The U.S. Capitol Building

Capital Building - Reverse

            This 2017 $1 coin produced by the Pobjoy Mint for The British Virgin Islands is in the shape of the U.S. Capitol Building. The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the Legislative branch of the US Federal Government.  It sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. William Thornton is the man we can thank for this marvel of engineering and as he was born in the British Virgin Island,…

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The Lusitania Medal

Lusitania Medal - Face

   During the First World War, the British passenger liner, R.M.S. Lusitania, was on its return trip from the United States, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine on 7 May, 1915.  Of the 1,951 passengers and crew, 1,198 perished in the sinking. In August 1915, the Munich medallist and sculptor Karl Goetz, produced a medal with a limited run of 500 medals as a satirical attack on the Cunard Line for continuing to do business as usual during wartime.   The medal carried an incorrect date of 5 May instead of 7 May as the day of the sinking.…

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Mount Vesuvius commemorated

mount-vesuvius-reverse

            Vesuvius is one of two active volcanoes located on the European mainland, and one of the five most dangerous and oldest volcanoes in the world. It is located 9 km east of Naples on the Italian mainland.  In August 79 AD, its eruption led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as several other settlements.  The thermal energy released by the eruption was a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings.  More than 1,000 people died in the eruption, but exact numbers…

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The Battle of Hong Kong Remembered

battle-of-hong-kong-reverse

   Canada’s first land combat of the Second World War began on December 8, 1941, when, mere hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched an invasion on the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Outnumbered and less well equipped than the enemy, the odds were not in the Canadians’ favour as they defended the peninsula, then the island itself. Over 550 of the 1,975 Canadians sent to Hong Kong never made it home; but during the 17 days of fierce fighting, they fought valiantly, even engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, as they defended Hong Kong…

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The Short Cross Coinage of England

Henry II Short Cross Penny Class 1b o

In 1154 Henry II, Henry Plantagenet, King of England, Duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, Count of Anjou (as is his inheritance) ascends the throne as one the most powerful kings in all of Europe . His dominions extend from the far north of England to the extreme south-west of France. His subjects acclaim him. A truly great King but oh, his coinage. To begin with England uses the same old bad and mish-mash coins of Stephen, the Barons and the Anarchy. But then in 1158 Henry II ‘s official coinage is issued – and it is really terrible. The silver pennies are called Cross and Crosslets or Tealby…

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The Shortage of Coins in New France

1670 15 Sols Louis XIV reverse

The Shortage of Coins The colonists living in New France from the mid-1660s on used barter to exchange goods but also used metal coins, such as this 15-sol French coin dated 1670. However, there was never enough hard currency to go around. Silver coins that were sent from France were quickly taken from circulation by local merchants, who immediately returned them to France to pay their taxes and to buy European-made commodities.   New France, Louis XIV, 15 sols, 1670 Thank you Bank of Canada Museum for these images. The shortage of coins persisted throughout the history of New France.…

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Tetradrachm of Probus

Probus Tetradrachm - Obverse

    This is a tetradrachm from Alexandria in Egypt.  It depicts Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus on the obverse and an Eagle on the reverse. Probus was born in AD 232 in Sirmium (modern day Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia) and became emperor in AD 276.  In AD 278, he successfully campaigned against Gallic tribes that pushed into Roman territory, and in AD 279 – 280, his generals defeated Vandals in the Roman provinces of Raetia, Illyricum, and Lycia.  In the same years, Probus’ generals defeated the Blemmyes in Egypt. In AD 280–281, Probus put down three usurpers, Julius Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. …

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The Commonwealth of England, 1653

In 1649 Pierre Blondeau, a master engineer at the Paris mint, came to the Tower Mint in London. He was invited by a mint beset by forgers and clippers of its hammered coins and willing to look at milled coinage afresh (Milling had been tried a 100 years before under Elizabeth I). Despite the invitation and his capable machinery Blondeau had a fierce struggle against the MInt and its supporters who, frightened by technology, attacked the innovative Blondeau in pamphlets and accusations of high treason. But he succeeded, in the end, as luck and the Lord Protector favoured him. Blondeau…

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King Philip II of Macedon

Kingdom of Macedon, Philip II AR Tetradrachm

Philip II of Macedon is the powerful war-king who has taken Macedonia from barbarian obscurity to being the ascendant power in all of the lands from Thrace to the League of Corinth. Here he  is shown addressing the Army assembly at Pella. Zeus backs him.  The silver is good.  Who can withstand ? Thank you Paul Anderson at Praefectus Coins for our featured coin and attribution text. Praefectus coins will be at our Coins, Stamps & Collectables show on April 2nd at Nikkei centre in Burnaby     is        

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Royal Maundy Thursday Coinage

Maundy Coins - Mary Gillick effigy

The word ‘maundy’ derives from the latin ‘mandatum’ which was applied to Christ’s washing of his disciples feet on the day before Good Friday; ‘that ye love one another’ (John XIII 34) British Royalty have taken part in the Maundy ceremony since the 13th century; distributing money, gifts and washing the feet of the poor It was King John who started the Royal Maundy tradition in 1210 when he donated garments, forks, food, and other gifts to the poor of Knaresborough, Yorkshire. Henry IV, around 1400, related the number of Maundy recipients to the age of the Sovereign. And it…

