The Royal Canadian Mint has released a new and unique tribute, in terms of coin design and production, which is set to honour the establishment of Remembrance Day and the cessation of hostilities during the Great War. The new coins are inspired by the helmets commonly worn by soldiers who were part of the alliance fighting against those who were part of the Central Powers. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns finally fell silent across the Western Front after more than four years of intense and deadly fighting. The Armistice of 1918 signalled the end of a conflict that changed the world and claimed the lives of nine million combatants, including 66,655 Canadians.
From 1921 until 1931, Armistice Day and Canada’s own Thanksgiving were celebrated on the same day, which was the Monday prior to November 11. On the 18th March 1931, a motion was introduced in the House of Commons to designate November 11 solely as Armistice Day, in addition to a proposed amendment to change the name to “Remembrance Day” to emphasise the memory of the soldiers. Canada’s first Remembrance Day took place on November 11, 1931.
A century later, the Royal Canadian Mint honours the memory of all Canadians who served in the Great War with a most unusual shaped coin that is a replica of a soldier’s Mark I steel helmet.
It is today inconceivable to think that in 1914 and much of 1915, Allied troops typically went into combat without any protective head-wear, only their standard-issue fabric caps. The Mark I steel helmet was the standard-issue headgear of the Canadian troops during the Great War — but not until 1916. It was, in fact, France which was the first country to mass-produce steel headgear designed for this modern war, having introduced the M15 Adrian helmet in 1915. A design patented by John L. Brodie, where the name “Brodie helmet” originates from, soon offered a few advantages over the French model, namely a streamlined construction from a single sheet of strong Hadfield’s steel. This model too would be superseded by the improved Mark I model distributed to British Empire forces in 1916.
With a deeper recess than Brodie’s original design, the Mark I helmet had a two-part liner, a rolled rim, and a less reflective finish, allowing a measure of camouflage. The helmet was produced by British manufacturers and issued in late winter 1916 to Canadian troops, who welcomed the now-iconic headgear in spite of the added equipment weight of 950 grams (or nearly two pounds) of steel. However, production of the Mark I helmet was limited at first, with only one in five Canadian soldiers equipped by March 1916. Initially, helmets were kept in the forward trenches for use by the soldiers occupying the sector, but by the end of 1916, every Canadian soldier had been issued a Mark I helmet of his own.
Ultimately, the Mark I helmets became another example of modern equipment developed for or out of this modern war and served as the basic design for all steel helmets worn by Canadian forces until the mid-20th century. Its domed shape was retained for the wider Mark II helmet of the Second World War, and later variants like the “Canadian Helmet” (Mark III), which was issued to Canadian troops for D-Day.
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Resembling the 1916 Mark I model worn by Canadian combatants, this combat helmet-shaped coin is the result of a careful collaboration between Royal Canadian Mint engravers and engineers. The coin’s unprecedented, extreme curvature allows for a realistic re-creation, albeit on a much smaller scale, of the bowl-shaped headgear issued to Canadian troops and all British Empire forces in 1916.
The reverse provides a view of the top of the now-iconic steel helmet, whose battle-worn appearance is the result of engraved “cracks” and “markings” beneath the Antique finish that gives it all a distressed look. Along the brim that helped protect soldiers from airborne debris, is the heartfelt assurance LEST WE FORGET N’OUBLIONS JAMAIS, which is flanked by engraved poppies. The double dates 1918 and 2018 mark the centennial of the armistice.
The obverse features the Susanna Blunt effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II engraved deep in the recessed circular crown, while the legend and face value are engraved on the brim.
|47.6 g||52.3 mm||Antique|
The coin is specially encapsulated to accommodate the coin’s unusual shape and is presented in a custom-made, branded case which also includes a certificate of authenticity. For additional information about these coins and others available from the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.
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The Verkaufsstelle für Sammlermünzen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (VfS), the official sales department of the German Federal Ministry of Finance has now made available (11th October) the 2018-dated five-coin Proof set which consists of the year’s commemorative 20-euro silver coins. With the release of the new 20-euro coin marking the centenary anniversary of the birth of Ernst Otto Fischer (1918-2007) on the 11th October, the current silver coin programme is completed. The latest commemorative silver coin honours Ernst Otto Fischer, who is a German chemist and professor of inorganic chemistry that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1973 for his research in the field of metal-carbon bonds, along with British scientist Geoffrey Wilkinson.
