One of the most fascinating things about coin collecting is of course the design on the coin – but what about the shape of the coin itself? As minting technology continues to advance, coins are being struck in all kinds of exciting and innovative shapes.
I’ve compiled a selection of coins which I consider to be 10 of the most collectable unusually shaped coins around…
1. The FIRST rugby coin of its kind…
To mark the Rugby World Cup last year, France issued the first ever coin shaped like a rugby ball.
The concave coins proved to be extremely popular with collectors worldwide, with many keen to add a coin with such a unique pedigree to their collections.
2. A coin shaped like a country…
The Perth Mint regularly issue map-shaped coins, taking advantage of their country’s unique and recognisable outline.
This series makes use of purpose-built tooling and die design to give the coin its distinctive shape.
The first coin in the series featured the Kookaburra, issued in 2012, since then there have been a variety of different animals to feature on the coin, with the most recent being the Redback Spider.
3. The ‘Imperial Egg’…
This impressive looking coin boasts beautiful enamelled colour and a shimmering gemstone inlay.
The ‘Imperial Egg’ Coin is based on the work of Fabergé and proved to be very popular with collectors last year, especially during the Easter period.
4. You’ll be lucky to find one of these…
You certainly won’t find this Four-Leaf Clover Coin in a field, no matter how hard you look! Legend has it that Eve took a four-leaf-clover from paradise as a memento for the wonderful time she had spent there – they’ve been considered lucky ever since.
Struck in gold to a proof finish, this cleverly produced coin could certainly be regarded as lucky by collectors who have one in their collection – as it is now highly sought-after.
5. The Earth-shattering coin…
The extra-terrestrial chondrite that has been set into the centre of this coin was sourced from a meteorite that crash-landed in Morocco in 2005. The space rock shattered into several pieces when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The coin itself has been struck in a concave shape to represent the crater in which the piece of meteorite landed.
6. Is it a coin or is it a bar? It’s both…
This rectangular silver coin-bar features one of the world’s most iconic landmarks – London’s Tower Bridge.
It’s not often that you see coins minted in this shape – the ‘bar’ format is usually reserved for bullion.
This stunning coin boasts intricately detailed engraving and tiny detail can be seen on the Tower Bridge to create windows, clock and brickwork.
7. The poppy-shaped remembrance coin…
This coin’s unique shape and rich red printing on the reverse takes inspiration from the poppy, which has become synonymous throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance and the charitable work of The Royal British Legion.
Issued to commemorate the end of the First World War and to Remember the Fallen, the Poppy Coin is a significant issue that is poignant to many.
8. The coin that sold out in two days…
This remarkable coin is shaped like the iconic Canadian maple leaf, and proved so popular that it sold out at the Royal Canadian Mint in just 2 days.
Canadian Maple Leaf coins are some of the world’s most recognised Silver coins. This issue takes the design to a whole new level, complete with a special wooden display case. A stunning display that would certainly stand out on any mantlepiece!
Issued in China since 221 BCE, the Chinese Lucky Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
10. And last but not least…
The playful Russian ‘Matryoshka Dolls’ first appeared in the late 19th century, now they’ve been immortalised on a silver coin.
This oval issue is displayed within special bespoke packaging which consists of two traditional wooden nesting dolls placed one inside the other – the coin and packaging are both something that I’ve never come across before!
Are you lucky enough to have any in your collection or have you perhaps seen any that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below.
We still have a small allocation remaining of The Lucky Four Leaf Clover Gold Coin.
A new record was set earlier this month when one of Australia’s oldest surviving coins, the famous Holey Dollar, was sold at a Melbourne auction house to a private collector for a staggering AUS$495,000, beating the previous record of AUS$485,000 set in 2011.
The fascinating 200 year-old history behind the Holey Dollar – so-called because of the distinctive hole in its centre – has captured the imagination of collectors not just in Australia but worldwide.
Brilliant but simple
In 1813, to combat a local currency shortage, the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie came up with a cunning plan. Enlisting the services of a convicted forger William Henshall, Macquarie ordered the middle of 40,000 coins to be punched out and inscribed with a crown – this became known as the ‘Dump’.
He then stamped the outer ring – the ‘Holey Dollar’ – with the words ‘New South Wales’ and the year of issue. The point being that the two pieces had a higher collective value and so were worth more if they stayed as one whole coin in Australia than individually overseas. Problem solved.
One of the finest examples
The coin sold at auction in Melbourne had been minted in 1813 from a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been struck at the Lima Mint in 1805. Out of a very limited number known to have survived, the one sold recently is thought to be among the finest examples.
Very few known to have survived
The Holey Dollar and Dump was withdrawn from circulation in 1829 and most were shipped to London to be melted down or sold off as bullion silver.
Of those that survived, there are now only some 300 left, of which 200 are in private hands. They are among Australia’s rarest legal tender coins and on the rare occasion they come up for auction, they attract considerable interest. The question now is how long before this new record is broken?