How to assemble a collection of animal coins
It’s a jungle out there!
It’s easy to build a collection of animal coins – look no further than U.S. coins to find an eagle! Plus, there’s a wide variety of wildlife featured on the Statehood and National Park quarters. But did you know that the number of coins around the world that feature animals is staggering!?
Animals first appeared on some of the earliest coins in the world. This silver Half Stater of ancient Greece shows a roaring lion facing a bull. Numerous other creatures were featured on coins of both ancient Greece and Rome, as well.
Today, many countries around the globe honor animals – especially those that are commonly found in a given region. This is where your collection can really take off! Here are three ways you can start a fascinating collection:
- By animal – Some countries dedicate entire coin series to a specific animal. Panda and Koala bears, Kangaroos and Kookaburras – each one is featured in its own bullion series with annually-changing designs. These coins are delightful, and collectors everywhere look forward to the newest release each year.Other countries – like the U.S. – have honored animals, though they don’t have annually-changing designs, nor is the animal the main focus of the series. All eagles aside, one of the most popular American coin series to feature an animal is the 1913-1938 Buffalo nickel. Canada began issuing its $1 coin in 1987 (in an attempt to phase out their dollar bill), showing a loon on the obverse. (That’s where the series’ nickname – “loonie” – comes from.) And of course, Mexico’s handsome silver Libertad series features an eagle eating a snake.
By country – Another fun way to build your collection is by country. This can be as simple as deciding which region of the world you’d like to start out in, then gathering coins showing a native animal from each nation in that area. Starting out this way also makes a fantastic way to kick off a collection of world coins.
- By coin type – Mints around the world have been discovering fun new techniques for striking coins, especially in recent years. Some have fun animals that are beautifully detailed in full color. Perhaps you already have a collection of silver or gold bullion coins? Adding pieces of the same purity from around the world that feature animals can make a great way to enhance that collection (or even start a new one!).Some of the best I’ve seen are the 3D butterflies. Produced by a specialty coin distributor, each year’s piece (the 2015 issue marks the fifth release in the series) is created for a different country. The fascinating part is that each one features a delicately crafted butterfly rendered in amazing detail. I just love looking at these pieces – the way each butterfly is perched on the coin gives it a cool 3D effect.
So why not kick off a WILD collection of coins with animals! I’ve shared three ways to get started, but there are so many options available, the possibilities are nearly endless. How would you start yours?