'Grand Catalog of Australian and Oceanian Coins 2000-2017'
It covers coins issued since 2000 by Australia, New Zealand, and
the numerous countries of the Pacific region such as Niue, Cook Islands, Palau,
and Tuvalu, which are well-known for the myriad coins produced by mints in
other countries on their behalf through licensing arrangements.
Those arrangements not only produce revenue for these countries (and
unfortunately probably also raise the retail price of the coins), but they also
make it possible to provide collectors with an amazingly diverse and innovative
universe of coins produced with cutting-edge minting techniques, typically
issued in small numbers.
The book calls these coins “the most beautiful and the most
elitist coins in the world.” Some people less enamored with this area of
numismatics derisively refers to it as “circus coins” and say there are too
many such coins. They also note that many have declined from their issue price,
but that view overlooks some important facts.
One is that many others of these coins have been among the best
secondary market performers. I recently saw an eBay sale for a 2-ounce Lunar
gold coin from the Perth Mint issued in 2008 that sold for over $14,000, or
around seven times its original price. Second, as Mik Woodgate of AgAuNews
noted, some of the most impressive coins of recent years, such as the Tiffany
Art series, would not exist if these countries had not gone into this field.
Third, collector coins are not intended as investments, though will careful
study it may be possible to identify those that are more likely to increase in
The book covers 9,000 circulation, commemorative/collector, and
bullion coins in 357 pages and has 14,000 color illustrations, showing both sides
of each coin in most cases. It is a high-quality, hardback book and will
undoubtedly be a very useful reference for collectors.
It is organized into three sections: coin series, which may include
pieces from different countries; bullion coins of all metals; and countries,
which lists the circulation and collector coins issued by the broad range of
For each coin or set the following details are provided: face
value, country of issue, metal, weight, size, quality, mintage, date of issue
including the month, and in most cases either issue price or retail value as of
March 2017, except for the bullion coins since their price is tied in part to
fluctuating precious metal prices.
My one quibble is that the print and the color images are rather
small, but that is undoubtedly because so many coins are covered. Plus,
enlarging the images and larger print would have added many pages and made the
Since the series and countries sections overlap, perhaps in the
next edition there could be just one section of collector coins, one on
bullion, and a third on circulation pieces.
The only other book I am aware of that covers some of this
material would be the Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001 to Date from
Krause, but the Rosanowski volume is much more comprehensive in its scope and
in the details provided on each coin, features color, rather than black and
white images, and has more updated pricing information.