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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.melbournemintcoins.com.au/shop/world-coin-advent-calendar.

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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.

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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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