What does the future hold for colorful world coins?
- Published: Jan 22, 2015, 3 AM
Editor's note: This is the final part of a multi-part series prepared by Rita Laws for Coin World's February 2015 monthly issue about the world's first mint-colored coin.
What does the future hold for this collecting specialty? Twenty-one years after the world’s first colored coins debuted, many nations belong to the “Color Club.” As of this writing, 7,736 listings in world and Canadian coin areas on eBay bear the words “color” or “colour” and their past tense versions in the title. Another 6,517 listings showed up in the recently sold categories of those same online areas.
Color coin enthusiasts are happy to see the trend continue to grow, in part because there is little reason to hope that the United States of America will have an officially colored coin any time soon.
Millions of aftermarket colored U.S. State quarter dollars, silver American Eagles and Kennedy half dollars attest to U.S. demand for colorful coinage, but the U.S. government has shown no interest in authorizing an issue with color.
This world color coin popularity is collector-driven, of course, because the technology does not yet exist to create color that can stand up to the rigors of everyday circulation.
Canada issued the world’s first colored circulating coin in 2004 in the form of a 25-cent coin with a poppy design. The flower’s color was protected in a dimpled cell in the center of the coin, but the concave center was not enough to keep the color from wearing away.
Newer attempts by the highly innovative Royal Canadian Mint with circulating colored coins for Canada and Papua New Guinea have met with success.
This year, the RCM issued the first two in a series of enameled coins that look like miniature stained glass windows, but without any glass.
And the RCM is not alone in pushing the envelope on this technology. The Perth Mint is mixing color with various metallic surface treatments and with dome-shaped coins. The Cook Islands recently issued a 3-D cloisonné enameled coin, a new twist on an ancient process that raises the design up using wire-created cells for the color.
The future for these and many more unusual coins looks bright and, well, colorific.
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