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The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics

Owner:  coinsbygary
Last Modified:  10/26/2021
Set Description
Mythological gods and goddesses as representative images first appeared on coinage dating from near the dawn of the numismatic age. Beginning with the Greek goddess Athena around the 5th Century BC, coinage using this type of imagery steadily grew throughout the Hellenistic provinces. When the Romans adapted this imagery to their coinage, the use of deified personifications on coins quickly expanded throughout the Roman Empire. While the Greeks used their coinage as an artistic expression of their love for the gods, the objective of the Romans was to use coins as a propaganda tool to keep people subjugated under their authority. Thus, the positioning of the images on the coin, the governmental entity issuing the coin, and the historical context of the coin are all keys to understanding the purpose of the coin.

Within this set, “The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics”, I hope to investigate the allegorical use of the “seated images” illustrated on my coins, tokens, and medals. Additionally, I want to trace the effect those coins had in spreading western philosophy throughout the world. Particularly interesting to me is the manner in which the design features of some coins blend western culture with that of the indigenous cultures where they circulated. For this reason, I have grouped this set into continents, beginning with Europe where the use of seated imagery on coins originated.

The seated position is primarily a position of rest. A sitting person may be relaxing on a beach or in a park. They may be sitting as they reflect on various topics or read a book. Persons in a sitting position may be taking a break from their labors or they may (with a certain degree of satisfaction) be surveying a difficult task they just completed. Likewise, there are certain jobs and tasks that one can only do from a sitting position.

In other instances, seats represent power. Legislators and those in authority sometimes have their governmental office referred to as a “seat”. A courtroom judge “sits” in judgment of the plaintiff and defendant. Kings and queens sit on thrones, while those petitioning them stand. Often national personifications and deities appear seated on coins as benevolent protectors of the people and nations they represent.

Seated images on coins can take many forms, each with their own significance. They are either male or female and can be sitting upright or reclining. They may appear sitting on globes, plinths, rocks, thrones, horses, mountains, and ottomans; this set even includes a coin with a deity reclining in the clouds. They can appear with an outstretched arm or holding a pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap. They may be illustrated holding weapons like swords, shields, spears, and tridents. Other items held in their hands can include scepters, laurel wreaths, olive branches, cornucopias, scales, and torches. Inside this collection, you will find examples of all these types of coins and more. Yet even with all the aforementioned examples there are still any number of combinations in which a seated personification or image may appear on a coin.

The “Seated Liberty” motif dominated 19th Century United States coinage. Practically every denomination of silver coin in use then featured “Lady Liberty” seated on a rock. In Liberty’s left hand is a pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap and in her right hand, a union shield. Thus, within this set I am including a basic “US Seated Liberty” type set. Most of the Seated Liberty pieces in this set are in extra fine condition because at some point they circulated in day-to-day commerce. As such, they served as ever-present reminders to the people using them of the high cost of both securing and keeping liberty.

In summary, many of the coins I have chosen for this set fit a narrative that I wanted to pursue in each coin’s “owner comments”. Accordingly, the set description for “The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics” is fashioned around the coins in it. Thus, you will find coins in this set that correspond to the previous paragraphs in the set description. That said, I hope you enjoy perusing this set in which you will find a wide variety of numismatic items.



I am honored to have my set named NGC's 2013 "Most Informative" custom set. The following paragraph is the judge's comments concerning this set:

Images of a seated figure or figures are design elements extending back to the ancient world. In this collection is taken a broad, worldwide view of such figures from the 18th Century to the present. The oldest piece is a 1794 Conder token, while the newest is a Canadian $3 piece dated 2013. Each coin or token is shown in excellent photographs, and the owner has provided an informative narrative about the item itself, as well as historic information that places it in its proper context.

Set Goals

To identify and populate this set with coins featuring seated imagery and then to identify and document the 5 W's of those coins. The 5 W's are Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

To put it into concise terms, I have a desire to know "who" designed or commissioned the minting of my coins. I want to know "what" my coins mean, or the message they are conveying other than that of a medium of exchange. The "where" of my coins centers on the nations issuing the coins and their people. The "when" of my coins brings into focus the historical context of the coins, and the "why" is my desire to know for what purpose the coins were minted.

Slot Name
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
View Coin Europe (Roman Empire) ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Gordian III, AD 238-244 AR Double-Denarius Danube Silver Collection NGC XF Fortuna
View Coin Europe (Roman Empire) ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Otacilia Severa,AD 244-49 AR Double-Denarius rv Concordia std. NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 The featured coin this month (Volume 3, Number 11) is a NGC choice AU Roman Empire Double Denarius dating AD 244-249. The obverse of my coin features a right facing bust of Otacilia Severa who was the wife of then emperor, Philipp I the Arab. The reverse features a left seated image of Concordia, the goddess of harmony. To the Romans, Concordia represented peace and harmony between classes of people and in particular between the patricians (nobles) and the plebeians (commoners). Later Concordia came to represent harmony within a marital relationship.

In Concordia’s right hand is a patera. A patera is a shallow bowl used in religious ceremonies to pour out sacrificial libations. In her left hand, Concordia is holding a double cornucopia. From this, I can surmise that the double cornucopia signifies the abundant benefits of peace and harmony.

As is the case with many allegorical coins featuring seated images, the seat is symbolic of a kingdom, empire, or nation and the person sitting thereon as having authority over it. Thus, the seat on this coin seems to represent the Roman Empire and Concordia seated thereon as having authority to bring peace and harmony to the empire.

From what I can discern, the coins of the Ancient Roman Empire served two main purposes. One, they were used as a medium of exchange in commerce and two; they were used to disseminate propaganda. For instance, where a coin features the bust of the ruler on the obverse and a personified deity on the reverse, the people see that ruler as a god identifying him with the personified deity on the reverse.

In the instance of this coin, the empress, Otacilia Severa is identifying herself with Concordia. Interestingly, it was during the reign of Otacilia Severa’s husband Philip that the persecution of Christians ceased across the Roman Empire.

The obverse of another of my ancient coins features a right facing bust of Philip I. On the coins reverse is an image of Roma, the personification of Rome holding Nike (the goddess of victory) in her hand. Since Philip I was born in Syria of a Syrian father, I can reasonably deduce that he sought to identify himself with Roma to shore up his political support in Rome.

Another of my collecting objectives is to trace the spread of western culture and philosophy through coins. While today we do not worship the ancient gods and goddesses per se, I find it fascinating that modern coins still feature many of those same ancient personifications. The presence of these images on modern coinage is a strong indication of how ingrained ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is to our psyche today. Examples of these are the idealized values of Liberty, Concordia, Fortuna, Justice, Fame, and Victory. National personifications include Britannia, Hispania, and Roma/Italia. Remarkably, the aforementioned instances are only a small portion of the many more examples to be found in numismatics.

When I searched for a modern coin using an image of Concordia I used the keyword “Concordia” to search through a PDF copy of Krause’s Catalog of World Coins. What I found is a 1970 Italian 1000 lire coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of Rome as its capital. Consequently, I purchased a NGC MS-66 example of that coin to go with my AD 244-249 ancient coin also featuring Concordia.

This all reminds me of the words of Solomon written in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Gary
View Coin Europe GERMANY - STATES - 2 2T 1846 BAVARIA - CANAL COMPLETED NGC MS 62 The Coin of the Month for August 2014 (Volume 3, Number 12) is an NGC MS-62, 1846 Bavarian 2 Thaler commemorating the completion of Ludwig’s Canal connecting the Main and Danube Rivers.

This coin (KM #822) with an unknown mintage is 38mm in diameter and weighs 37.12 grams. It has a silver fineness of .900 with an ASW of 1.0740 oz. The edge inscription signifies a monetary equivalency of 3 1/2 Guldens (Drey-Einhalb Gulden) and a weight of 1/7 fine silver Cologne Mark (**VII E F M**). The Cologne Mark is a unit of weight equivalent to 233.856 grams or 3600 grains (480 grains/troy ounce). This coins engraver is Carl Friedrich Voight.

The first attempt to build a canal joining the Main and Danube Rivers dates back to 793 AD. The main objective of the canal was to create a navigable waterway between the North and Black Seas. Due to bad weather and unfavorable soil conditions, this work was never completed.