The coin set includes:
- “The Frog Prince,” January 2018. Begun in 2012, this is the seventh coin in an ongoing series highlighting the 200th anniversary of the stories made famous worldwide by the Brothers Grimm.
- “275 Years Gewandhaus Orchestra,” March 2018. This coin was issued in celebration of the 275th anniversary of the founding of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, which is still one of the most renowned ensembles in the world.
- “800 years Hanseatic city of Rostock,” May 2018. Issued earlier this year, the coin marks the 800-year-old law which established Rostock as a city in 1218. The coin also recognizes the development of this city that today is not only the largest in Mecklenburg (Western Pomerania), but is also a major economic and cultural centre of the northeast.
- “150th birthday Peter Behrens,” September 2018. The coin pays tribute to Peter Behrens (1868-1940), a German architect, painter, and designer who is regarded as a pioneer of modern industrial design and one of the defining artists of his generation at the beginning of the 20th century.
- “100th birthday Ernst Otto Fischer,” October 2018. The design of this coin depicts an artistically transformed model of the epochal research results of Ernst Otto Fischer. Also integrated into the design is the dibenzo (or chemical compound chromium) with the double cone structure, for which he also received the Nobel Prize in 1973.
|€20 x 5||.925 Silver||18 g||32.5 mm||Brilliant Unc.||10,000|
|€20 x 5||.925 Silver||18 g||32.5 mm||Proof||55,000|
This year, for the first time, the VfS are offering the 2018 €20 coins as a Brilliant Uncirculated set with the coins enclosed in purpose-prepared coin envelopes. The Proof quality sets are offered with all five coins enclosed in a sealed folder and slip-case with colourfully printed images and information about each coin included as well.
Each of the Proof quality coins are available as separate purchases from their issue date, while the Uncirculated coins are available for their face value at points of exchange such as commercial banks and post offices. For additional information about these coins and others available from the Verkaufsstelle für Sammlermünzen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, the official sales office of the German Federal Ministry of Finance, please visit their website.
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Tri-metal coin. Hover to zoom.
The following is a press release courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Ottawa, Ontario, October 3, 2018 — Though the keen collector’s search for rare and unusual numismatic finds is never at an end, it certainly got a little easier with the Royal Canadian Mint’s launch of a new “R+D Lab Collection.” These new experimental products, delivered straight from the test bed to the customer, offer a “behind the scenes” look at how the mint’s accomplished R+D teams in Ottawa and Winnipeg constantly test the boundaries of coin engineering and minting technologies. The first of two products showcasing the mint’s latest technological forays were issued today.
“The products in our R+D Lab Collection are tried, tested, and true examples of forward-thinking technology that could re-define the future of domestic and foreign coins,” said Dr. Xianyao Li, Chief Technology Officer at the Royal Canadian Mint. “I am very proud of working with talented experts in Ottawa and Winnipeg who are behind the mint’s leadership of the coin industry and I am delighted that their achievements can be publicly celebrated through the R+D Lab Collection.”
This new product offering consists of real trial pieces that were produced as the mint tests new technologies for future coins. First in the collection is the 2018 $1 fine silver double concave coin. Engraved with the Robert Ralph Carmichael’s common loon design which graces the one-dollar circulation coin, this impressive piece is the mint’s first-ever 10-ounce silver dollar.
The coin is also a piedfort, meaning that it has an extra thick edge, traditionally used when creating a special showpiece of a smaller sized coin.
The unique dimensions of the edge allowed the mint to strike deep concave contours of over six millimetres in curvature, on both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin. The coin is also enclosed in a unique double concave protective capsule to help the collector truly appreciate its dramatic and unusual shape. Measuring 60 millimetres in diameter and retailing at $1,999.95 CAD, only 112 of these showstoppers have been made.
The second offering in the collection is the R+D Security Test Token Set. This is a six-piece set replete with special features highlighting the mint’s uncontested leadership in coin security.
