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Holiday themes secular and religious

Modern coin issues with Christmas design themes, be they secular or religious, are still a relatively new concept. A few smaller countries such as Tonga and Gibraltar have been producing them on and off over several decades. The Isle of Man is one of the few long-term contributors to this market via Pobjoy Mint.

Notable among the 2016 issues is the first ever Christmas coin struck by Britain’s Royal Mint: a silver £20. The reverse design by Bishop Gregory Cameron features the Nativity and the visit of the Magi. The 27.00 mm, 15.71 g .999 fine silver coin has a mintage of 30,000.


Also from the Royal Mint comes a 2016-dated .925 fine silver sixpence, just like Granny used to put in the Christmas pudding.


Of the major mints who have contributed coins in the past couple of decades the Royal Canadian Mint has been a major player. Each year it has brought a variety of products to brighten many a numismatic Christmas. Most designs are based around that very North American concept of the “holiday season” showing secular and/or winter themes.

First up among individual coins in this year’s RCM offering is a 27 mm, 7.96 g .9999 fine silver $25 Woodland Elf. The reverse design by Jesse Koreck shows the colorful sprite busily making bird boxes in the snow. Mintage is 275,000.


Designer Tony Bianco has produced a traditional Canadian winter scene on a 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver $20. The center point of the design is a handcrafted golden Murano glass tree. No two glass trees are alike making each coin unique. Mintage is 7,000.


A 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver $20 proof displays a photograph by Don Komarechka on the reverse of a “six-sided dendrite ice crystal” or “snowflake” in more common parlance. Mintage is 6,000.


The Royal Canadian Mint had also contributed a “Holiday Gift Set.” This is a blister-packed, folding-card-mounted set of $2, 25¢, 10¢, and 5¢, coins plus a specially designed $1. The card comes complete with a convenient graphic envelope that enables it to be used as a greetings card. The reverse of the three-ply brass plated steel dollar, available solely in this set, shows a holly spray and fir cone design by Joel Kimmel.


Australia’s Perth Mint has been striking Christmas coins for both Australia and/or Tuvalu for six years now. This year the mint has produced a 40.60 mm, 31.135 g (1 oz) .9999 fine silver, star-shaped, colorized Australian dollar. It can double as a Christmas tree ornament or be embedded in an extra-special gift card. Mintage is 3,000.


Also from Perth, the Magi arrive this year via Tuvalu. They provide a bright colorful design on the reverse of a 30.60 mm, 13.50 g aluminum-bronze dollar. The coin is part of a bi-national, philatelic-numismatic, Christmas cover. The coin may be Tuvaluan but the stamp and postmark are dinkum Aussie.


For some years past Pobjoy Mint has been issuing a denomination-free Isle of Man 1/20th oz gold angel carrying a Christmas privy mark. This year’s piece is to be the last such issue. The 15.00 mm, 1.555 g .9999 fine gold angel has a mintage of 1,000. The privy mark comprises the gold, frankincense and myrrh gifts of the Magi oddly struck in the fiery breath of the dragon.


And for a second year Australia’s Melbourne Mint is selling a numismatic Advent Calendar. It comes with 24 windows that when opened over 24 days in December reveal 24 different world coins. The full coin list is available at


Last, but far from least, Lichtenstein’s Coin Invest Trust is again bringing out its undated Golden Christmas Tree dollar struck for Palau. The tiny 11 mm, 0.5 g BU coin has a mintage of 15,000.


And a most merry numismatic Christmas to one and all. Yo! Ho! Ho!

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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