Under Ludwig I, King of Bavaria, construction of a new 172-kilometer canal between Kelheim and Bamberg began in 1836. Ten years later work on the canal was finally complete and Ludwig's Canal opened to commercial traffic in 1846.

With the advent of the railroad, commercial traffic on the canal began to decline. Eventually, having suffered the effects of declining use, neglect, and war damage the canal closed in 1950. Today only 60-kilometers of the waterway remains and much of that has been converted into a scenic bike trail.

For a long time I have wanted to post this coin as the “Coin of the Month”. However, information on this coin is sparse and I have had trouble identifying the images on the coins reverse. At first, I thought the images might be that of Hercules and Bavaria. Then again, other imagery on the coin seems to suggest that they are representative images of the Main and Danube Rivers. Then I figured the female image holding the rudder represents the Main River and the male image holding the paddle the Danube. Subsequently, I found that I was wrong on all counts.

Since information on the coin itself is sparse, I looked for clues to the allegory of this coin by researching the canal itself. Perusing several related photographs using Google images I discovered a picture of a monument using imagery similar to that of my coin. Not coincidentally, this monument located north of Erlangen on Castle Hill was the site of the canal’s dedication on July 15, 1846. Then after a few more Google searches I discovered the key to deciphering my coin’s imagery and my search was over!

The female image on this coin's reverse is Danubia, the personification of the Danube River. The male image is Moenus, the river god of the Main River (Moenus is the Latin word for Main). Danubia and Moenus are shaking hands to signify the joining of the Main and Danube Rivers. Additionally, they are wearing a laurel wreath on their head to symbolize the victorious completion of the canal's construction. With their left hand Danubia is holding a rudder and Moenus a paddle suggesting that the newly completed canal is a navigable waterway.

Danubia and Moenus also appear seated on jars of pouring water. This imagery implies that they are representative figures of their respective rivers. The joining of the poured waters may symbolize the North Sea of the Main River connecting to the Black Sea of the Danube River and becoming one. The obverse of the coin features a right facing bust of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

PCGS has a total population of only four of these coins, one MS-65, one MS-62, one AU-58, and one AU-50. NGC has a total population of three coins, two MS-62’s and an AU-58. A NumisMaster value of $950 for this coin in MS-63 condition and low populations from both major third-party graders suggest that this coin is rare. Conservatively, my guess is that there are less than one hundred of these coins left today. This leads me to believe that these coins were either handed out and/or sold at the canal’s dedication and not minted for general circulation. This may also be the reason that there is no mintage information for this coin.

In the end, when you research your coins, leave no stone unturned. This may prove a little tedious but let me assure you that you will not regret it! Now until next month, happy collecting!
View Coin Europe GERMANY - STATES - 2 TALER 1871 BAVARIA - VICTORY NGC MS 64 1871 Bavaria Victory Taler:

This beautifully toned coin commemorates victory in the Franco-Prussian War. That war between France and the North German Confederation of Prussia allied with the southern German states including Bavaria ended with the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May 1871. The inscriptions on the reverse of this coin are translated:

Through Battle and Victory to Peace
Peace Treaty at Frankfurt am Main
The 10th of May 1871

The female personification on this coin’s reverse is Bavaria in all her splendor, seated and resting after attaining a satisfying victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war. In her right hand, she is holding a laurel wreath signifying victory. In her left hand, she is holding a cornucopia signifying abundance and quite possibly in this instance, the spoils of war and victory. In the background is an olive branch signifying peace. Thus, the imagery on this coin perfectly aligns with its inscription, “Through Battle and Victory to Peace.”

The postcard featured with this coin is the “Hall of Fame” in the city of Munich, the capital of Bavaria. In front of the hall is a bronze statue of Bavaria in all her strength and glory standing next to a lion.
View Coin Europe GERMANY - STATES - 2 TALER 1871A PRUSSIA - VICTORY NGC MS 63 In contrast to the Bavarian Victory Taler, this victory taler from Prussia takes a decidedly more militarist approach to Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The key to understanding this coin’s allegory directly correlates to the unification of the North German Confederation and the southern German states into the German Empire on January 18, 1871. The unification of the German states into the German Empire and a resounding victory in the Franco-Prussian War left Germany as the preeminent power in Europe and Wilhelm I, King of Prussia as its Emperor.

The reverse of this coin features a crowned image of Germania, the national personification of Germany seated on an elevated platform resembling a throne. She is holding a downward pointing unsheathed sword in her right hand while leaning on the Prussian arms with her left forearm. The downward pointing sword signifies peace, but only in the sense of a cessation of hostilities after a decisive victory. However, it also indicates preparedness for war. As such, this coin conveys an image of preparedness and strength. Leaning on the Prussian arms shows that Germania identifies with Prussia. The imperial crown upon Germania’s head suggests power and authority. On the obverse of this coin is a profile of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia and the first Emperor of the German Empire. Linking Wilhelm I with the powerful imagery of Germania implies that he was very powerful.

The image substituted for this coins reverse is an 1873 painting showing Germania prepared and standing at the watch on the River Rhine with a wary eye towards France.
View Coin Europe FRANCE - MEDALS BRONZE UNDATED DECORATIVE ARTS SCHOOL BESCHER - (46mm) NGC MS 65 BN While randomly perusing E-Bay one day, I discovered an attractive German bronze medal that I just had to have. However, it was certified, and the seller wanted too much money for it. Not dissuaded by that, I bought a raw medal that was a little more than half the cost of the certified one. That medal is an 1844 Berlin Exhibition Medal under the catalog number Wurzbach-685. This medal, struck in high relief, measures 45mm in diameter.

The medal commemorates an 1844 all-Germany exposition in Berlin. The obverse features an image of Germania sitting on a rock. Germania is pictured holding a tightly bound, close-ended wreath. Resting at Germania’s side is a sword depicted in the ready position. Engraved on the rock is the motto, "Stand together." Accordingly, the rock symbolizes cooperation and unity among the German States under a united German confederation represented by Germania. The obverse legend around the rim reads, "Remembering the exhibition of German commercial products to Berlin 1844."

The tightly bound close-ended wreath in Germania’s right hand is an Oakleaf Civic Crown. The Oakleaf Civic Crown has its origins in ancient Rome. It is the second-highest military honor a person could receive. To earn it a person was required to save the life of a Roman citizen in battle, slay his opponent, and hold the ground on which this took place. The only acceptable battlefield testimony allowed to determine the worthiness of the recipient was that of the soldier whose life was saved.

The reverse scenes positioned on top of a grain and grapevine wreath celebrate German industrial expertise. Pictured atop and moving clockwise is a steamship, mining equipment, and an oil derrick, a chemist table, agricultural tools, and a textile loom. The train in the center of the wreath represents the forward progress of German industrialization. The reverse legend reads, "Forward with German diligence and German power." Thus, this medal leaves no doubt as to the more assertive nature of Germany’s national priorities.
View Coin Europe DENMARK 1873 TO DATE 20K 1890 HC CS NGC MS 64 The 1890 20 Kroner has a mintage of 102,000. It was minted in Copenhagen, as signified by the heart to the left of the date. The initials CS to the right of the date represent mint official Diderik Christian Andreas Svendsen. The coin struck in .900 fine gold weighs 8.9605 grams and has an AGW of .2593oz.

The obverse of this coin features a right-facing bust of King Christian IX. The initials HC at the base of Christian IX’s truncated neck represent the coins engraver, Harald Conradsen. The reverse features Dania’s seated image with her left forearm resting on the upper rim of a shield engraved with the Danish coat of arms. With her right hand, Dania is holding a scepter representing Denmark’s sovereignty. A sheaf of corn behind Dania represents Denmark’s agricultural economy and its main export. Finally, at the feet of Dania, illustrating Danish naval prowess is a dolphin, which denotes good luck and fair weather.

There is a saying, which asserts that a common perception can become a reality. For example, the wings on Liberty’s headdress of the Mercury Dime signify freedom of thought. However, the public perceived the coin to represent the Roman god Mercury. Thus, the “Winged Liberty Head Dime” is forever known as “The Mercury Dime.”

