World Coins

Barbados releases glow-in-the-dark circulating commemorative

A new circulating commemorative $1 coin in Barbados features glow-in-the-dark technology on the colorful reverse, as seen in this screen capture.

Image courtesy of the Central Bank of Barbados.

A new commemorative glow-in-the-dark dollar coin is now circulating in Barbados.

The Central Bank of Barbados on Dec. 1 issued 1 million of the coins, which have a face value convertible to 50 cents U.S. The coins were struck by the Royal Canadian Mint, and are said to be the first glow-in-the-dark circulating coins outside of Canada.

The coin features the same design as regular Barbados $1 coins, but the flying fish and waves in the reverse design are painted light blue. That paint contains a special property that absorbs energy from the sun or other light. In a dark setting, if it has absorbed enough energy, the coin will glow.

Given enough energy, the coins will glow for a few minutes, with the first minute or so being the brightest. Once all the stored energy is used up, the coin stops glowing. After further exposure to light, it will glow again.

Over all, the coins should last in circulation for up to 20 years, and will continue the glowing cycle. A coin that is put away, perhaps as a souvenir, will glow brighter than one that is frequently exposed to light.

“This is the first coin of its kind in the Caribbean,” said Octavia Gibson, Deputy Director of the Bank’s Currency Division, in a press release. “The fact that it’s a circulation coin makes it even more special because it means that more people will be able to get them.”

Gibson said that while the Central Bank normally tries to dissuade the public from accumulating coins, this time around, it is encouraging exactly that. “We know that because these coins are different, people will want to keep them, and we want them to. We want Barbadians to collect them.”

The Royal Canadian Mint has previously made glow-in-the-dark coins only for Canada and, once before, for Barbados, a limited-edition Batman collector coin. This is the first glow-in-the-dark circulation coin issued in the Caribbean and one of very few in the world.

“A few thousand” specially packaged examples are being distributed to some of Barbados’ essential workers, but the vast majority will go into circulation, the bank said.

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