Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he also has written a regular column for CoinWeek.com since 2011, writes a monthy column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2015, for his CoinWeek column “The Coin Analyst,” he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best online column. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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2016 Year of the Monkey Coins Arriving

It’s that time again when the annual parade of Chinese Lunar coins depicting one of twelve animals begins to dominate the new releases. Coins dated-2016 are now being issued even though the Lunar calendar starts on February 8 of each year.

These coins are especially popular in China and other parts of Asia, but they have also become a hit in other parts of the world, and the number of countries issuing a huge variety of such coins continues to grow each year.

2016 is the Year of the Monkey. People born in monkey years are said to be clever, inventive, great socializers, and mischievous. 

As usual first out of the gate are the 2016 Lunar coins from Tokelau, which typically have some of the best designs.  Tokelau’s Year of the Monkey silver coins include a reverse proof, regular proof, antique silver proof, gilded proof, and colored proof, plus an oval-shaped colored coin.

The Year of the Monkey will really take off next month after the Perth Mint launches its well-regarded Lunar II silver coin series, which includes bullion coins in a wide variety of sizes, and many collector versions too. The three-coin silver proof set is coming September 1, and for the first time, the 2 ounce coin will also be sold individually like the one and half-ounce coins.

Niue’s Lunar series

A newer, popular series that stands out from the pack comes from Niue and is minted by PAMP, the legendary Swiss precious metal manufacturer known for its precise craftsmanship. These coins, now in their third year, are made of 5 ounces of silver with a 65 millimeter diameter, come in a proof finish with ultra-high relief minting, have selective 24-karat gilding to highlight the central elements of the design, a limited mintage of just 500 coins, and come in a luxurious wooden box. Each coin is also individually numbered on its edge. Although the number, which is also on a certificate of authenticity that accompanies each coin, does not signify the order in which the coin was minted, collectors like having the number on the coin.

The monkey coin from Niue shows a gilded monkey climbing a tree branch as two other monkeys contemplate the scene. Each monkey has a peach in its hand.

The first coin in this series, the 2014 Year of the Horse coin, became one of best performers in the modern coin field, rising quickly from an issue price of about $400 to about $2,000. And this was mostly on the strength of the coin’s superb design of three galloping horses, which when coupled with the low mintage and attention to detail of the coin, continued to push up demand and prices. The horse coin is hard to find, even on eBay.

The 2015 Year of the Goat coin in this series was also popular, though not as big a hit as the horse coin.

The 2016 Niue monkey coin is available from a number of sources and is expected to be available sometime in August.  First Coin Company in California is offering it for $399.90, and readers of this column can get a 3% discount by using the code, “THANKYOU”, when checking out. It comes with free worldwide shipping, and if you live somewhere where you are charged import duties, First Coin Company will refund those fees to you.  

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