Fortunately for snowbound world coin collectors, numismatic spring is
year-round. If it isn’t quite warm yet where you are, this selection
of springtime themes may make the waiting a bit easier.
Spring takes place from September to November in Australia. The
climate as well as the calendar is quite unique due to the continent’s
size, shape, location, and ocean currents. And the climate varies a
lot from one region to another. In temperate Sydney, summers are warm,
sometimes hot, and winters are mild (63 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
In 2013, the Perth Mint issued one colorful square Proof silver coin
to represent each of the seasons.
The Spring coin utilizes springtime flora, and the animals that best
represent spring everywhere: birds. The reverse is dominated by white
cockatoos, colorful banksia and wax flowers, and a dramatic violet sunset.
In the last decade there has been a trend by some world mints to
embed genuine gemstones into coin designs. Canada chose bright green
jade to represent springtime on a 2014 Majestic Maple Leaves $20 coin.
Embedding a carved 3-D maple leaf made of Canadian jade into the
silver coin is just one of many ways that Canada has embellished the
collector versions of its Maple Leaf issues over the past 27 years.
Other treatments include a Reverse Proof finish, mint-coloring,
gilding, enameling and high relief.
Spring inspires festivals
Spring has always been the inspiration for festivals, holidays and
cultural activities. It means the return of life, color and warmth,
good reasons for a celebration. India has many festivals on its
calendar, thanks in large part to the faith of the Hindu population.
A 2012 ringed-bimetallic 10-rupee commemorative coin features
Vaishno Devi seated on a cow. She is a manifestation of the Hindu
mother goddess and is honored every spring in March or April at the
start of the Hindu calendar. The Vasanta Navaratri Festival lasts for
Hindu pilgrims honor Vaishno Devi year-round, not just in
springtime, by visiting her temple in the Kashmir province. One of the
holiest places in all of India, it receives about 8 million people annually.
If you live in Kazakhstan, the spring equinox means a multi-day
celebration called Nauryz or “New Day.” This ancient celebration
encourages people to forgive those who have wronged them so as to
begin the new year on a positive note. Town squares fill with
fireworks , songs, performances and traditional games.
In 2012, Kazakhstan issued a 50-tenge coin to commemorate the spring
festival of Nauryz, which features celebrants in traditional clothing.
Mardi Gras or Carnival is a Christian celebration marking the end of
Winter and the beginning of Lent and Spring. In this country, Mardi
Gras is synonymous with New Orleans, but in Europe, people are more
likely to think of Switzerland. It is referred to as Fastnacht (Fast
Night) or Fat Tuesday by the Swiss, but the holiday lasts for six
days. People don costumes and masks, sing, dance, and eat greasy
sausages and fried desserts. The wildest celebrations are usually
found in Lucerne.
A 2000 ringed bimetallic 5-franc coin from Switzerland honors
Fastnacht by showing part of a parade on the obverse. These giant
parades look chaotic to tourists because participants can march in any
direction they choose.
Coins herald nature’s rebirth
In addition to warmer weather and festivals, spring is all about the
rebirth of nature, especially flowers. A small coin from Hungary from
2000 is like a little bit of springtime on a coin. The 2-forint piece
has a Hungarian crocus (Colchicum hungaricum), spring’s first
flower. The Hungarian crocus blooms in February and March, and is a
national symbol of Hungary. It is also a protected flower species.
Trees herald spring too, and since 1981 have enjoyed national
attention in China every March 12. Citizens are legally required to
plant at least three trees on Chinese Arbor Day, or pay someone else
to do so in their place. Only people over 60 and under 11 are exempt
from the law.
China issued three different 1-yuan coins in 1991 to celebrate its
Arbor Day. The most interesting design features the profile of a woman
having “hair” made entirely of leaves, flowers, and a butterfly.
Medals also celebrate Spring, like the 1973 bronze 76-millimeter
calendar medal from the private Franklin Mint in Pennsylvania. On one
side of the art medal is a numerical calendar and on the other, a tree
calendar. The high relief “Tree of Time” by sculptor Clayton Blaker
depicts half of the tree dressed in its spring finery while the other
half is leafless, representing autumn. Summer’s symbol is the sun at
the tree’s base, and winter is a snowflake.
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