866; fax 802-536-4787; email:—or click on the Hungarian flag at for secure website ordering. Add $5.75 to each order for shipping and handling in the U.S.A. Shipping to other countries will be based on actual cost. Vermont residents add 6% sales tax. Those desiring to receive information and photographs electronically on a regular basis can provide their email address to   ❑

Press release courtesy of the Coin & Currency Institute.


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