Another public perception born of a Danish fascination with mermaids applies to the Danish 20 Kroner coin, commonly referred to as the “Mermaid Coin.” Now the image on the reverse of the 20 Kroner is clearly not a mermaid. However, it can appear that way in the imagination of the person viewing the coin by merging the dolphin’s tail into the feet of Dania.

Denmark, as a maritime nation, would naturally be attracted to anything concerning the sea. Add to this the charm of seagoing folklore, and it is easy to see the connection between the Danish people and the “Mermaid Coin.”

Danish author Hans Christian Anderson tapped into the essence of this when he published the popular children’s fairytale “The Little Mermaid” in 1837. Later in 1909, commissioned by brewer and art collector Carl Jacobsen, sculptor Edvard Eriksen fashioned a statue based on “The Little Mermaid.” Now an iconic symbol of Copenhagen, the life-size bronze of “The Little Mermaid,” sits on a rock in the harbor off Langelinie Promenade.

Here in the United States, most of us identify more with the 1989 Walt Disney adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” My daughter was only five when this movie first came out, and I remember her fascination with mermaids. Ariel, from the famous Walt Disney movie, “The Little Mermaid,” is pictured with my coin. Also displayed is a 1911 Edmund Dulac Illustration of the Little Mermaid and the Prince.

I recall an instance at the grocery store with my daughter when we walked by a “Chicken of the Sea” placard in the tuna fish aisle. At the sight of the placard, my “Little Girl” pointed and said, “Daddy, Mermaid.” Along with a picture of a mermaid were redemption coupons offering to send us a free stuffed mermaid in exchange for several tuna labels. Wrapped around my daughter’s little finger, I tore off one of the redemption coupons. You can well imagine what happened after that. Let us just say we ate a lot of “Chicken of the Sea” tuna for a while!

Many of the coins in my collection remind me of fond life experiences, and this coin is no exception. This coin reminds me of the cherished times I had with my daughter. One of the beauties of numismatics is that the interpretation of symbolic images is often in the “eyes of the beholder.” While artists and engravers have their own ideas about their coins’ symbolism, it all comes down to how you perceive the coin in your hand!
View Coin Europe DENMARK 1873 TO DATE 2K 1903 P GJ 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF REIGN NGC MS 65 The 1903 Danish 2 Kroner coin commemorates the 40th anniversary of the reign of Christian IX. The obverse features a right-facing bust of Christian IX, King of Denmark. His reign, 15 November 1863 to 1903, appears around the inner circumference. Underneath the left portion of Christian IX's bust is the coins date of 1903 and a heart signifying that it was minted in Copenhagen. The initial P to the right of the date represents mint master Vilhelm Buchard Poulsen. The initials GJ underneath the right portion of Christian IX's bust is this coin's engraver, Knud Gunnar Jensen.

For illustrative and comparison purposes, I will contrast this coin with the gold 20 Kroner. I find it fascinating that two coins with similar designs have such diverse interpretations. The 20 Kroner gold coin came into existence as an international trade coin at the founding of the Scandinavian Monetary Union with Sweden in 1873 and Norway two years later. The Danish 20 Kroner circulated at par with the gold coins of the other member nations.

The 20- and 2-Kroner coins feature the feminine allegorical figure, Dania. Dania, the personification of Denmark, represents Denmark's spirit. Dania, as portrayed on the 2 Kroner, is at rest, symbolizing peace. The seated position generally embodies a person of authority like a monarch, a god or goddess, or perhaps some other high government official.

Often the shield accompanying the seated personification displays the coat of arms of the issuing nation. As a defensive piece of armor, the shield characterizes preparedness and protection from all potential foes, foreign and domestic.

The Danish coat of arms emblazoned on the 2- and 20-Kroner coins' shield features three crowned blue lions and nine hearts. Historians believe that the hearts at one time were the petals of the white lotus, which is a type of water lily. However, this was lost over the years and became today's hearts due to worn and crudely made signets during the Middle Ages.

The sheaf of wheat on the 2 Kroner and corn on the 20 Kroner represents Denmark's agricultural nature and agricultural exports. While other European nations fueled the industrial revolution of the 19th Century, Denmark led the way in an agricultural revolution. Universal education and other political reforms of the late 18th to mid-19th Century eventually lead to new agricultural technologies, innovations, and co-ops.

At this point, the allegories of the 2 Kroner and the 20 Kroner take on different meanings. As illustrated on the 20 Kroner, Dania is seen holding a scepter in her right hand, signifying Danish sovereignty. At her feet is a dolphin. The dolphin is an ancient omen of good luck and fair weather, symbolizing Danish naval prowess. Since this coin was meant for circulation outside Denmark, the coin's allegory was directed towards foreigners.

However, the 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner was meant to remind Danish citizens of the benefits of living in Denmark under Christian IX. The legend on the reverse delimited by flowers and translated, "With God for Honor and Justice," reveals this coin's real intent and defines the allegory.

Rather than holding a scepter as on the 20 Kroner, Dania is seen extending her right arm. Extending the arm, especially for someone in authority, can signify power and leadership. A person may also extend their arm to give someone directions or to show them the way. It can also suggest things like acceptance, welcome, vulnerability, transparency, and compassion. Seizing upon these definitions, I believe this allegory's purpose was to remind the people of their government's benevolence. Interestingly, it was during the reign of Christian IX that the following social programs were introduced:
• 1891—Old age pension law: means-tested pensions for persons 60 years or older, financed by the state and communes through general taxation.
• 1892—Sickness insurance law: public subsidies to recognized voluntary insurance funds.
• 1898—Employers' liability act: to ensure worker's compensation in case of industrial accidents. (THE DEVELOPMENTAL WELFARE STATE IN SCANDINAVIA: LESSONS FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD, STEIN KUHNLE, AND SVEN EO HORT)

Tensions between Denmark and Germany were high when Christian IX ascended to the throne in November of 1863. Consequently, Denmark found themselves at war with Prussia and Austria in 1864 over the disputed duchies of Schleswig-Holstein. After about eight months, Denmark was soundly defeated. This war caused a shift in national priorities from colonialism to domestic development and neutrality in international affairs. The effect of this shift brought peace and prosperity to Denmark, hence the dove as the international symbol of peace on the 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner.
View Coin Europe SWITZERLAND CONFEDERATION S50F 1984 Switzerlnd ZURICH - OBERHASLI Hab-24a NGC MS 67 Helvetia
View Coin Europe AUSTRIA - EMPIRE PART 2 2FL 1879 SILVER WEDDING ANNIV. NGC MS 63 Gary’s Coin of the Month (Volume 3, Number 2) features a coin commemorating the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Elizabeth of Bavaria. The obverse of this coin portrays an image of their conjoined busts and the reverse features a seated image of the goddess Fortuna. This coin (KM#X5) grading MS-63 by NGC resides in my newest custom set entitled, “The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics.”

In 1879, the Austro-Hungarian Empire issued a 2 gulden commemorative coin to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Franz Joseph I of Austria to Elizabeth of Bavaria. Equivalent to 2 Austrian Florins or 2 Hungarian Forints, the coin is 36mm in diameter and weighs 24.69 grams. It has a silver fineness of .900 and an ASW of .7144 oz. Minted in Vienna, Austria, this coin has a mintage of 275,000.

The central device on the obverse of this coin are the conjoined heads of Franz Joseph I wearing a laureate crown signifying honor and Elizabeth wearing a diadem signifying royal power or dignity. The obverse legend translated into English is “Franz-Jozef by the grace of God emperor of Austria and Apostolic king of Hungary, Elisabeth empress and queen.” Inscribed on this coins edge is its denomination at 2 Gulden/2 Forint.

The central device on the reverse of this coin is Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance or lot. Fortuna appears seated on an ottoman representing the oracular seat from where she steers the destinies of men as signified by the rudder in her right hand. Cradled in Fortuna’s left arm is a cornucopia representing abundance. Fortuna, as portrayed on this coin is regarded as the bearer of good fortune, fertility and abundance. The reverse legend translated from Latin into English is “Fifth period of five years of the marriage ceremony 24th of April 1879.”

