The Royal Canadian Mint have released a new silver coin which is specifically aimed at gift-givers who have coin collectors on their list. The theme of the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2018-dated gift coin is based on the idea of a “tree of life” or “a ...

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Canada: Tree of life silver coin introduces a special celebration for 2018 and more...

Canada: Tree of life silver coin introduces a special celebration for 2018

Background image by King muh.

The Royal Canadian Mint have released a new silver coin which is specifically aimed at gift-givers who have coin collectors on their list. The theme of the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2018-dated gift coin is based on the idea of a “tree of life” or “a sacred tree” which is found in many early mythologies with different concepts of the tree of life having appeared in theology, philosophy, biology, and mythology over time. To many, the tree of life represents the connection between all forms of life on Earth, and as a link between heaven and our terrestrial world. This concept, or motif, has often been popularised by modern jewellery design, where it symbolises different notions such as knowledge, wisdom, security, and strength. It can also be seen as just a simple and beautiful celebration of life.

A spiritual and philosophical symbol for our world, this tree of life has a golden sheen that radiates light and warmth. The gold plating is more intricate than anything seen before on Royal Canadian Mint-produced coins, especially along the delicate, tendril-like branches that reach up into the sky. Painted leaves also complement the engraving by introducing luminous colours that shimmer and subtly shift in the light. The result is a spellbinding work of art that is both beautiful and meaningful, especially appropriate for a special anniversary, birthday, wedding, or any other important family celebration.

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The coin is designed by Canadian artist Steve Hepburn and illustrates a beautifully artistic interpretation of a tree of life as a representation of the different aspects of our existence. Spreading out beneath the earth, the gold-plated roots anchor the tree and provide a solid foundation for its trunk. The curled branches strike a golden contrast next to the painted leaves. With all of its curved branches and intertwined roots, the complexities of this engraved design display the application of more intricate gold plating than ever seen before. Just above the earth is the engraved word CANADA to the left of the tree, while the face value 20 DOLLARS and the year 2018 are engraved on the right side.

The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is designed by Susanna Blunt, and has been seen on all Canadian circulation and many commemorative coins since 2003. The Queen’s effigy and flat edge are also intricately applied with gold plating.




Maximum Mintage


.999 Silver

31.3 g38 mmProof with gold plating


The coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon custom case with a black outer protective box and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.

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Canada: Annual silver dollar honours the 240th anniversary of Captain Cook’s explorations of Western Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint have released their new annual silver dollar coin for 2018 which pays tribute to the memorable explorations of North America by Captain James Cook (1728–1779) who is remembered in Canada as one of the most prolific seamen and explorers of his time. History remembers Cook as the explorer whose voyages and exceptional surveying skills changed European perceptions of the Pacific region by mapping many unknown shores throughout this vast expanse of ocean. From the Bering Strait to the Antarctic Circle, in addition to many of the Pacific islands in between, this British navigator charted more terra incognita than any other in his time. 2018 marks the 240th anniversary of Cook’s arrival at the summer village of the Nuu-chah-nulth, at Nootka Sound, which led to increased international trade and exploration along Canada’s western shores.

During the first two voyages of Captain Cook, one from 1768 to 1771 and another from 1772 to 1775, he became the first European explorer to reach New Zealand and Australia’s east coast and the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. In 1776, a third voyage sent him on a quest to find the elusive Northwest Passage, which brought his two-ship expedition to Canada’s Pacific coastline. On the 1st April 1778, the HMS Resolution and the HMS Discovery dropped anchor near Yuquot, on the western coast of Vancouver Island. Cook was cordially welcomed by Maquinna, chief of the Mowachat group of the Nuu-chah-nulth, leading the crew to refer to the area as Friendly Cove.