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Julius Caesar Elephant

Julius Caesar elephant

The Julius Caesar Elephant denarius was one of the 5 most common silver coin types at the time of the Claudian invasion of Britain (1). Crawford estimated 750 obverse dies and with each die producing perhaps 10,000 coin obverses we’re looking at  7.5 million Elephants. Or another estimate is 22.5 million elephants – enough to pay 8 legions.(2)   To mint all of these coins, to pay his troops, Caesar simply helped himself  to the vast  silver reserves in the Temple of Saturn in Rome; where it had been held in sacred trust for time immemorial. They are readily available to collectors but the…

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Urbs Roma – The City of Rome

Romulus and Remus, the baby twins, were the progeny of Mars, the God of War, and Rhea, a Vestal Virgin, daughter of King Numitor. An evil deposer of the King had slung the grandchildren into the Tiber but they washed up and were discovered by a she-Wolf who had recently lost her cubs. Now they suckle at the teats of their saviour she-Wolf, imbibing the wolf-like fierceness that will characterize the City they will later found on the same spot: Rome. The Urbs Roma coin commemorates the Founding of Rome. It was issued by Constantine and his successors specifically to reinforce…

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Z.A.R. Coinage by Tom Deeth

The Country of South Africa is about ½ million square miles, the 25th largest in the world shaped like a large potato some 1200 miles long from Capetown in the Southwest to the Limpopo River bordering Zimbabwe & Mozambique in the northeast and 400 to 600 miles wide from the Atlantic & Indian Oceans in the south and southeast to the Kalahari Desert in the north. South Africa was unknown to Western Europe until the first Portuguese explorer, Diaz in 1488, first rounded the Cape and entered the waters of the Indian ocean. A decade later, in 1497, the Portuguese…

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British Colonies (Dominica, Gibraltar, Martinique) holed Dollar

British Colonial Dollar

This rare type of  British Colonial Dollar has a heart-shape cut out from a Peruvian 8-Reales 1753 coin. This particular dollar originated in Gibraltar and was present in Dominica and Martinique in the Caribbean in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Spanish silver pieces-of-eight were the standard currency in Dominica and East Caribbean. In Dominica various holes were cut out of them to create different values – before 1813 a “bit” was worth 9 pence and there were 11 bits to a holed dollar, 12 1/2 bits to an unholed dollar. The values then changed and finally in 1843 sterling became the official currency…

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Many people carry their money…on their head

The great mines of Falun in Sweden provided much of Europe’s copper during the seventeenth century. Now a world heritage site the mine’s production affected the economic and political situation throughout the continent and gave rise to one of the more idiosyncratic monetary practices…. Following the first coinage act for plate money in 1644, sheets of copper of varying sizes were stamped with dies to indicate their value in terms of silver dalers. These included eight daler pieces which were over half a metre in length and weighed 14kg, leading a Danish visitor to comment: “Many people carry their money in…

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Selvi Calyst – An ancient numismatist?

They’ve just found a roman hoard in consisting of 2976 silver denarii coins during excavations works in Sofia, Bulgaria. The owner of the hoard is actually inscribed on the ceramic container. Selvi Calyst. Selvi Calyst – could he have been an ancient numismatist? His coin collection spans a 100 years –  the Emperors from Vespasian to Commodus with the Antonines and their wives and daughters represented in full. Perhaps he was an Antonine descendent mapping his family history in coin… NEWS 5th September 2015, Novinite.com > “Bulgarian archaeologists discovered an ancient Roman hoard consisting of 2976 silver denarii coins during excavations…

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10 Cash from Yunnan-Szechuan

Chinese coins are a whole new area for me. I’ve been having fun identifying a 10 Cash coin I won in  a (Vancouver) North Shore Numismatic Society auction. Mine is in VF condition with abrasion to the raised surfaces and a prominent scratch. The image below is a 1906 10 Cash from Yunnan-Szechuan in XF grade. with a value of $150. Y# 10w. I really like the stylized dragon!  A Tai Ch’ing Ti Kuo Dragon. This cash coin handily tells us english speakers that it is a Copper Coin. It’s Chi’ing dynasty or Manchu China. The Emperor is Kuang-hsü who decreed in 1905…

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Allectus – Naval Emperor of Britain

Allectus was the rebel Emperor Carausius’ financial officer until Allectus assassinated him and took the Empire for himself. The British Empire under Allectus held out, depending on naval power – Allectus had to be able to stop troops crossing the channel from Bologne (Bononia) . The naval warship on this ‘Quinarius’ is a message and a symbol.  Classis Britannica – the British Navy. Virtus embodied. Allectus, after 3 years of his own British Empire, was defeated at sea by the forces of Constantinus, defeated again as he retreated from the coast and killed. Britain was swiftly reincorporated into the official Empire. For…

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