These are red-letter days for collectors of colorful circulating coins.
The Royal Australian Mint has just released its fourth colorful
circulating coin. Australia’s four colorful $2 coins join 14
circulating coins from Canada, one circulating coin from Papua New
Guinea and another from New Zealand, all sporting color.
RELATED: Australia issues fourth circulating $2 coin with color
Color has been in use for collector coins since 1992 (as detailed recently by Coin World columnist
Rita Laws), but has only been in use for circulating coins since 2004.
The Royal Canadian
Mint was the first mint to pair the palette with the purse, with a
circulating 25-cent coin featuring a red poppy, the symbol of World
That early issue drew attention for the wrong reason, though, as
some residents claimed the color could be removed from the coin with
The RCM perfected the color application process and continued using
the quarter dollar as the means of conveyance for meaningful messages
in more than monochrome, launching a Breast Cancer awareness coin in
2006 with a pink ribbon against a white background.
Additional poppy coins soon found their way into circulation, and
the RCM soon made history with colorful circulating coins for the 2010
Though originally limited to red and pink, the RCM and RAM extended
the colorful circulating coin canvas to include blue, green, yellow
When issuing coins with color into circulation, world mints have
been careful to only use color on the reverse, and for themes that the
issuing nation finds meaningful.
All of Canada’s colorful coins have been denominated 25 cents, but
Australia has used the smaller $2 coin (with a face value that is much
higher than Canada) to celebrate colorful causes.
Australia’s efforts at brightening up the pocket change Down Under
has featured coins with smaller mintages but of larger denominations
than the colorful counterparts issued by the RCM.
Thus far, only two countries outside of Canada and Australia have
issued a colorful circulating coin.
The first was Papua New Guinea, with a 50-toea coin in 2008
celebrating the national bank’s anniversary. The other is New Zealand,
whose 2015 50-cent coin celebrates the service of ANZAC forces during
World War I. A black background and white lines fill an area behind
two soldiers, the first time a circulating coin has featured
Not coincidentally, both of these coins were struck by the RCM, and
so far, only Australia and Canada are the only two mints to develop
color technology for pocket change.
With so few colorful circulating coins to be found, and mint’s
desire to gain attention for new coin issues (especially when
collector versions are sold for hefty profits), the future for
colorful coins entering circulation looks, well, golden.
Keep reading about color on coins:
New Zealand to issue circulating 50-cent coin
with added color for ANZAC centenary
Australia issues colorful circulating $2 coin to
commemorate Remembrance Day
Australia circulates new colorful $2 coin
Here are some other colorful coins celebrating World War I:
Royal Mint marks Remembrance Day with £5 coins
struck for Alderney
UK honors Remembrance Day with red poppy on
Alderney £5 coin
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