The government and treasury of the British Virgin Islands have launched their first-ever gold bullion coins which follow on the success of the Silver Reverse Frosted Pegasus Bullion coins issued in 2017 and this year. The commemorative coins issued by ...

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British Virgin Islands introduce first-ever gold bullion coins featuring the mythical Pegasus and more...

British Virgin Islands introduce first-ever gold bullion coins featuring the mythical Pegasus

The government and treasury of the British Virgin Islands have launched their first-ever gold bullion coins which follow on the success of the Silver Reverse Frosted Pegasus Bullion coins issued in 2017 and this year. The commemorative coins issued by the British Virgin Islands have often featured horses, especially when celebrating royal occasions and Olympic equestrian events. This made Pegasus the perfect choice for their new flagship gold bullion coins.

The new coins also feature, on the reverse side, a depiction of the mythical winged horse which is one of the most recognised creatures in Greek mythology. Pegasus is usually depicted as white in colour and was always considered a kind-hearted and gentle animal. Throughout his life, Pegasus remained a mysterious creature that symbolised divine inspiration, or the journey to heaven. As a reward for his service and loyalty, Zeus honoured him with a special immortality, turning him into a constellation on the last day of his life. The story of Pegasus begins when Perseus is sent to kill one of the three Gorgons, Medusa, who had writhing snakes instead of hair. It was said that anyone unfortunate enough to gaze on her face would turn to stone. The god Hermes and the goddess Athena came to aid Perseus with special gifts, including a shield which Perseus used as a mirror so that he did not look directly at Medusa. When Perseus beheaded Medusa it is said that Pegasus was born from the blood of the Gorgon. Many wanted to capture Pegasus, but no one could work out how to tame such a magnificent creature.

The coins are produced by the Pobjoy Mint at their facilities in Surrey, on behalf of the treasury of the British Virgin Islands. The reverse design includes a depiction of Pegasus, rearing up with his wings spread. The denomination of $100, which is equal to U.S. Dollars at an equal rate of exchange, is placed to the upper left of the primary design.

The obverse features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is an exclusive design of the Pobjoy Mint. The year of issue, 2018, is included in the legend placed around the Queen’s portrait.

$100.999 Gold31.103 g32.7 mmBullion Unlimited

The coins are supplied in a protective heat-sealed pack and are available in the United Kingdom free from Value Added Tax (VAT) at the point of purchase. Interested buyers and investors are advised to contact the Pobjoy Mint. For a daily price quote, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.

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South Africa: First-ever commemorative banknotes celebrate birth centenary of Nelson Mandela

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced (14th June) they will be launching their first commemorative banknote series, in celebration of the birth centenary of the country’s first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela. These notes will include all currently circulating denominations R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200. As part of the celebrations, the South African Mint, a subsidiary of the SARB, will also be issuing a new commemorative circulation R5 coin. The commemorative banknotes and coins, including collector gold, silver, and bronze pieces are part of the nationwide year-long celebration and observance of Mandela, regarded by many as the father of the nation.

The South African Reserve Bank is planning for these commemorative notes to be issued into circulation by the 18th July 2018, the actual anniversary day of Mandela’s birth centenary. It is expected that these commemorative banknotes and R5 coins will co-circulate for a limited time, together with the current Mandela banknote series originally introduced in 2013 and the existing bi-metallic R5 coin that was introduced in 2004, with all notes and coins remaining legal tender.

Mandela in 1962.

As with the currently circulating “Madiba” banknotes introduced in 2013, the face side of all the new commemorative notes retains the same portrait of the late president. Each reverse of the five notes includes a specific scene or relevant place which is associated with the life of Nelson Mandela. The reverse designs of the “big five animals” have been substituted to depict various scenes of remembrance to Mandela. The focal point of each design includes a very relevant photograph, attributed to journalist Eli Weinberg of the Madiba as he was photographed in 1962. This was during the trial heard at the South African Supreme Court and for his sentencing on charges of treason. Mandela defiantly wore a traditional Xhosa beaded costume as an expression of contempt and resistance against the illegitimate proceedings against him. The word MADIBA is placed in a vertical direction and to the left of the 1962 portrait. The new banknotes in the commemorative series retain the same size, colours, and security features as the current banknotes. All South African banknotes are 70 millimetres in height but differ in length by 6 millimetres as follows:

Hover to zoom.