Unfortunately, for Franz Joseph and Elisabeth history records quite a different destiny for this couple than what the coin suggests. One could even make the argument that due to their vastly differing personalities, they should not have married in the first place. Nevertheless, they were married anyway on April 24, 1854.

Now Franz Joseph had a lackluster personality and was devoted to the formality and tradition of the Hapsburg royal court. Conversely, Elizabeth was more of a free spirit, and abhorred the obligations that came along with being an empress. Consequently, even though Franz Joseph loved his wife dearly, Elizabeth did not respond with the same affection.

Elizabeth nicknamed “Sisi” by her family and friends felt emotionally constricted by the formality of the Hapsburg court. Consequently, I believe that the stressful expectations placed on her led to her obsession with beauty and various other health issues including anorexia.

In Elizabeth’s defense, Franz Joseph’s mother princess Sophie was very domineering towards her son and against their marriage. Additionally, Sophie had not allowed Elizabeth to raise her own children and separated them from her at birth. Though hated by her subjects in Austria, Elizabeth was loved by the people of Hungary. Consequently, I believe that Elizabeth’s love for Hungary and her influence on her husband were contributing factors in the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1869. This agreement gave Hungary a certain degree of autonomy and made Elizabeth and her husband the king and queen of Hungary.

Franz Joseph over the tenure of his reign presided over the gradual eroding of the Austrian Empire by other peoples from within the empire seeking their own autonomy and independence. Furthermore, Franz Joseph’s mother, princess Sophie, exercised undue influence over Franz Joseph until her death in 1872. The effect of that influence placed a wedge in the relationship between Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. Later, somewhat estranged from each other, circumstantial evidence led to persisting rumors that they were both involved in extra-marital affairs.

Tragedy was an ever-present reality in the lives of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. This started with the death of their first-born child Sophie at the age of two in 1857. The murder-suicide of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth's only son Crown Prince Rudolf and his lover followed in 1889. The Mayerling incident named after the hunting lodge where the murder-suicide occurred was personally devastating to both Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. This incident also destabilized the empire as the lineage to the throne passed to the son of Franz Joseph’s brother, archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In 1853 Franz Joseph survived an assassination attempt on his life. However, Elizabeth was not quite as fortunate as an Italian anarchist assassinated her in Geneva, Switzerland in 1898. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and shortly thereafter Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia thus igniting a chain of events that erupted into World War 1.

In summary, I wish to make two closing points. First is that I find it fascinating the degree to which this dysfunctional family directly affected the history of the world, including the number of people who have died in World War 1. My next point relates to Fortuna and one of two possibilities, she either is capricious in the way she directs destinies OR she is no god at all. I choose to believe the latter. Until next month, Happy collecting!
View Coin Europe AUSTRIA - REPUBLIC 5S 1966 NGC AU Details This coin is widely considered as one of the most beautiful coins in the world. The obverse features a bust of Emperor Franz Joseph 1st and commemorates the 60th anniversary of his reign over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reverse design often referred to as “The Lady in the Clouds” is a representation of Klymene, the Titan goddess of “Fame."

This NCS/NGC AU details, 1908 100 Corona gold coin with the Krause Publications catalog number of KM# 2812 is 37mm in diameter and weighs 33.8753 grams. The metallic composition of this coin is .9000 gold at .9803 Oz AGW. The designer of this coin is Rudolf Marschall, and the mintage is 16,000. I bought this coin from an E-Bay seller in Germany.

The Latin inscription on the obverse of this coin around the perimeter is translated “Franz Joseph by the grace of God, Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, Galicia, Illyria, etc. and elected king of Hungary.” The central device on the coin’s obverse is a right facing bust of Emperor Franz Joseph 1. Additionally, there is Latin phrase in incuse lettering around the plain edge of this coin. That phrase, “VIRIBVS VNITIS” is the emperor’s personal motto and is translated “With United Forces."

On December 2, 1848, Franz Joseph 1 became Emperor of Austria succeeding his uncle Ferdinand 1. This began a reign that would last nearly 68 years until his death on November 21, 1916. Throughout his reign, various nationalists disputed the reign of Franz Joseph. One such dispute led to the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867, uniting the empire under one king but ceding certain rights and autonomy to Hungary. Then in 1908 (the year that my coin was minted), Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and consequently, on June 28, 1914, Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Shortly thereafter, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia thus triggering several opposing alliances to usher in the beginning of World War 1. Franz Joseph’s grandnephew Charles 1 succeeded him on the throne at his death in 1916, and became the final emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The monarchy dissolved following World War 1 on November 12, 1918.

The reverse inscriptions on this coin display the coin's face value of “100 Cor.” along with the dates 1848 and 1908. The Latin phrase “DVODECIM LVSTRIS GLORIOSE PERACTIS” appears on the lower-center of the reverse and is translated “60 years gloriously accomplished." The central device on the reverse is an image of Klymene, the Titan goddess of “Fame." Klymene appears at rest, reclining in the clouds and leaning on a shield displaying the coat of arms of the Austrian Empire. In her right hand is laurel wreath symbolizing victory, achievement, prosperity, status, and of course fame. In the field around and behind Klymene are rays of sunlight. A heavenly or celestial setting accentuates the “glorious reign” theme of this coin.

Klymene is the Titan goddess of fame, renown, and infamy. Kymene was married to the Titan god Iapetos and two of her better-known offspring are Prometheus and Atlas. Another name Klymene is known by is Asia and as such she was the goddess of Asia-Minor. Klymene was also the handmaiden of Hera, the wife of Zeus. At “The Judgment of Paris” Hera probably offered Paris of Troy the “fame” of rulership in return for Paris awarding her the “golden apple.” Subsequently, Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite in exchange for the hand of Helene in marriage. The abduction of Helene led to the Trojan War and the rest as they say is mythology.

The coat of arms on the shield portrays a crowned double-headed eagle underneath a single crown. In the left talon of the eagle is a cross-bearing orb and in its right talon, a scepter and a sword. These items represent the church and state respectively. The crowned double-headed eagle underneath the single crown represents that Emperor Franz Joseph 1 has authority over both church and state. The crest on the eagle’s breast represents the “House of Habsburg-Lorraine” of which Franz Joseph is a family member.
View Coin Europe GREECE 20D 1973 KINGDOM NARROW RIM NGC MS 66 20D 1973 KINGDOM KM-111.1:

The obverse of this 20-drachmai coin from Greece features Selene, the titan goddess of the moon riding side saddled on a horse over the night ocean. Even though Selene appears seated on a horse, in antiquity she is often portrayed as driving a chariot pulled by a pair of winged steeds. The next paragraph is a verse of a hymn written about her:

And next, sweet voiced Muses, daughters of Zeus, well- skilled in song, tell of the long-winged Moon. From her immortal head a radiance is shown from heaven and embraces earth; and great is the beauty that ariseth from her shining light. The air, unlit before, glows with the light of her golden crown, and her rays beam clear, whensoever bright Selene having bathed her lovely body in the waters of Ocean, and donned her far-gleaming, shining team, drives on her long-maned horses at full speed, at eventime in the mid-month: then her great orbit is full and then her beams shine brightest as she increases. So she is a sure token and a sign to mortal men.

The central device on the reverse of this coin is the emblem of the junta and features a soldier with a bayoneted rifle slung over his right shoulder standing at attention in front of a Phoenix. The date 21 April 1967 is the date of the Greek Coup d’état led by a group of high-ranking army officers.
View Coin Europe GREECE 2E 2002 NGC MS 66 2E 2002:

In 2002, Greece released a 2-Euro coin featuring Europa, the personification of Europe based on the mythological fable of “The Abduction of Europa”. The reverse of the coin highlights the member nations of the European Union in the form of a map. Each of the member nations of the European Union including Greece mints their own coins.

As the myth goes, Europa was a beautiful Phoenician woman of high social status. Her lineage descends from the nymph Io who herself was seduced by Zeus. Due to the jealousy of Zeus’s wife Hera, Zeus transforms Io into a heifer to protect her from Hera. Now impassioned with desire for Europa, Zeus changes himself into a white bull and mingles in with the herd of Europa’s father. One day while gathering flowers, Europa encounters the white bull and is herself charmed. Gradually enticed, Europa finally climbs up on the bulls back. Seizing the opportunity to abduct Europa, the white bull leaps into the sea and swims to the island of Create with Europa seated on his back.