Retailing at $49.95 CAD and limited to a mintage of 10,000, it includes:
— The mint’s first-ever tri-metal coin, featuring a brass-plated steel outer ring, with an inner core of nickel-plated steel and copper-plated steel on the opposite side. Made with the mint’s multi-ply plated steel (MPPS) technology, it expands the ability to manipulate the electromagnetic signature of a coin, producing an even more complex covert security feature;
— Moose and Caribou tokens, featuring microtext, raised and sunken maple leaves, as well as positively and negatively embossed beads around their circumference. The microtext on these tokens is hidden in the animal’s fur and it also creates the maple leaf shape that appears above their lower neck;
— A pair of MPPS tokens engraved with the Mint’s official logo (one brass-finished and the other nickel) also featuring raised and sunken maple leaf and bead patterns
— A Pie Chart token that uses various groupings of microtext to create visibly distinct pie-shaped segments. High magnification reveals that the different shadings are actually produced by microscopic letters using laser technology. The microtext can be smaller than 50 microns.
These products can be ordered directly from the mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the U.S., or online. The Security Token Set will also be available at the Royal Canadian Mint’s boutiques in Ottawa and Winnipeg, as well as through our global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.
About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is the crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada’s circulation coins. An ISO 9001 certified corporation, the mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high-quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. For more information about the Mint, its products and services, please visit its website.
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The government and treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (14th September) the fourth coin which is part of the series entitled “Mythical Creatures” that features some of the world’s best-known stories and legends which originate from the myths of the ancient world of Greece and Rome. The latest coin in the series features the snake-headed Gorgon, Medusa, who struck fear into the hearts of many brave warriors that were turned to stone just upon a single gaze.
Her name is believed to derive from the ancient Greek word meaning “guardian.” She became one of the three Gorgons, or monsters, in Greek mythology. She was one of the daughters of the sea gods Phorcys and Ceto, and sisters of the Graeae, three sisters in Greek mythology who shared one eye and one tooth among them — one who was named Echidna, and the other who was named Ladon. All of Medusa’s siblings were monsters by birth, and, even though she was not, she had the misfortune of being turned into the most hideous of them all. Originally a beautiful young woman, Medusa’s crowning glory was her long hair, for which she was desired and courted by many suitors.
What were, in fact, her most alluring features (her face and hair) would also be her misfortune, since she attracted the attention of the great sea god Poseidon. He was so taken with the beautiful Medusa that he forgot his stately position and spirited her to the Temple of Athena where he ravished her. In Roman mythology, it is the god Neptune who becomes so entranced with Medusa. Enraged and jealous, the virgin goddess Athena was also angry that her sacred temple had been violated in such a way and transformed Medusa’s enchanting hair into a coil of serpents, turning her into the youngest Gorgon. As a result with her encounter with Poseidon, Medusa becomes pregnant with two offspring.
Simultaneously, while trying to get rid of Perseus, Polydectes, the king of Seriphos, sends the great hero on a quest which he believed would be his final one with his request of “fetching the head of Medusa.” With the help of Athena and Hermes, and after extracting the whereabouts of Medusa from the Graeae, Perseus finally reaches the fabled land of the Gorgons, thought to be located on the rocky island of Sarpedon. While Medusa was asleep, Perseus — so as to not look directly at the Gorgon and be turned into stone — uses the reflection from Athena’s bronze shield as a guide and manages to cut off her head with his sword. In a twist of fate only found in the myths of ancient Greece, her story doesn’t end with her demise — for Medusa was pregnant at the time of her death. When Perseus severed her head, Medusa’s two unborn children, Chrysaor and Pegasus, suddenly emerged from her neck. Awakened by the noise of the slaying of Medusa, the Gorgons do their best to avenge the death of her sister, but they could neither see nor catch Perseus, since he was protected by wearing Hades’ Cap of Invisibility and Hermes’ winged sandals. Defeated, the two remaining Gorgons retreat to their secluded habitat to mourn Medusa.
With the head of Medusa in his bag, Perseus uses the winged sandals of Hermes to return to Seriphos to prove his bravery to Polydectes and rescue his mother Danae from him. Spurned, Polydectes forces Danae to be his handmaiden, infuriating Perseus such that he sets out to avenge his mother’s mistreatment. Perseus storms to the palace and says, “Let all who are my friends shield their eyes!” As he raises Medusa’s head from his bag, resulting in Polydectes and his courtiers being immediately turned to stone.