R10: 70 millimetres x 128 millimetres — Green

R20: 70 millimetres x 134 millimetres — Brown

R50: 70 millimetres x 140 millimetres — Red

R100: 70 millimetres x 146 millimetres — Blue

R200: 70 millimetres x 152 millimetres — Yellow-Orange

As South Africa has 11 official languages, the banknotes include all of them and reflect the diverse linguistic and cultural traditions. The inclusion of the 11 languages is seen on the back side of all notes denoting SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK with English being the only language used on the front of all notes.






Additional information about the commemorative banknote’s features and specific descriptions of the back designs of the notes, including additional security elements, will be made available at the time of the official launch. As part of the preparations for the launch, test packs of the commemorative banknotes were made available to members of the broader cash industry to allow them to make adequate preparations in relation to issues such as adaptions of cash processing and cash dispensing machines, ticketing machines, and so forth. While these test packs were governed by strict confidentiality provisions, it has come to the attention of the SARB that certain breaches have occurred, and as a result, some of the designs have been circulating on social media. In order to avoid confusion and unnecessary speculation, the SARB has decided to publicise all the designs ahead of the official launch scheduled for the 13th July 2018.

For more information on the banknote series, please visit the website of the South African Reserve Bank.

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Canada: Mega-sized silver coin features the unicorn and launches new “Keepers of Parliament” series

The Royal Canadian Mint has released new ten ounce coins which launches a four-coin series entitled “Keepers of Parliament” and begins with the only mythical supporter of the Arms of Canada. The first coin in the series features the Unicorn, the mythical creature featured rises up in a way that conveys the towering height of its real-life counterpart. It supports the Shield of the Arms of Canada and carries the flag of what was once the Kingdom of France. The unicorn is the heraldic symbol of Scotland in the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, and it is one of two supporters of the Arms of Canada. The series of four sculpted coins highlights the elaborate stonework figures that watch over the front doors of Canada’s Parliament.

The Centre Block’s vaulted entrance way was still unfinished when the Peace Tower was inaugurated on July 1, 1927. The Peace Tower’s architect, John Andrew Pearson, envisioned it as a continuously evolving monument and unfinished blocks were deliberately placed throughout the building to encourage future sculptors to add their take on history as it unfolds. It was embellished a decade later, when, led by Dominion Sculptor Cléophas Soucy and his assistant, Coeur de Lion MacCarthy, a team of six sculptors transformed the un-carved blocks of sandstone into an intricate display of floral motifs, animals, and heraldic devices—including the unicorn supporter of the Arms of Canada, which has stood at the east side of the entrance since 1938.

Canada is, in fact, the only country to have an official sculptor and the Dominion Sculptor of Canada is responsible for all new and existing carvings in the parliamentary precinct. In May 1982, the shield-bearing unicorn was the unfortunate victim of vandalism when its spiral horn went missing. With great care, an assistant to the Dominion Sculptor painstakingly carved an exact match, and the unicorn was restored in time for Canada Day celebrations, which take place in July.

Hover to zoom.

The coin is designed by Canadian artist Patrick Bélanger, and the reverse depicts the unicorn standing before the ceremonial entrance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, where the unicorn supporter of the Arms of Canada is carved into the sandstone that lines the east side of the arched entry. This mythical creature rises up in a way that conveys the towering height of 1.8 metres of its real-life counterpart. It carries the shield of the Arms of Canada and also the royal flag of France. Gold plating selectively highlights the chained coronet of crosses and fleurs-de-lis around the unicorn’s neck and the three fleurs-de-lis on the banner. The positioning of the sculpted figure is slightly adjusted to allow the inclusion of an ornamental flourish, whose floral motif is based on a frieze that also adorns the Centre Block’s grand entrance. The reverse includes the face value, 100 DOLLARS, and the words, CANADA 2018.

The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt and has been in use since 2003.




