Hunting for the first coin issued by nations around the world provides inexpensive fun

Going Topical column from the Sept. 1, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 08/14/14
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Ireland did not change the design of its coinage after the first year of 1928 until it switched to a decimal system in 1971. And during those four decades, only one commemorative coin, Ireland’s first and only 10-shilling coin, was issued.

The coin commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising with a portrait of one of its independence heroes, Patrick Pearse. The reverse features a bronze Easter Rising monument. The hero Cuchulainn is strapped to a pillar so that he could stand and face his enemies until his death. Legend suggests that no one dared approach him until a raven on Cuchulainn’s head signaled his demise.

Not recognized internationally but listed in the Standard Catalog of World Coins by Chester Krause and Clifford Mishler, Transnistria, along with Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, are all post-Soviet “frozen conflict” zones or unrecognized states.

Transnistria’s lack of official status did not stop this Moldavian territory from creating its first bank notes in 1994 and coins in 2000. Perhaps these will one day be collected as Transnistria’s first pre-nationhood coinage alongside its first official issues.

Some places tend to be invaded and conquered over and over again. Estonia has that kind of history, having been a part of Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Russia, and Poland. Estonia was free from 1919 until 1941 when the Nazis invaded. The occupying forces of the USSR came next and finally independence returned in 1991.

Estonia’s first 2-kroon piece, a silver circulation coin, was issued in 1930 and its last in 1932. Its next silver coin would have to wait 60 years until 1992 and would be a commemorative 10-kroon piece.

The Solomon Islands became independent in 1977. To mark the occasion, the island nation near Australia issued a presentation set of its very first coinage and paper money. The 10-piece set with three bank notes and seven Proof coins was sold in a folder through the Franklin Mint.

The Solomon Islanders have struggled to build a nation amidst many catastrophes, but they remain an independent nation. 

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