Faster than you can say “pontificate,” two private mints announced plans to commemorate the election of Pope Francis with coins.
Coin Invest Trust on March 14 — the day after the papal election — announced the scheduled release of three coins for the Cook Islands marking the new leader. The Pobjoy Mint on March 15 revealed plans to issue three coins for the Central Bank of Seychelles featuring the newly chosen pope.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was selected from 115 eligible cardinals and took the name Pope Francis.
Coin Invest Trust is issuing a Proof .9999 fine gold dollar, a Prooflike gold-plated copper dollar coin and a Proof .925 fine silver $5 coin.
The reverse (common for all the coins) shows the new pope waving while at St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13. The Latin phrase habemus papam (meaning “we have a pope”) appears with his name in Latin, franciscus, and the year.
The gold coin weighs 0.5 gram, measures 11 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 15,000 pieces. The copper coin weighs 25 grams, measures 38.61 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 2,013 pieces, the same diameter and mintage as the silver coin, which weighs 20 grams.
The specifications for the Cook Islands’ Pope Francis coins are the same as for coins issued a few weeks earlier upon the resignation announcement of Pope Benedict XVI. Those show the now pope emeritus waving, with the copper and silver coins also showing him holding the Twisted Cross.
The Seychelles coins show a shared design of Pope Francis surrounded by the 14 Stations of the Cross, a popular Catholic devotion to indicate the passion and death of Jesus Christ; rosary beads used while undertaking the stations create a circle around the portrait.
The Latin inscriptions habemus papem and pontifex maximus franciscum i also appear, the latter a nonofficial title.
The design is being used for three versions: a Uncirculated copper-nickel 5-rupee coin, a Proof .925 fine silver 10-rupee piece and a Proof .925 fine silver 25-rupee coin.
All of the coins measure 38.6 millimeters in diameter.
The copper-nickel coin weighs 28.28 grams, has a mintage limit of 50,000 pieces and costs $15.
The silver 10-rupee coin weighs 12 grams and has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and costs $69. The silver 25-rupee piece weighs 28.28 grams, has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces, and costs $84.
Distributor Coin & Currency Institute will offer the Cook Islands Pope Francis coins; the plated coin costs $32.50, the silver coin is priced at $77.50 and the gold coin is priced at $79.50.
To order the Seychelles coins, telephone the Pobjoy Mint at 877-476-2569 or visit its website, www.pobjoy.com. ■