Captain Cook was not the first European navigator to explore Canada’s west coast, but his was the first prolonged stay. During the month spent in Nootka Sound, the crew repaired the ships while Cook explored the area and engaged in local trade, exchanging metal goods for sea otter pelts that soon made the area a trade centre. The expedition set sail once more on the 26th April 1778, on a northerly course toward the Bering Sea. But Cook would not find the Northwest Passage. Stopped by the Arctic’s unyielding cold and ice, the expedition made a return trip to the Hawaiian Islands discovered the year before, where Cook was killed in 1779. His legacy of exploration left an indelible imprint on the history of the Pacific region — and to Canada — where places like Cook’s Harbour, Newfoundland, and Resolution Cove, British Columbia, are lasting reminders of his passage through Canadian coastal waters.

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The coin is designed by maritime artist John Horton, who presents an artistic rendering of Captain James Cook’s arrival at Nootka Sound in April 1778. Towering mountains and the timbered headland of Bligh Island provide a stunning backdrop to this historical portrait, all precisely engraved in a superb Proof finish and framed by a nautical twisted rope. Viewed in three-quarter profile, a stern-looking Cook keeps a watchful eye on his ship and crew while holding a telescope in one hand, his admiralty orders in the other. Behind him is the HMS Discovery, which is moored a short distance away from the HMS Resolution, whose crew is unrigging the ship and removing masts and spars in preparation for repairs. In the water, a group of Nuu-chah-nulth approach the Resolution in a canoe, ready to extend a friendly greeting.

The obverse side features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which was designed by Susanna Blunt, and has been seen on all Canadian circulation and many commemorative coins since 2003.




Maximum Mintage


.999 Silver

23.1 g36 mmProof



.999 Silver

23.1 g36 mmProof with selective gold plating


The annual issue silver dollar is available as a separate purchase and is encapsulated in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon custom case with a black outer protective box, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The Proof dollar, which is accented with selective gold plating highlighting portions of the obverse and reverse design, is only available as part of the seven-coin *Premium Silver Proof Set. For additional information on this and other coins available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.

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A preview of the world and ancient coins at the NYINC Stack’s Bowers auction

By Dennis Hengeveld

The New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) is one of the most prestigious shows focused on ancient and world numismatics. Organized in 2018 from January 12 to 14 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, it has moved down the street from its long-time home at the Waldorf Astoria. In conjunction with the show, a large number of auctions take place before, during, and after the actual show, offering a plethora of numismatic items. Previously we covered the Heritage Auctions section of ancient and world coins offered that week, but this time we will take a look at the ancient and world coins on offer in the Stack’s-Bowers auction. In the final preview article for the NYINC show, we will take a look at some of the highlights in the world currency auction. All lots discussed in this article, as well as all other lots offered in the various sessions, can be viewed at the website of Stack’s Bowers.

Canada. 50-cents, 1921. Ottawa Mint. SP-62.

We will start our preview with one of the scarcest 20th-century coins from Canada. Lot 20065 is a 1921 50-cents graded SP-62 (Specimen). A legendary rarity, this is a type that should not be considered rare if you take a look at the mintage, as a whopping 206,398 coins were struck for circulation. This mintage is not particularly low (mintages in the 1930s were much lower, for example, but they are nowhere as rare as the 1921). The reason for this is that the 1921’s were not needed in circulation at the time, and virtually the entire mintage was melted at a later date. A very small number (estimated to be less than 100 coins) is believed to have survived, and quite a few of those (such as this example) are considered Specimen strikes. Still, any 1921 50-cents from Canada is a major rarity and a coin that is always highly in demand with Canadian specialists.

Egypt. 500-piastres, 1932. Proof-64 Secure Holder.

The next issue is a Proof coin, of which its status as a Proof is sometimes disputed, but was nevertheless clearly produced with care. Lot 20128 is a 500-piastres from Egypt struck under King Fuad I, dated 1932 (AH1351) and graded PR-64. The largest denomination in Egypt at the time, this gold coin contains well over an ounce of gold and was minted in extremely limited quantities (this type was struck for two years only, with a reported combined mintage of 700 pieces). Whether or not Proofs were deliberately struck is unclear, mint records do not seem to indicate so, but the existence of some very high-grade survivors (such as this one) seem to indicate otherwise. Perhaps they were created as presentation pieces, or perhaps they were just merely early strikes produced with more care, but the fact remains that it is a very rare gold coin that seldom comes up for sale in any grade.