Later the Romans adapted this story to their chief god Jupiter and the following paragraph is their version of the “Abduction of Europa” written by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC to AD 17 or 18):

And gradually she lost her fear, and he
Offered his breast for her virgin caresses,
His horns for her to wind with chains of flowers
Until the princess dared to mount his back
Her pet bull's back, unwitting whom she rode.
Then—slowly, slowly down the broad, dry beach—
First in the shallow waves the great god set
His spurious hooves, then sauntered further out
'til in the open sea he bore his prize
Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw
The fast receding sands. Her right hand grasped
A horn, the other lent upon his back
Her fluttering tunic floated in the breeze.

Interestingly, “The Abduction of Europa” is also written in the stars as the constellation Taurus. Furthermore, both Io and Europa have a moon named after them orbiting the planet Jupiter. The picture of Europa that accompanies my coin features Europa’s namesake moon in the sky above her.

This coin came to me as a gift from The BRG Collection, many thanks.
View Coin Europe ITALY LIRA 1922R NGC MS 64 1922R LIRA:

The obverse of this coin features the goddess Roma sitting on a plinth. In Roma’s left hand is an image of the goddess Nike standing on a small globe. In Romas right hand is an olive branch signifying peace. Interestingly, there are those who suggest that the identity of the seated image on the obverse of the 1922 lira is Italia. However, the presence of Nike the winged goddess of victory seems to imply that the image on the coins obverse is Roma.

To prove my point, the coin pictured as the reverse is an ancient coin featuring the goddess Roma holding Victory. On coinage featuring Roma, Roma is typically illustrated holding Victory. The use of Roma in 1922 rather than Italia then seems to suggest a victory reminiscent of the glory of the old Roman Empire.

Thus, the interpretation of this coin signifies Italy’s role in the allied victory during World War I. The irony of this is that though victorious, the war was devastating to Italy. This led to civil unrest and the March on Rome in 1922 resulting in the rise to power of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini as Italy’s prime minister. Coincidently or not, the first year of this coins issuance is 1922.

The reverse of this coin features the Savoy Arms of Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy encircled within a wreath. The coins denomination to the right of the arms is translated, Good for 1 Lira.
View Coin Europe ITALY 50C 1925R PLAIN EDGE NGC MS 64
View Coin Europe ICELAND S500K 1986 ICELANDIC BANKNOTES NGC PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO The "Lady of the Mountain" (Fjallkonan) is the female incarnation (national personification) of Iceland. While she symbolized what Icelanders considered genuine and purely Icelandic, in her purity, she reflected a deep-seated, but unattainable, wish of Icelanders to be an independent nation.

Fjallkonan is thus not only a national symbol; she also represents the national vision, the nation's ultimate dream. Iceland gained its independence in 1918 followed by the Republic of Iceland in 1944.
View Coin Europe Great Britain 1/2P (1790'S) GB D&H-36D SOMERSETSHIRE - BATH NORTHWEST COLLECTION NGC TOKEN AU 58 BN Gary’s March Coin of the Month (Volume 3 Number 7) features a copper NGC AU-58 1790’s ½ penny Conder Token (D&H-36D).

During the late 18th Century, the widespread use of merchant tokens in the United Kingdom filled a void left by the government’s failure to mint enough coins for commerce. These tokens provided an effective means for merchants to advertise their wares or in the case of this token, propagate a political cause.

Now let’s say that you owed a debt you could not pay. The worst thing that could happen to you is that you will lose your home. Furthermore, you may even have to file for bankruptcy. However, if you lived in the late 18th Century you could be looking at a prison sentence until your debt was paid in full.

Consequently, since incarceration in “debtors’ prison” directly affected your ability to earn money, you may well be serving a long sentence. Because 18th Century prisons were privately run, you also had to pay a prison fee. So with the prison fees added to your original debt, your debt only compounded. Because of the capriciousness and injustice of this system, English philanthropist John Howard advocated for prison reform.

Another of those 18th Century philanthropists was a print shop owner by the name of William Gye from the City of Bath in southwest England. In 1794, William Gye issued a token bringing attention to the poor conditions of the imprisoned debtors he visited weekly at Ilchester Gaol (gaol is British for prison). From his print shop in Bath, William Gye took donations to aid the debtors in prison and distributed his tokens as change.

As the movement for prison reform began to catch fire, other merchants issued tokens using similar reverse devices to those of William Gye’s original token. In all, there are some thirteen varieties of this Conder Token. My token without a date or identified merchant has as its edge inscription, “Payable at London or Dublin”. Given the distance between London and Dublin my token shows the extent and popularity of the prison reform movement in the United Kingdom.

The reverse of my token based on Gye’s original design has as its’ central device a seated woman representing benevolence. Surrounding Benevolence is a number of jars representing plenty. Benevolence with her right arm stretched out towards the prison is directing a young boy with a key to open the prison door. In her left hand, she is holding an olive branch representing peace or specifically in this case, a paid debt. Underneath the prison window is a basket for express purpose of receiving donations from passer-bys. Overhead in rays of glory as if from God is the command to “Go Forth”. The legend inside a beaded circle and delimited by a small ornament reads, “Remember the Debtors in Goal”. As an aside, it interesting to note that the word “gaol” is misspelled “goal” on the token.

On the obverse of this token is a bust of prison reformer, John Howard F.R.S (Fellow of the Royal Society). The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge is a learned society for science of which John Howard was elected in 1756. Each member of the Royal Society has the right to use the initials F.R.S. after their name.

Born in 1726 John Howard grew up in a family of considerable wealth. Later he apprenticed as a wholesale grocer only to find himself deeply dissatisfied. As a young man devout in his faith and probably in search of his calling, John went on a grand tour of the European continent in 1748.

Then after the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, John Howard departed on a ship destined for Portugal only to be imprisoned when French privateers captured his ship. Subsequently, John returned to the United Kingdom in a prisoner exchange with France. Thus, it is likely that John Howard’s experience as a prisoner had a profound impact on his life’s work as a prison reformer.

Appointed as the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1773, John Howard found himself in a unique position to examine the conditions of the prisons under his charge and effect changes. Over time, John Howard visited hundreds of prisons across the United Kingdom and Europe, publishing his findings in a 1777 report entitled, “The State of Prisons”. On a number of occasions, the House of Commons called on John Howard to testify before a select committee. John continued his work as a reformer visiting prisons around the world and publishing his findings. He died in the Ukraine in 1790.

Upon news of his death, a large number of merchants chose to commemorate John Howard by featuring his bust on their tokens. These tokens heightened the public’s awareness of the conditions in their prisons and in particular debtors’ prisons. Subsequently, the passage of the Debtors’ Act of 1869 and the Bankruptcy Act of 1883 ended the practice of imprisoning debtors altogether in the United Kingdom.

The picture substituting as this token's reverse is a drawing of Gye's print shop circa 1819.
View Coin Europe Great Britain 1/2P 1794 G.BRIT D&H-3C BEDFORDSHIRE - LEIGHTON NGC MS 64 BN 1/2P 1794 G.BRIT D&H-3C BEDFORDSHIRE – LEIGHTON:

The firm of Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company specializing in the sale of lace issued this charming halfpenny token in 1794. It was payable at their shops in Leighton Buzzard, Berkhamsted, and London. To replenish their inventory of lace, Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company commissioned women living near their shops to manufacture it for them.

The central device on the obverse of this token is a woman sitting underneath a tree in a relaxing environment working with fabric to make lace. Around the top rim of the token is the obverse legend, “Lace Manufactory”. Allegorically, the woman on this token is representative of what must have been a multitude of artistically skilled women fashioning lace for Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company.

The central device on the reverse of this token is a sheep and the date 1794 in exergue. As such, the sheep represents wool, one of the raw materials used to make lace.The purpose for including this token in my set is to illustrate one of many important tasks done from a seated position.

