Has Your Showcase Been to a World Mint?
A couple of weeks ago, we suggested U.S. mints you might visit now that travel restrictions related to the pandemic are easing. We also let you know Littleton Coin is relaunching its popular customer feature, Where Have You Been with Your Showcase? In this Heads & Tails blog article, we’re looking at a few world mints that also could strike your interest.
OK, we’re showing off a bit by using the word occident that comes from the Latin occidens, meaning sunset. We’re talking about the Western Hemisphere. There are two world mints that are worth considering. Anyone who collects world silver or gold bullion knows Canada has been issuing coins with its national symbol, the Maple Leaf, and other motifs with increasingly sophisticated minting and engraving technology. One of our favorites is the 100th Anniversary Proof of the legendary racing schooner, Bluenose.
Did you know the Royal Canadian Mint has two locations? At this writing, the mint located in Winnipeg is offering Zoom tours. But if you get a chance to visit the glass-sheathed modernist building that opened in 1976, make sure you bring your Showcase! Have a photo of yourself snapped outside this unusual, triangular-shaped mint that glints rose gold in the sunlight.
The much older, historic mint in Canada’s capital of Ottawa is also offering Zoom tours. It’s an impressively fortified building designed in the late Gothic style. It was an extension of the Royal Mint in London. But in 1931, it became the sole jurisdiction of the government of Canada. If it’s not open to physical tours in the summer of 2022, we think you might enjoy this armchair excursion of Canada’s coinage history.
South of the Border
The other noteworthy Western Hemisphere world mint where you could be photographed reading your Showcase is located in Mexico City. La Casa de Moneda de México is regarded as the oldest mint in the Americas, issuing copper and silver coins as early as 1536. We’ve written various articles about highly collectible coins from this one-time colony of Spain, including a Heads & Tails on Collecting Foreign Restrikes and another on the world’s first bullion coin, the Libertad.
Even if your global travels don’t take you south of the border, La Casa de Moneda’s National Numismatic Museum, located in the original mint, has a fascinating and free video tour. To activate the English subtitles, use the icons at the bottom of the screen as you follow these steps:
- The first icon to click is the “cc” or closed caption button.
- Next, click the “settings” button (looks like a sprocket). In the window that opens, click the middle line that says “Subtitles/cc.”
- A new window will open; select “Auto-translate.”
- In the final window you need to open, scroll down to “English” and click. The video will start. As the voice over tells the story in Spanish, the caption crawl along the bottom of the screen will appear in English. Enjoy!
From Blank to Bank
If ever there was a year to visit the Royal Mint Museum of Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee in 2022 is it! Located in the storied Tower of London, the museum covers an enormous breadth of coinage history since A.D. 886.
But the actual mint where such coins as the bullion Britannia are struck moved to Cardiff, Wales. Back in 2016, the facility launched a guided factory tour it titled “The Royal Mint Experience.” Like the Canadian mint in Winnipeg, this modern building devoted to an ancient craft is worth a photo op with your Showcase.
Also, outdoors and quite charming, as well as extremely photogenic, is the larger-than-life sculpture of Shaun the Sheep with a commemorative gold-like coin around its neck. There’s more to this lunar-related art installation featuring the star of a stop-motion children’s television series in Britain, of course. But we’ll leave that for you to discover.
It’s no secret that one of Littleton Coin’s best values for starting a collection from world mints is our World Money Collectors Club. It’s a great intro for youngsters, especially if they are too young for overseas travel, but whose natural curiosity can be sparked by the coin designs and the colorful info on the story cards.
And remember: You need to be photographed posing with your latest Showcase outside a world mint. Or even a U.S. mint. Or a historical setting, even a national park!
How It Works
To subscribe to a Showcase catalog, simply click this link. To participate in answering the question about where you and your Showcase have been, send us a photo of you holding a recent issue against the backdrop of your destination.
In less than 50 words, tell us where you are, why you chose the location, and when you were there. Like a staycation, it can be nearby. It can be a historic site, a scene set in America’s natural landscape, or it can be against a notable building. It doesn’t have to be a mint.
Then send your photo, text and contact info in an email to Photos@LittletonCoin.com. In the subject line put: Where I’ve been with my Showcase.
Or mail them to:Littleton Coin Company
ATT: Photography Department
1309 Mt. Eustis Rd., Littleton, NH 03561
We’ll reach out when space becomes available to let you know your photo is going to appear. We’re excited to see what you send us!