Sicily. Messana. AR Tetradrachm (17.21 gms), ca. 425-413 B.C.

Session Two starts with a selection of coins from the ancient world. Lot 21005 is a high-grade silver tetradrachm struck in Sicily circa 425-413 B.C. and graded Choice AU (Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5). This coin is a great example of what people were capable of producing almost 2,500 years ago. The obverse shows a biga, a two-horse chariot popular in ancient times, while the reverse shows a hare and a dolphin. The importance of the sea to the people of Sicily in ancient times is obvious from this coin, as the obverse also features two small dolphins below the biga. A very scarce coin in any grade, particularly for this choice and with such a strong strike.

Venezuela. Caracas. “Imitation” 4-reales cob, 180-LM. AU-50 Secure Holder.

A most unusual piece of South American numismatics can be found offered in lot 21417. This is an imitation 4-reales cob attributed to Caracas, Venezuela that has been graded AU-50. Spanish colonial cobs are well known for their crude appearance and relative availability, as they were struck in huge quantities for almost two centuries at the Spanish colonial mints. The pieces circulated freely throughout the world and were common in circulation no matter where you were for many years after their mintage ceased. This particular piece is believed to date back to the early 19th century, well after the originals were no longer being produced, and was probably struck after Venezuela became independent but before it had its own coinage. Making a coin such as this would almost guarantee that it would be accepted in commerce, something that was never certain with coins from a brand new nation. Very rare, especially in such a high grade, notable features include the date, 180, and the lack of any discernible legends on either side.

Ecuador. 1844-MV 8-escudos. Quito mint. KM-28. EF-45.

The Stack’s Bowers sale also features the Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins (a special session of paper money from this collection is also being held). Offered in two sessions, the first session is highlighted by lot 11369, a unique 1844 8-escudos from Ecuador, struck at the Quito Mint and graded EF-45. It features a rather crude portrait of Simon Bolivar and this type was only struck in 1844, allegedly in very small numbers. While rumors have persisted of others, Stack’s Bowers has only been able to verify the existence of a single piece — the one in the sale — which traces its pedigree back to 1921. It has been off the market since 1981, and its appearance in this sale means that one Latin American specialist can now add the rarest 19th-century Latin American gold coin to their collection.

Colombia. 1759-JV 8-reales. Santa Fe de Nuevo Reino (Bogotá) Mint. Ferdinand VI (1746-1759). Restrepo 10.1. Gilboy SF-8-1. MS-62.

The second session of the Eldorado Collection features more rarities, including a very rare 1759-JV 8-reales from the Santa Fe de Nuevo Reino Mint in Colombia. Offered as lot 12001 and graded MS-62, this is an example of the familiar pillar 8-reales. While a relatively common type minted by various mints throughout Spanish America, coins of this type struck in Colombia are very rare, as mintages were limited, and only a small number of pieces are known by a handful of dates. The Santa Fe Mint was located near gold mines and created an abundance of gold coin issues, but silver was in short supply, so only limited quantities of silver coins were minted. This was the first date of this rare series, which also makes it a part of the very first milled (struck inside a collar) coinage of Colombia, and is the only coin struck under Ferdinand VI of Spain.

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Italy: Commemorative €2 coin issued in celebration of the 70th anniversary of country’s constitution

Background photo by Dietmar Rabich.

The Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS) have released (2nd January) a new bi-metallic €2 coin that is minted in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Italian constitution, which came into force on the 1st January 1948.

The Italian constitution was written by the first post-war chamber of deputies and senate elected in June 1946. The constitution was approved by a vote of 453 in favour and 62 against on the 22nd December 1947 followed by the Interim Head of State Enrico De Nicola signing the Promulgation Act of the Constitution of the Italian Republic on the 27th December 1947. The constitution came into effect just five days later on the 1st January 1948, but with the exception of various amendments since its adoption. Since 1948, the constitution remains in effect to this day.