Incidentally, with the industrial revolution (circa 1760-1840) came the introduction of machines into the workplace making it possible for many more jobs to be done from a seated position. Unfortunately for the women manufacturing lace by hand, the introduction of machines made lace mass-producible and thus much cheaper. Regardless, there will always be a premium paid for handmade crafts.

The Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th Century dramatically changed the labor market throughout Great Britain. This resulted in an increased need for small copper currency. However, the supply of government issued coins failed to meet the needs of commerce for the newly industrialized British economy. In response, a large number of merchants throughout the British Islands issued copper tokens redeemable for goods and services. This resulted in thousands of differing merchant tokens circulating throughout the British Islands. Those tokens commonly referred to as Conder Tokens are named after James Conder who first cataloged them.

The tokens were a hit with both the storekeepers and the buying public. Most of the merchants loved the tokens because they could use the device designs on the tokens to advertise their business. Other merchants used the tokens to make a political statement and this token falls into that category.

John Stride, a grocer and tea dealer operating a business in the small port town of Emsworth in Hampshire County issued this 1795-halfpenny token. The obverse device features a profile bust of Admiral of the Fleet, Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe and commemorates “The Glorious First of June” naval battle with France in 1794. The reverse device features Britannia seated on a globe over the sea holding a spear in her right hand and a laurel branch in her left. The reverse legend reads, “Rule Britannia” while the edge inscription reads, “Emsworth Halfpenny Payable by John Stride”.

In the last decade of the 18th century, all of Europe was in fear of the French Revolution reaching beyond the borders of France. With France already at war with four of her neighbors, she finally declared war with Great Britain on February 1, 1793. This action resulted in Great Britain placing a naval blockade on France’s seaports. Suffering from the effects of a famine and in desperate need of food and supplies, France turned to the United States for help. The United States in response sent vital grain and provisions to France via a convoy protected by France’s naval fleet. On June 1, 1794, the British fleet under the command of Fleet Admiral Howe engaged the French fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse 400 miles off the French island of Ushant.

The fighting was furious with heavy casualties on both sides, which in the end resulted in a tactical victory for Great Britain and France’s fleet severely crippled. However, the French could also claim a strategic victory in that the convoy of supplies arrived safely in France. Naturally, both the British and French press had a different spin on “The Glorious First of June” with both sides claiming victory.

This famous naval battle leads into the allegory of this token. When a person “sits” on a representative object like a throne representing a country or a “seat” in a government, that person is in effect ruling over the persons represented by that object. This token features Britannia representing Great Britain as having mastery or dominion over the world’s oceans by sitting on a globe set upon the waters. The spear represents her enforcement arm and the laurel branch victory. As if there were any room for interpretation, the legend, “Rule Britannia” makes the allegory of this token quite clear.

The commemorative engraving substituting for this tokens reverse features Britannia sitting with a lion on the shore surveying a British ship in the harbor. Directly over her is a tree with the busts of the naval heroes from “The Glorious First of June”. In the air over the water flying towards Britannia is Nike preparing to crown her with the laurel wreath of “Victory”.
View Coin Europe Great Britain 1/2P 1796 SCOT D&H-58 LOTHIAN - LEITH E: PLAIN NGC TOKEN MS 64 BN 1/2P 1796 SCOT D&H-58 LOTHIAN - LEITH E: PLAIN:

John White, a dealer in tea and gin operating from the Port of Leith, a district of Edinburg, Scotland is the issuer of this beautiful 1796 token. The obverse of this token promotes the Port of Leith and features a large ship approaching the port. The reverse advertises the goods that John White traded and features a bale of tea and two casks of gin. As a trader of goods, John White had a stake in making sure his trades were fair and equitable. The principle of fair trade is the primary focus of the allegory featured on the reverse of this token.

The identity of the woman featured on the reverse of this token is unknown except that the pair of scales she is holding represents fair trade. Interestingly, the Romans had a minor goddess named Aequitas who was the goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Therefore, it is my intention to make the case that the identity of the women on this token is Aequitas.

The goddess Aequitas is generally portrayed standing holding a pair of scales in her right hand and a cornucopia or a “hasta pura” in the other. This imagery seems to suggest that Aequitas was also associated with prosperity. Aequitas may also, but not often, be portrayed in a seated position as she is on this token.

Since Aequitas appears on this token sitting on a bale or cargo crate, it demonstrates her controlling authority over fair trade and commerce at the Port of Leith. The large thistle behind her represents Scotland and may suggest governmental oversight and/or enforcement of her activities. Of course, the pair of scales in her right hand represents fair trade. In Aequitas’s left hand is a “hasta pura”. The “hasta pura” is an ironless spear about two meters long generally held by a female deity or personification and denotes power.

The coin substituting for the reverse of this token is an ancient Roman coin from the reign of Claudius II (AD 268-270) featuring Aequitas holding a pair of scales and a cornucopia.
View Coin Europe GREAT BRITAIN 1816-1901 1/2P 1858/6 G.britain NGC AU 55 BN The 1858/6 Great Britain halfpenny (KM#726) is a copper coin, 28 mm in diameter, and weighing 9.1-9.5 grams with a mintage of 2,473,000. The obverse features the young-head bust of Queen Victoria, the date, and a Latin inscription around the rim of the coin. The obverse inscription is translated, Victoria by the Grace of God. The reverse features Britannia in a right facing seated position holding Poseidons trident and a shield displaying the Union Flag. Underneath Britannia are a shamrock (three-leafed clover), a rose, and a thistle. These flowers represent the three kingdoms of the United Kingdom: Ireland, England, and Scotland respectively. The Latin inscription around the rim of the reverse is translated, Queen of the British Territories, Defender of the Faith.

Britannia is an ancient Latin term tracing back to the first-century BC used to describe a group of islands, including Albion or Great Britain. In AD 43, the Romans invaded Great Britain and established a province there they named Britannia. During the second-century AD, Britannia became personified as a goddess typically seen wearing a centurion helmet, and armed with a spear and shield (much like that of Minerva).

Britannia first appeared in a seated position on bronze coinage during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). That first Britannia commemorates Hadrians visit to the province and the building of the Hadrian wall in AD 122. Originally, this coin signified that Britannia was bound and subjugated by her Roman occupiers. Over time, the seated position of Britannia would come to mean something altogether different.

Long after the withdrawal of the Romans from Great Britain in AD 410, the name Britannia referring to the British islands remained popular among the Britons. During the Renaissance period more than a thousand years later, Britannia came to be viewed as the national personification of Great Britain.

On British coinage, Britannia first appeared on the farthing in 1672 and the halfpenny later that year. On those first coins, Britannia appeared seated on a globe holding an olive branch with her right hand and a spear with her left. A shield bearing the Union Flag of England and Scotland leans against the globe. As such, Britannia became a symbol of British power and a strong rallying point among Britons. First appearing during the reign of Charles II, Britannia has graced the coinage of every British monarch since.

With the official unification of England and Scotland in 1707, and the subsequent adding of Ireland to the union in 1801 came an exponential rise in power and influence all around the world. Thus, the British Empire would become the largest empire the world has known. To reflect this rise in power and in particular naval superiority, Britannia wearing a centurion helmet donned a more militaristic look, arming herself with Poseidons trident and a shield. Other views of Britannia show her overlooking a British harbor with a lighthouse and a tall-masted British sailing ship on the horizon. At other times, Britannia appears with a lion by her side.

Britannia also represents Liberty and Democracy to the people of the United Kingdom much like Lady Liberty does for the United States, and Marianne does for France. Britannia even became a pop-culture icon in the 1990s known as Cool Britannia. Today Britannia makes an annual appearance on the Silver American Eagle equivalent two-pound Britannia.

