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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • New Coins: Shooting Thaler and Southern Lights

    This week I’d like to highlight two coins from world mints in different parts of the planet that caught my attention.

    First is the 2017 Shooting Thaler 50 Francs silver coin from Switzerland, which has a mintage of 1,200 coins and is also issued in gold.  This year’s piece honors the annual shooting festival held in the Swiss canton of Glarus.  As with previous issues, the design includes both a representation of Helvetia, the Swiss version of Liberty, and someone holding a rifle.

    Shooting Thalers are “are commemorative coins issued by the 26 cantons, or member states, of Switzerland. They pay tribute to the shooting festivals or “Schützenfest,” that take place regularly in Switzerland. These Shooting Thalers are very popular with world coin collectors and are well-known for their beautiful and intricate designs depicting of marksmanship, heraldry, patriotism, and various cantonal themes,” as I said in an overview of these coins I did for Modern Coin Mart last year.

    The shooting festivals commemorated on these coins are today the largest rifle shooting events in the world, drawing some 200,000 to 300,000 people each year.  Classic Shooting Thalers were issued from 1842 to 1939, and then the program was revived in 1984 due largely to the efforts of an American coin dealer.

    These coins are not surprisingly especially popular in Switzerland and in Europe, and relatively few pieces typically make it to the American market.  Compared to a lot of other world coins, this series has tended to appreciate in value, with some issues doing better than others.

    I have not seen the 2017 issue available yet from an U.S. dealer, but with time I anticipate the coins will be available from Modern Coin Mart, Talisman Coins, and possibly others

    I was able to purchase one from German dealer Tobias Honscha for a competitive price this week.

    Southern Lights

    The second coin is from the New Zealand Post (a division of the country’s post office that sells coins).

    The coin is the 2017 Southern Lights $1 silver proof coin that uses a hologram to replicate the cosmic light show of the Southern Lights, which though less well known than the Northern Lights, is apparently very impressive. 

    The coin uses what the mint calls “a unique holographic foiling technique” to provide the viewer with a glimpse of the dazzling light show as it dances across the Mackenzie Basin.

    Only 1,500 of this issue are being produced, and given the popularity of last year’s Royal Canadian Mint coin that showed the Northern Lights on a two-ounce silver coin that glows in the dark, whose value has risen impressively, I expect the this coin to be popular too.

    The reverse, designed by Johnathan Gray of the New Zealand Post, shows the Church of the Good Shepard with the shimmering light show above it.  The official description adds: “This stunning coin captures the magic of the Southern Lights both in its color and its shimmering surface. The Southern Lights can range in color from pink to green to purple, with the colors dependent on a number of factors. The type of solar wind particle, the type of gas molecule and the electrical state at the time of the collision all have an effect on the eventual color of the aurora.”

    This coin can also be purchased from Italian dealer Powercoin from the same German dealer (Tobias Honscha), and on eBay.  Others will likely have it as well, and the coin is supposed to ship in February.