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The coin is designed by Uliana Pernazza and depicts a recreation of the moment when Italy’s Interim Head of State Enrico De Nicola (in office from 1946 to 1948) signed the law which enacted the Constitution of the Italian Republic on the 27th December 1947. To his right was the Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi (in office from 1945 to 1953), and to his left, Umberto Terracini, president of the Constituent Assembly. The commemorative inscription COSTITUZIONE is placed above the primary design with the additional text CON SICURA COSCIENZA (“with clear conscience”) placed below. The mint mark R, identifying the Mint of Rome, and the dates 1948 • 2018 are seen below the additional inscription. The twelve stars of the European Union surround the complete design.

The reverse side is that of the standard euro-zone design which has been in use since 2002 and includes the coin’s denomination represented by the numeral 2 superimposed over the map of Europe along with the 12 stars of the original member states of the European Union.

Denom.MetalWeightDiameterQualityMaximum Mintage
€2Bi-metallic8.5 g25.75 mmBrilliant Unc.15,000
€2Bi-metallic8.5 g25.75 mmProof6,000

The coin is offered in two qualities — Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof. The Brilliant Uncirculated examples are packaged in a sealed coin-card format and the Proof examples are housed in a capsule and custom box, complete with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on these and other coins offered by the IPZS, please visit their website.

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World and Ancient Coin sales hit $49 million in 2017 at Heritage Auctions

The following is a press release courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Dallas, Texas (January 3, 2018) — High-profile sales in World and Ancient Coins propelled one of Heritage Auctions’ fastest-growing categories to $49 million in sales in 2017, the category’s second-best year ever. World and Ancient Coins started the year with its highest-grossing auction to date when more than $15.5 million changed hands in January 2017.

“The growth in World and Ancient Coins is significant and is energizing Heritage’s global expansion,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions. “Offices in Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and our latest office in London are all expanding the level of service we can provide clients in this increasingly diverse marketplace.”

Heritage’s expansion to London added experts Max Tursi and Nicholas Mathioudakis to the category in September. Specialists in world coins, the two also have extensive experience in ancient coins and paper money, particularly of the Middle East, European medieval, Islamic, and modern coins.

The expansion was the first of many milestones set by the category last year.

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· Heritage’s World and Ancient Coin auction held in conjunction with April’s inaugural Chicago Coin Expo set a $282,000 world record for an 11-piece 1826 George IV Proof Set. More than 2,800 lots sold during the four-day, $6.38 million event.

· By May, a database of historical world coin data launched on the website of Heritage Auctions. The innovation displays comparable results from past auctions and third-party grading service population data on nearly all of the firm’s world coins search results

· The category set another world record when the most valuable coin of the pre-kingdom Dutch provinces, a 10-dukat “Portugalöser” struck by the city of Deventer in the year 1640 to compete with Portuguese coinage circulating in Brazil, sold for $179,000 in June.

· For the first time in Heritage Auctions’ official American Numismatic Association Auction sale, a world coin bested its U.S. counterparts to claim top-lot honors in August 2017. An 1870 Japanese Meiji gold Proof sold for $470,000, against a $100,000 estimate. The World and Ancient Coins section realized more than $7 million from 1,477 bidders.

· In September, the category saw participation reach a record 3,723 bidders from around the world during its Long Beach Expo Auction.

· In December, the world and ancient coins and currency cleared more than $5.4 million to set a record for the firm’s highest-grossing World Coins and Currency auction event held in Hong Kong.

“Obviously, we’re excited to see what 2018 brings,” Bierrenbach said. “Our achievements set the stage for growth and top-tier results for our clients.”

Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong.

One of the Internet’s most popular auction-house websites, Heritage Auctions has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions, and enlargeable photos.

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