In summary, while I did my best to research and describe Britannia in this post, I believe the people who know her best capture the essence of her significance to the United Kingdom. Therefore, the following paragraph is copied from a 2006 Standing Britannia certificate of authenticity: Philip Nathans original design of 1987 which shows the standing figure of Britannia, wearing a Grecian helmet, with her hair and gown flowing freely in the wind. In her right hand she grasps a trident, the symbol of naval supremacy, while her left hand grips the rim of her shield embellished with the flag of the United Kingdom. This warlike stance is moderated by the olive branch in her left hand, symbolizing her readiness to make peace rather than war.
View Coin Europe GREAT BRITAIN - DECIMAL S2PND 2007 G.britain SEATED BRITANNIA NGC MS 68 Nymph of the Islands:

This beautiful rendition of Britannia as the "Nymph of the Islands" blends the imagery of “paradise” from Milton’s poetic work “Paradise Lost” with that of “Una and the Lion” from Spenser's “The Faerie Queene”. In the story of Una and the lion, a ferocious dragon imprisons Una’s parents, the king and the queen. Una, the young princess decides to embark on a quest to free them. While on her journey, Una encounters a lion determined to eat her. However, Una’s innocence and beauty so enchants the lion that instead of eating her he becomes her companion and protector. Along with Britannia and the lion, an illustration of “paradise” adorns this coin with the flora and shoreline of Albion. Albion, so named by the ancient Greeks, is the oldest known name of the British Isles.

This coin unlike many of the others in this set comes with a certificate of authenticity. On the COA, the engraver of this beautiful coin describes the allegory of his design. The following paragraph is the engravers comments and a description of the allegory.

The portrait remains faithful to her character, giving her a more contemporary air yet still associating her with symbols of Britain. Christopher Le Brun admits that he found Britannia familiar yet 'profoundly strange and highly emotive' and was pleased that her emblematic nature gave him to 'return to the original notion of Britannia as the personification of Nymph of the Islands'. "I find this very evocative: the figure on the shore of Albion, the wooded island, owing something to the imagery of Spenser and Milton". He has, therefore, chosen to depict her in a traditional seated pose with a watchful lion at her feet and in the distance a shoreline of cliffs. The obverse is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and has been designed by Ian Rank Broadley.

The picture substituting for this coins reverse is an 1860 painting of “Una and the Lion” by William Bell Scott.
View Coin Europe SPAIN 1848 TO DATE 10C 1870 OM NGC MS 64 BN The bronze Spanish Provisional Government 10-centimos coin is 30 mm in diameter and weighs 10 grams. It has a mintage of 170,088,104 and like all the other bronze coins were struck in Barcelona, Spain.

Once a dominant world power, Spain’s influence around the world and in Europe had already begun to decline by the beginning of the 19th Century. Napoleon's occupation of Spain early in the century led to a fierce war for independence by Spain’s nationalists. Seizing on the opportunity presented by Spain’s troubles at home, many of Spain’s new world colonies declared their own independence.

After the death of King Ferdinand VII in 1833, Queen Isabella II’s uncle, Infante Carlos, challenged her succession to the throne. This led to the First Carlist War (1833-39) between the followers of Carlos and those loyal to Maria Christina serving as Isabella IIs regent. In the end, the loyalty of Spain’s army to Maria Christina and Isabella II proved decisive in Isabella II staying on the throne.

By the middle of the century, there had already been a number of civil wars in the political struggle for control of Spain. When Isabella II came of age and began to govern, her capriciousness and ineptitude made her unpopular as a sovereign. This, in turn, led to the Glorious Revolution of 1868 and Isabella’s removal from the throne. Two years of anarchy followed before the appointment of Italian Prince Amadeo I of Savoy to the throne in 1870.

Amidst this political instability and national glum, Spain needed the proverbial so-called shot in the arm to give her hope. I believe the design features of this coin does just that. The obverse of the Spanish Provisional Government 10-centimos coin along with the other bronze coins features a matronly national personification of Hispania seated on the Pyrenees Mountains with her feet towards the Mediterranean Sea. Hispania appears holding an olive branch in her right hand while outstretching her left arm down towards the sea. This represents sovereignty and peace. The key to this coin’s allegory in 1870 is that the sovereignty of Spain resided more with the people as represented by Hispania rather than the customary monarch.

The reverse of this coin features a rampant lion with his front paws resting on a shield reminiscent of Spain’s ancient kingdoms. The top left quarter of the shield represents the Kingdom of Castile, the top right Leon, the bottom left Aragon, the bottom right Navarre, and the pomegranate at the bottom, the Kingdom of Granada. The lion represents royalty, bravery, strength, and power as he looks over his shoulder in a manner that indicates he is defending Spain against her enemies, thus signifying security.

Unfortunately, it took some time for the symbolism of this coin to become reality. In 1873 Amadeo I abdicated from the throne after asserting that Spain was ungovernable. The First Republic of Spain followed this government and lasted only 23 months. Finally, in a bit of irony, the House of Bourbon returned to the throne in the person of Isabella’s son Alfonso XII on December 30, 1874. During Alfonso’s reign, Spain finally entered into a period of peace and prosperity towards the end of the 19th century.

In summary, the imagery on coins has the power to move and inspire people by reminding them through daily commerce of their national pride and heritage. With such high mintages, it is likely that these coins passed through the hands of most Spaniards on a daily basis.
View Coin Europe SPAIN 1848 TO DATE 2P 1870(74) DEM NGC AU 53 The 1870(74) 2-peseta coin minted in Madrid has a mintage of 14,892,932. It is 27mm in diameter with a silver fineness of .835 weighing 10 grams. The obverse initials L.M. underneath Hispania’s feet refer to engraver Luis Marchionni. The initials D.E. along the lower left rim of the reverse refer to mint assayers Eduardo Díaz Pimienta and Julio de Escosura Tablares. The initial .M. along the lower right rim of the reverse refers to balance judge Ángel Mendoza Ordóñez.

The central device on the obverse is an image of Hispania reclining against the Pyrenees Mountains with her right arm stretched out holding an olive branch. With the Rock of Gibraltar at her feet Hispania effectively spans all of Spain. To “extend an olive branch” across the land is to offer peace and reconciliation for all. This was especially important after a revolution. On Hispania’s head is a mural crown. As the feminine personification of Spain, the mural crown she wears establishes her as a tutelary deity or protectorate of the people she represents. The mural crown also appears in heraldry on the reverse of this coin. As such it has come to represent a republican form of government unlike that of an imperial or royal crown which represents a monarchy. Thus, with the mural crown over the coat of arms, it represents a republic of the five kingdoms of Spain or under a royal or imperial crown, the combined kingdom of the monarch.

The central device on the reverse is the Spanish Coat of Arms. The Spanish Coat of arms is representative of the five Spanish Kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper-left quadrant represents the Kingdom of Castile in the west region of Spain bordering Portugal and the North Atlantic Ocean. The upper-right quadrant represents the Kingdom of León in the northwest region of Spain on the Bay of Biscay. The lower-left quadrant represents the kingdom of Aragon in the southeast region of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. The lower-right quadrant represents the Kingdom of Navarre in the northeast region of Spain bordering France. Finally, the pomegranate at the bottom of the arms represents Grenada in the southcentral region of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of these kingdoms were very fluid throughout history. This was usually the result of one kingdom conquering or annexing another kingdom.

The large date on the obverse is the year of the coin’s authorization. The legend “ESPAÑA” is flanked by two six-point stars. Stamped into the stars is the coins date of manufacture. For example, this coin has the number “18” stamped into the star to the left of the legend. The star on the right has the number “74” stamped into it. Thus, the date of the minting of this coin is 1874. This system of dating coins allowed for the annual use of the same hubs and master dies with very minor changes to the working dies.
View Coin Europe SPAIN 1848 TO DATE PESETA 1933(34) NGC AU 58 The 1933(34) Second Spanish Republic 1-peseta struck in Madrid has a mintage of 2,000,000. The 1933(34) weighs 5 grams with a silver fineness of .835 and is 23mm in diameter. The obverse features an image of Hispania seated on a plinth holding an olive branch. The legend reads The Republic of Spain. The reverse features the same coat of arms used by the Spanish Provisional Government and the denomination of the coin is 1-peseta. The engraver of the coin is José Eusebio Espinós Gisbert.

Over time the intrinsic value of coins worldwide became more valuable than the face value of the coin and the peseta was no exception. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon including inflation, government devaluation, and the gold standard. The United States has not issued circulating gold coins since 1933 and silver coins since 1964 (1970 for half-dollars). In Spain, there was a token striking of the 20-pesetas gold coin in 1904. The silver 5-pesetas as the highest denomination silver coin saw its final mintage in 1899. Many of these coins were demonetized by 1939 after the Spanish Civil War.