Maximum Mintage


.999 Silver

311.54 Grams76.25 mm.Proof

750 pieces

The coin is specially encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded custom case and is protected with an outer black box, accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. The remaining three coins in the series, which are available by subscription, will be released later in the year. The next coin expected to be available will be the Beaver in August 2018, the Soldier in October 2018, and the Lion in December 2018. For additional information on this coin and other coins available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.

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Commonwealth Territories: Collection of crowns celebrate Sapphire Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

The treasuries of Ascension, British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, have issued commemorative crowns which are in celebration of the Queen’s 65th anniversary (Sapphire Jubilee) of her magnificent coronation that took place on the 2nd June 1953. The 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952 occurred last year, and it was especially auspicious as no other English or British monarch had ever achieved such an anniversary.

The coronation took place more than a year after the Queen’s accession because of the tradition that holding such an event is inappropriate during the period of mourning that follows the death of a monarch, and also due to the time it takes to organise such a major royal event. A total of 8,251 guests attended the coronation ceremony with 129 nations and territories being officially represented.

Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch — surpassing the 63-year-old reign of Queen Victoria in September 2015. The Queen is not only the longest reigning monarch in British history, but she is the longest lived at the age of 92, and the longest married — having celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary last year.

The reverse designs on the five included coins in this assembled set are as follows:

Ascension Island, One Crown

Hover to zoom.

The Great Seal of the Realm is used to symbolise the sovereign’s approval of important state documents and the design is an amalgamation of the great seals of His Majesty King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth II. The EIIR symbol with the crown is also shown on the coin with the great seal of King George VI depicted in silhouette. The outer ring on the reverse of the coin is selectively gold plated.

British Indian Ocean Territory, Two Pounds

The lion and the unicorn are symbols of the United Kingdom and are the heraldic supports on the full royal coat of arms. The lion represents England and the unicorn, Scotland. Rather than showing the creatures in a heraldic pose, the coin shows the two animals at ease together with the lion seated behind the resting unicorn to symbolise the unity of the United Kingdom. The English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh daffodil, and the Northern Irish shamrock are also featured with the Imperial crown. Prince Charles received a special hand-painted children’s invitation to his mother’s coronation, which features the lion and the unicorn in similar poses. This coin is completely gold plated.

British Virgin Islands, One Dollar

The design features a portrait of His Majesty King George VI, taken from one of the last coins of his reign, on the right with a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, taken from one of her first coins, on the left. St. Edward’s Crown, which is part of the Crown Jewels used during the coronation of a British Monarch, is also incorporated into the design along with lines representing the bond between Her Majesty and her father. The head of King George VI is incused on the coin and the two portraits have been selectively gold plated.

Falkland Islands, One Crown

The central design features the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, which is used by Her Majesty in her official capacity as monarch. The coat of arms features the lion, representing England, and the unicorn, representing Scotland. The coat of arms featured on the coin has been taken from Priors Gate at Winchester Cathedral. The pattern that surrounds the coat of arms replicates the pattern created on Her Majesty’s coronation gown. The central coat of arms on the coin will be selectively gold-plated.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Two Pounds

The Gold State Coach has been used at the coronation of every British Monarch since George IV. Designed by William Chambers and made by the coach-maker Samuel Butler, the coach features three cherubs on the roof representing England, Ireland, and Scotland, which support the Imperial Crown. The design on the coin features these three cherubs and is totally gold-plated with a sapphire inset into the crown.

The obverse of each coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is an exclusive design from the Pobjoy Mint. Each coin is struck in cupro-nickel with a weight of 28.2 grams and a diameter of 38.6 millimetres. The five-crown set with gold plating embellishments and special effects is shipped in a specially designed album with an image of Her Majesty in her coronation robes and Prince Philip by her side. The wording from Her Majesty’s coronation speech is reproduced inside the album.

For additional information on these and other coins issued by the various Commonwealth Territories represented in this five-crown set, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.

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Japan: 150th anniversary of the introduction of modern imperial government remembered with new silver colour coin

Background photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

The Finance Ministry of Japan has launched (25th May) new silver coins which are in recognition of the restoration of imperial authority by Emperor Meiji, who succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne the year before the new emperor took control of the Empire of Japan. For more than two and a half centuries, Japan had been ruled by a shogunate, a military and feudal system of government. The last shogunate which ruled Japan was founded by Tokugawa (commander) Ieyasu (1543–1616) first shogun of the Tokugawas’ who would go on to rule from 1600 until the Meiji Restoration of Emperor Meiji in 1868. The change ended the feudal system and ushered in what developed into a constitutional monarchy which would see the succession of the Chrysanthemum Throne passed from father to son, or the next closest male member of the imperial family.