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The coins are produced by the Pobjoy Mint at their facilities in Surrey, on behalf of the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The reverse design on the coin shows Medusa surround by figures that have been turned into stone and Neptune’s trident, which can be seen in the surrounding water. The high relief and Antique finish effects on the coin bring this mythical character to life, emphasising the venomous snakes in place of her hair.
The obverse of each coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is an exclusive design from the Pobjoy Mint. The series, which will consist of five two-ounce fine silver coins, has been produced in high relief with each coin being applied an Antique finish by hand, thus bringing the amazing featured characters a greater depth of detail.
|.999 Silver||62.2 g||50 mm||Proof with Antique finish|
Each two-ounce fine silver coin has been produced in high relief, with each coin being finished with an oxidised process which creates the Antique look and brings the featured characters to life. Each coin is encased in a creative Perspex container in the shape of a square that frames the coin and allows for easy display. The frame is packaged in an outer printed sleeve and includes the certificate of authenticity. The last coins which complete this sought-after series will feature the Centaur and will be released before the end of 2018. For additional information about this coin and others issued by the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.
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The treasury of the South Pacific Island Nation of Niue has released the first coins which are part of a new series entitled “Reef Fish,” that will feature some of the marine life prevalent in and around the Pacific Ocean.
The triggerfish, or Balistidae, takes its common name from a set of spines the fish use to deter predators or to “lock” themselves into holes, crevices, and other hiding spots. The system can be “unlocked” by depressing a smaller, “trigger” spine. They are a brightly coloured fish consisting of 40 species that typically inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Largest of all is the stone triggerfish found in the Eastern Pacific from Mexico to Chile, which can reach up to 3.3 feet long. They are oval-shaped and are often marked with lines and spots. Curiously, their anatomy reflects in their diet as slow-moving, bottom-dwelling carnivorous creatures that dig out prey, such as crabs and worms, by flapping away debris with their fins and sandblasting with water squirted from their mouths. Triggerfish also use very tough teeth and jaws to take on sea urchins, flipping them over to get at their bellies, which are armed with fewer spines. Triggerfish are so successful in terms of feeding on specific prey that smaller fish often instinctively follow them to feast on their leftovers.
Unique to the triggerfish species is that they seem to exhibit a greater level of intelligence compared to other fish and possess the ability to learn from previous experiences. Triggerfish tend to be solitary, but meet at traditional mating grounds according to timetables governed by moons and tides. The males of many species appear to establish territories on these spawning grounds, and, in anticipation of finding a mate, they will prepare seafloor nests that will house tens of thousands of eggs. Males and females share care of the eggs until they hatch, blowing water on them to keep them well supplied with oxygen, and, in some species, males are known to maintain a harem of female mates.
Try not to find yourself on the wrong side of a triggerfish, since they are infamous for their nasty attitude, and this behaviour is especially evident around nests where intruders ranging from other fish to human divers, are likely to be charged or bitten. Unfortunately, as triggerfish are attractive to human admirers, some species have become too popular for their own good. They are sought after for the aquarium trade, which has prompted fishermen to gather even threatened species from the wild. Researchers are working to raise triggerfish in captivity so that wild populations might more likely be left alone to flourish.
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The coins are produced by the New Zealand Mint at their facilities in Auckland, on behalf of the treasury of Niue. The reverse side of the silver coin features an artistically combined and exquisitely coloured triggerfish amongst engraved coral in its native reef habitat. The design also incorporates an ultra-gloss effect applied to the image of the triggerfish to give it a unique “wet” look.
The obverse includes an effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, created by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. The denomination of TWO DOLLARS and the issuing authority of NIUE are seen on the legend surrounding the Queen’s likeness.
|31.1 g||40 mm||Proof with applied colour|
Each coin is encased in an innovative Perspex or lucite coin container in the shape of a block which frames the coin and allows for easy display. The packaging contains a uniquely numbered certificate of authenticity and the outer box has been designed to complement the Reef Fish series and theme. For additional information about this coin and others issued by the treasury of Niue, please visit the website of the New Zealand Mint.
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