Year of the Monkey

February 2016, Volume 53 No. 2

FOR as long as I can remember, COIN NEWS (and its predecessor COIN & MEDAL NEWS) has, round about the February issue, featured an animal of some kind: a fluffy rabbit, a bemused sheep, a playful dog, a slithering snake, etc., overlaid with pictures of coins from mints across the globe, all commemorating the Chinese Lunar New Year. As well as being an important event in the Chinese calendar, this particular “holiday” is a big deal numismatically speaking with just about all of the major mints and many of the smaller ones offering the coin world something. I can think of no other regular event that attracts so much attention in our hobby. Certainly the Olympics or the soccer World Cup will bring with them a number of new issues; a jubilee or Royal birth will inspire a few more and a major anniversary will also see a rash of new designs, but the Lunar New Year is almost universal in its appeal and more mints join the party every year. This year is the Year of the Fire Monkey in the Lunar calendar and on pages 51 and 52 Dr Kerry Rodgers looks at the many issues produced by the world’s mints for the event. However, as there are so many to cover, the article will be published in two parts with the second instalment next month.

With this in mind we at COIN NEWS have decided to mark this numismatic phenomenon with our very own award: the “Lunar Coin of the Year” (or the Loony as we will unofficially term it!). Now there are already two prestigious Coin awards out there, one run by Watermark Publications in Russia and one by Krause Publications in the USA. Both use respected numismatic journalists and professionals as their judges (and less well respected ones—Phil from our very own Token Team is on the panel of both) and both have big award ceremonies, trophies, etc., to heap upon the winners. We won’t. Whilst we have utmost admiration for our professional colleagues, we feel we would like to give our readers the chance to vote for what they like this time around, and so, in a couple of months time, after Kerry Rodgers’ excellent articles on this year’s new coins have been published and inwardly digested, we will give you the chance to vote for your favourite issue (or indeed any new lunar coin, featured by Kerry or not). There won’t be a big award ceremony, no black tie dinner or trophy to mark the achievement, but the winning mint will have the warm glow of satisfaction at knowing their coin was the “people’s choice”. We will also collate all the votes and put them in a big hat; we will then draw one at random to win a prize which will, of course, be a Lunar New Year coin! So this month and next take a good look at Dr Rodgers’ article on the subject and visit our website to see all the issues and then fill in the form that will appear in the March issue of COIN NEWS and send it in and you may be the lucky winner!

Ultimately the “Loony” is a bit of fun, something for our readers to enjoy, but behind it is the serious message that actually these coins are pretty important—they give the mints of the world a chance to showcase new designs and new techniques. They also encourage new collectors and, of course, allow us to put a picture of a cute monkey on our front cover!

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In This Issue

Royal appointment35
Highlights from the Royal Collection
by Jeremy Cheek
In focus37
A sophisticated system
by Dr Graham Bennett
Alfred our reluctant great king
by John Robinson
The coinage of George V: Part IV
by Chris Peckris
When the Klondike came to North Bucks
by David Pickup
Year of the Monkey
by Dr Kerry Rodgers
Modern issues54
Ireland and the Euro
by Edward Colgan
Medallic miscellany57
The Oktoberfest
by Max Everest-Phillips
Dealer’s notebook64
On-line buyers beware
by Garry Charman
Back to basics67
Cleanliness is next to...
by Dr Kerry Rodgers
Albert Pick RIP
by Dr Kerry Rodgers
Banknote feature73
Rare Irish banknotes
by Martin MacDevitt
St Helena currency notes
by Peter R. Thompson


From the Editorial Desk2
Coin News & Views14
View of the Bay22
Around the World24
New Issues Coin Update26
Royal Mint Bulletin28
Auction Highlights31
Price Guide to £5, £2 & fractional guineas61
Banknote News69
New Issues Banknote Update79
Coffee Break Quiz80
From the Archives82
Coin of the Month83
Dealer Directory85
Diary Dates88
Semi-display Adverts90
The Web Page92
Classified Advertising95