World Coins

Royal Hawaiian Mint marks 40th anniversary

To mark the 40th anniversary of its founding, the Royal Hawaiian Mint is issuing a limited-edition six-piece Proof piedfort set of medals in copper featuring designs struck from the original hand-cut dies from 1976, 1977 and 1978.

The 40th anniversary pieces are 21 millimeters in diameter. A piedfort is thicker than a normal coin or medal and is oftentimes double the normal thickness of similar issues. The 40th anniversary piedfort pieces are 0.125 inches, twice the thickness of the originals.

The six-piece Proof copper collection consists of:

??A medal with a Kamehameha obverse, paired with an Ahualoa Land Bank reverse that was originally used for a 1976 1-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

??A medal with an Earth obverse design, paired with an Ahualoa Land Bank reverse that was originally used for a 1976 quarter-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

??A medal with a Madame Pele obverse, paired with a Volcano Island Bank reverse that was originally used for a 1977 2.5-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

??A medal with an Eden obverse design, paired with a Volcano Island Bank reverse that was originally used for a 1977 tenth-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

??A medal with a Capt. James Cook obverse, paired with a Kona Coast Bank reverse that was originally used for a 1978 5-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

??A medal with an Atlantis obverse design paired with a Kona Coast Bank reverse originally used for a 1978 piece hundredth-gram .9999 fine gold piece.

The medals were designed to contain the specific amount of gold as stated in the reverse inner dies.

Only 40 sets containing the six 21-millimeter Proof copper piedfort medals in a special display case will be issued in commemoration of the Royal Hawaiian Mint’s 40th anniversary. The sets will be offered for $299 per set.

In addition to the Proof Piedfort Collection, the Royal Hawaiian Mint will issue The Founders Series, which is also based on the original artwork depicting Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian islands; Madame Pele, Hawaiian volcano goddess of fire; and Capt. James Cook, commander of the first European expedition to the Hawaiian islands.

The original portraits issued in 1976, 1977, and 1978 were hand sculptured by Luigi Badia. 

The three figures featured separately on the obverses are united by a common reverse that features the British flag, a tiki god and a Hawaiian volcano. Medals bearing the three different die pairings are available individually and in a three-medal set.

A boxed Proof 1-ounce .999 fine silver dala of each obverse design is available online for $79 each, limited to an edition of 100 of each design in an individual product option. For each medal, a mintage of 200 is being struck — 100 each for individual sales and 100 for sets.

The private mint is also offering a three-piece silver Proof dala set, limited to 100 sets, in a wooden case. The three-piece silver Proof set will be offered for $217 per set.

Customers placing the first 100 orders overall online will receive a free 1999 silver commemorative medal marking the Royal Hawaiian Mint’s 25th anniversary. The 1999 medal bears the Kamehameha the Warrior design, depicting the ruler as he appeared at the time he united Hawaii and established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1795.  

Gold coinage

The NotHaus Mint was established Sept. 11, 1974, by Bernard von NotHaus and Talena Jay Presley “to provide a gold coinage for the community of Ahualoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

Production of the “Shelter System” medals started on Nov. 7, 1975, with the striking of two gold Kamehameha coins on Abe Chong’s press in Honolulu.

“The Shelter System” referred to the symbols in the “Earth” design, which was one of the reverses for the King Kamehameha coins, Presley said. 

The design was referred to as “The Shelter System” in the economic research paper that von NotHaus wrote in 1974 called “To Know Value.” 

The name of the company was changed to “The Hawaiian Mint” on July 5, 1976, though there was no change of ownership, according to Presley.  

After an ill-fated bullion project with two partners failed in 1985, according to Presley, The Hawaiian Mint filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 15, 1986.

On March 15, 1986, the entity’s name was changed to “Royal Hawaiian Mint.”

Again, there was no change of ownership until 2010, when Bernard von NotHaus ceased to be an owner, Presley said. 

Since 1999, the Royal Hawaiian Mint has been owned by a trust, with Presley as chief executive officer.

Von NotHaus has not held any ownership interest in the Royal Hawaiian Mint since 2010, according to Presley.

Complete information on the Royal Hawaiian Mint’s history and past issues can be found on the firm's website.

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