Emperor Meiji, or Meiji Tennō, whose given name was Mutsuhito, was born on the 3rd November 1852, in the former capital city of Kyōto as the second son of Emperor Kōmei. Declared crown prince in 1860, he succeeded to the Japanese throne in 1867 following the death of his father. On the day of his coronation ceremony, the new Emperor Mutsuhito took the regnal name of Meiji, which would henceforth be the name of his reign and era. It was at this time that the decline of the shogunate system of government was evident, coinciding with a swift modernisation of Japan. Emperor Meiji was at the helm of his country’s modernising in terms of industry, transport, the start of a constitutional government, and the rule of law. The emperor, unlike his father the late Emperor Komei, had wanted to see Japan in line with many western countries and with his executive authority restored, he was well-placed to carry out this reforms as well as opening Japan to international contacts with the outside world — thus ending more than two centuries of isolation.

In April 1868, Emperor Meiji initiated the Oath in Five Articles, which launched Japan on the course of westernization. The five articles of the charter not only steered the country into an industrial and political path to modernisation, but also culturally, as the emperor wanted his people to rely less on antiquated custom and practise. The five principles included:

1. Deliberative assemblies shall be established on an extensive scale, and all governmental matters shall be determined by public discussion.

2. All classes, high and low, shall unite to carry out vigorously the plan of government.

3. All classes shall be permitted to fulfil their just aspirations so that there will be no discontent.

4. Evil customs of the past shall be discontinued, and new customs shall be based on the just laws of nature.

5. Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world in order to promote the welfare of the empire.

As a result of the emperor’s initiatives, he formally ordered (though did not initiate) the abolition of the feudal land system, which occurred in 1871. The creation of a new school system was begun in 1872 and the adoption of the cabinet system of government was put into practise in 1885, which furthered the promulgation of Japan’s Constitution in 1889. Emperor Meiji also played active roles in the execution of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 to 1895 and the Russian-Japanese War from 1904 to 1905, in which the Imperial Japanese Navy affected heavy losses on the Imperial Russian Fleet. The emperor issued an edict proclaiming the annexation of Korea to Japan in 1910, ushering in the idea of a Japanese empire abroad. The rule of Emperor Meiji came to an end on the 30th July 1912, when he was succeeded by his son the Crown Prince Yoshihito. By the time of the end of Meiji’s era, Japan was dramatically transformed from a feudal country into one of the great powers of the modern world. Japan’s Emperor Akihito, who has announced his intention to abdicate on the 30th April 2019 is a direct descendant of the Emperor Mutsuhito. His eldest son, the Crown Prince Nauruhito, is expected to officially become Japan’s 126th Emperor on the 1st May.

Hover to zoom.

The obverse of the coin is a colourised design of the early Meiji period train station, whose design is based on a coloured woodblock print entitled Tokyo shiodome tetsudokan jokisha machiai no zu by Utagawa Hiroshige. The design also includes the official logo for the national celebrations MEIJI 150th, which is seen to the left of the primary design. The characters denoting the Bank of Japan are placed above the design and the value in Japanese characters are placed below.

The design of the reverse is reminiscent of the coinage issued in Japan in the late half of the 19th century and early 20th century with the inclusion of a classically depicted dragon holding a large pearl, which was seen of the obverse of the 20-yen gold coins issued in the early Meiji period. The inscriptions in Japanese denote the 30th year of the current emperor’s era, the denomination of 1000, and the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the restoration of the emperor’s authority.




Maximum Mintage


.999 Silver

31.1 g40 mmProof with applied colour


This commemorative coin will not be available from financial institutions but will be made available through mail order by the Japan Mint. The sales information, including ordering procedures, will be announced on the website of the Japan Mint from 5:00 pm on August 2, 2018. Please check the information on this website for instructions on placing an order.

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