The Royal Mint has just revealed the new coin designs for 2017. On first inspection, the coin that caught my eye was the striped £2 coin remembering the author Janet Austen. What do you think?
It looks like quite the year for an amateur coin collector in Britain with the arrival of the new pound coin on 28th March and a new range of coins throughout the year! Interestingly the mint directs you to order your uncirculated set but then displays only the 2015 range for sale. No doubt they will sort this later in the day. [Edit – they have corrected this fault now and I have managed to order my collection]
I heard about this story on the radio this morning and thought it interesting. Quite a complex issue but at least it shows that coins have perhaps a bigger role in the modern world than some people would have us believe! Replacing notes with coins in Venezuela (BBC)
I read an interesting piece on the BBC website this morning where I learnt that ironically, the Royal Mint does not allow its workers to use coins at work! The article is actually a very well written piece of interest for those mint aficionados out there including a rarely allowed tour by video around the workings of the mint.
One blog I enjoy reading a lot is Dave Harper’s ‘The Buzz’ and I highly recommend you take a look if you haven’t found it yet. I must take issue with one paragraph he writes later in his article entitled “New coin age coming”. He states that it is certain that the future will not ‘be bound by’ the collection of coins from circulation.
My experience is that increasingly, in the UK at least (or perhaps just in Scotland!), younger collectors ARE picking up the slightly unusual coins they find in circulation and collecting them – indeed a large part of what I write about involves this hobby. Perhaps things are different across the pond but I believe this is a point that requires more balanced thought!
He is a very knowledgeable man so please read his blogs!
For years, it has been ostensibly the considered opinion that the future of money lies in the gradual but inevitable march towards electronic and intangible money. Clearly, this is a poor omen for the amateur coin collector who usually begins his hobby career with the gathering, collecting and organising of the coins he finds in his change.
Recent events in Cyprus have raised doubts in my head whether this is quite so inevitable. Let me explain. The cypriot economy is in trouble, they must raise something in the order £5,000,000,000 in the next week or so, otherwise they will not receive the £9,000,000,000 or so in emergency funding to their banks that they so badly need in order to prevent their collapse. Despite an apparent reprieve earlier in the week, it seems again that the depositors in Cyprus’ banks are going to have stump up some of their savings to contribute to this sum.
Consequently, savers have been doing their level best to withdraw as much cash as they can and reduce the amount the government can take. Even some large supermarkets are reported to be forced by their suppliers to buy in stock with physical cash – unheard of normally! Cyprus has essentially been rapidly moving towards a cash economy. One is left wondering if this is a blip or an indicator of things to come in the wider European or even world economy. If it is a sign of things to come, then as horrendous as it is for the economy at large, it should at least mean more coins are around again!
The USA, like most of the western world has a huge government debt. One way to pay it off would be to actually create more money and give it to their debtors! In America, section ‘k’ of the ‘Denominations, specifications, and design of coins’ law states :
“The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time”
Normally, to meet debts that are due for payment the government will borrow a bit more as bonds and use these ‘loans’ to pay off the older ones. The idea here (in very simple terms) is that if the secretary [of the treasury] decided to make a few of these coins, he could in effect just pop them in the government’s bank account – this way there is plenty of money in their account and the cheques owed to debtors can be issued and cashed!
What is the downside?
If enough of these coins are introduced to the US economy, there is a worry that inflation will spiral out of control. Most people in the know seem to be of the opinion that as long as the government exercises restraint and only produces enough to get by (not to pay off all government debt) then this won’t be too much of a problem as the federal reserve can essentially negate (or sterilise) this influx of currency by cancelling some of its reserves.
What will it look like?
One thing we know is that if such a coin is produced it has to be made of Platinum. As far as I can gather, it would have to have someone’s face on it and I have gathered that it has to be someone no longer living (I can’t find any cast iron proof for this). The most talked about person to adorn such a coin seems to be Ronald Reagan.
Will it happen?
From an interest point of view – I hope so! In reality, I don’t think anyone really knows!