World Coins

Santa Claus is coming to ... Fiji? (on a silver $1)

The popular image of Santa Claus is entwined with the Coca-Cola brand. The two come together on a new silver dollar from Fiji struck by the Scottsdale Mint.

Image courtesy of Scottsdale Mint.

Santa Claus has a thirst for silver on a new coin from Scottsdale Mint. 

A 1-ounce .999 fine silver dollar issued for tiny Fiji celebrates a global giant, the Coca-Cola brand.

The 2019 Coca-Cola Holiday silver dollar depicts the modern image of Santa Claus, a global pop culture icon that has been intertwined in Coca-Cola’s holiday advertising since the 1920s. 

The obverse of the coin features a popular image of Santa Claus enjoying an ice-cold Coke.

An image painted by artist Fred Mizen in 1930 for a Coca-Cola ad first depicted a familiar cheerful department-store Santa drinking a glass of Coke near a crowded soda counter, as small children stared in wonder. Santa — a big, jolly man in a red suit with a white beard — didn’t always look like that. 

Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop’s robe and a Norse huntsman’s animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to red.

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When the Coca-Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s, the first Santa ads used a strict-looking Claus, in the vein of Nast. Then, in 1930’s Christmas season, Mizen’s painting was used in print ads, appearing in The Saturday Evening Post in December. 

In 1931, Coca Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising portraying a fuller life for a more “real” Santa Claus, eating, drinking Coca-Cola, and delivering toys, for example. Sundblom created versions of Santa Claus until 1964, and for decades to follow Coca-Cola advertising featured images of Santa based on Sundblom’s original works, such as the image on the Fiji coin, cementing them into popular culture. 

The 2019 Fiji coin’s reverse shows the Fijian coat of arms against a textured backdrop of soft, drifting snow. 

The coins are struck and distributed by Scottsdale Mint with a limited mintage of 25,000 pieces, each presented sealed in a branded assay card with a unique serial number and Scottsdale Mint’s patented Certi-Lock security and authentication packaging.

The coins cost $39.99 each through the Scottsdale Mint’s eBay store, with a slight discount available for multiple purchases. 

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