Year of the Monkey

Posted on Fri, 22 January 2016 by Phil Mussell
Posted in: Coin News
Year of the Monkey OVER THE MOON

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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