Evil people on coins
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
Antony famously observed is his “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that good disappears with the passing of the second hand, but evil remains long after the clock has stopped working.
For coin collectors, the visages of evil people often live on, too, for decades, centuries and even millennia.
For the next few weeks, Five Facts will look at coins depicting five truly evil people who were responsible for endless human misery and millions upon millions of deaths.
Some will be obvious. What list of mass murderers wouldn’t have Adolf Hitler on it? Some didn’t make the list — think Pol Pot — because no coins were issued with their portraits.
Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge decimated Cambodia, forcing millions to work on collective farms and killing a quarter of the nation’s population in what became known as killing fields. Neighboring Vietnam invaded in 1979, ending the slaughter.
One of the numismatically important 20th century evildoers is a real surprise.
This is the first in a five-post series about Evil People on Coins.