Except for a select number of 2000-pesetas coins, the last day to day circulating silver coin was the 100-pesetas coin of 1970. Comparing apples to apples, the 1897 .900 fine gold 100-pesetas weighs 32 grams while the 1970 .800 fine silver 100-pesetas weighs 19 grams. The AGW of the gold 100-pesetas is .9334 oz. and the ASW of the silver 100-pesetas is .4887 oz. On December 31, 1970, the 1897 100-pesetas gold coin in U.S. dollars is intrinsically worth $34.89 and the 100-pesetas silver coin is worth 80 cents. This represents a 97.7% loss in the intrinsic value of the peseta from 1897 to 1970. This was not unusual to Spain as now practically every country in the world works on the fiat money system or in other words the “full faith” of government.

The Second Spanish Republic 1-peseta coin authorized in 1933 and minted in 1934 is the last coin to be struck using the 1869 Spanish Provisional Government specifications and denominations for precious metal coins. For 65 years this standard has stood the test of time and now there was no turning back. The first peseta struck after 1934 also under the Second Spanish Republic is the 1937 peseta struck in brass with the same size and weight of the 1934 coin. Both the 1934 and 1937 pesetas were demonetized by the Nationalist Franco Government after the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

Granted, the striking by the Second Spanish Republic of the 1934 silver peseta was probably politically timed to instill public confidence in the government. However, while the peseta may have been stable, the government was not and a bloody civil war could not be averted.
View Coin Europe SPAIN 1848 TO DATE 50C 1937(36) KM-754.2 NGC MS 65 RD The 1937(36) Second Spanish Republic bronze 50-centimos coin struck in Madrid has a mintage of 1,000,000. It is 23mm in diameter and weighs 5.8 grams. The main device on the obverse of the 1937(36) 50-centimos is identical to the obverse of the 1933(34) 1-peseta coin. It features Hispania seated on a plinth holding an olive branch. The reverse features a circle of beads encircling the number 50 centimos. The engraver of the coin is José Eusebio Espinós Gisbert.

There are two major reverse die varieties of this coin. The first KM-754.1 has round beads encircling the reverse number 50 centimos. The second, KM-754.2 has square beads encircling the number 50 centimos. There is yet another variety to this coin and that is the authorization date without the six-pointed stars on either side. These star-less coins are considered to be date-less. It is interesting to note that the year of manufacture (1936) is earlier than the year of authorization (1937).

The Second Spanish Republic coming to power on April 14, 1931, started governing with the best of intentions. Their first task was to craft a new constitution. While this constitution permitted the democratic values of freedom of speech and women’s suffrage, people used the freedom of religion clause to persecute the Catholic Church.

During the period of time leading up to the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the political environment of Spain was in a constant state of flux. With different political coalitions coming to power on a regular basis it seemed like anarchy ruled the day. This combined with high unemployment, poverty, and a poor economy, the landscape was ripe for a civil war. A coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic was effectively repelled on July 17-18, 1936. However, the republic was severely weakened and ultimately failed to fend off the rise of nationalism under fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

Sometimes the Spanish Civil War is referred to as, “The dress rehearsal for World War II.” This given how the battle lines were drawn was not a difficult argument to make. On the side of the republicans were the Spanish provinces Basque Country and Catalonia with foreign support from the Soviet Union, Mexico, and France. On the side of the nationalists were the Carlists, Renovación Española which advocated for the return of Alfonso XIII to the throne, and the FET y de las JONS (political party of Francisco Franco) among others. Direct foreign support came from Nazi Germany and Italy. Indirect support came from Portugal and diplomatic support from the Holy See.

In the end, the Second Spanish Republic fell to the nationalists and Francisco Franco came to power as Spain’s dictator on April 1, 1939. The government of the Second Spanish Republic went into exile in Mexico where it maintained an embassy. It officially disbanded in 1977 after the death of Francisco Franco and the introduction of democracy by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
View Coin Europe PORTUGAL 1836 TO DATE ESCUDO 1924 PCGS MS 64

This coin commemorates the 25th anniversary of Portuguese financial reform started in 1928 by Minister of Finance Antonio Salazar. His reforms led to decreased unemployment and the lowering of Portugal’s national debt. This in turn led to a robust national economy and shaped the financial stability and progress of Portugal for forty years.

To commemorate this event, the government of Portugal utilizing Roman imagery issued a coin in 1953 featuring the goddess of money, Juno Moneta. Simple in its design, this coin portrays Juno Moneta in a seated position auditing the financial ledgers of Portugal. The reverse of this coin includes Portugal’s coat of arms with an armillary sphere. The purpose of an armillary sphere is to calculate the position of astronomical objects thus making it useful as a navigational aid.

There is yet another piece of interesting numismatic history that involves the goddess of money, Juno Moneta. Around 344 BC The Romans built a temple to Juno Moneta in Rome. Since the Romans also believed that Juno Moneta was the protectress of funds, her temple became the site of the first Roman Mint. In fact, the term Moneta came to mean “mint” in Latin. In addition to coining operations, Juno Moneta’s temple served as the site where magistrates deposited their books (The first bank?).
View Coin Europe FRANCE - PART 5 10C 1898 MARIANNE NGC MS 64 RD Marianne is one of the most enduring symbols of France. A name not typically associated with aristocracy, her name comes from the name Marie Anne and was a common name during the late 18th century. Revolutionaries of that era adopted the name Marianne to symbolize “the mother country”.

The bust of Marianne on this coin shows her wearing a Phrygian cap. A Phrygian cap is a red felt cap that covers the ears and has a rounded top that is pulled forward. The Phrygian cap, given to emancipated slaves, dates back to the Greek and Roman empires. Being free, the former slaves became full-fledged citizens with all the rights and privileges of citizenry.

The primary role of any government is to protect its citizenry. The reverse of this coin depicts a child looking up to its mother. The mother dressed in armor appears as the Childs’ protectorate. Notice that the child is sitting right next to Marianne at the same level. This indicates the equality of the citizenry with their government.

Marianne as a symbol of the French Republic has come to represent the Republican trilogy of liberty, equality, and fraternity to her citizens. Marianne as an enduring symbol of the republic has survived five republics, and today she typically appears on coinage as a sower, sowing seed against the wind.
View Coin Europe FRANCE - PART 5 FRANC 1925 NGC MS 65 FRANC 1925:

Post World War I France was awash in debt, which led to a severely devalued French Franc. Thus 1920 was the final year of the silver franc and the beginning of aluminum-bronze coinage. Curiously, those first aluminum-bronze francs were not national issues but token equivalents minted by the Chamber of Commerce from 1920 to 1929. Since the Chamber of Commerce is this token/coin’s minting authority it is only natural that it should feature Mercury, the Roman god of commerce as its central obverse device.

In the strictest sense of the definition, this token/coin is neither a token nor a coin. For example, privately issued tokens do not typically have a numerical value assigned to them because a governmental entity does not regulate their weight and fineness. Coins on the other hand all have numerical values since the issuing government monetizes them with a guarantee of their weight and fineness. Moreover coins are accepted everywhere in commerce whereas privately issued tokens only have a limited acceptance. Therefore, for the sake of argument, since this privately issued piece is more like a coin than a token I will refer to this token/coin as a coin.

Hence, what I believe makes this coin different is that the Chamber of Commerce under the direction of the French government mass-produced them for widespread use in France. Even so, the reverse legend reads much like that of a token. For example, the term “Good for 1 Franc” reads as an equivalent numerical value rather than the absolute value of “1 Franc” found on coins pre-dating 1921. Regardless of whether you consider this piece a token or a coin, you cannot deny that it circulated in commerce as if it were a coin.

Mercury is the Roman god of commerce, financial gain, messages, eloquence, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves. He is also said to have fabricating a lyre from a tortoise shell, which is probably why he is portrayed leaning against a lyre on this coins’s obverse. In Mercury’s right hand is a caduceus. The winged, two-snaked caduceus represents commerce, negotiation, and printing. Mercury’s winged head allowed him to deliver his messages swiftly.

Mercury is also associated with abundance and commercial success, which makes the seated imagery of this coin particularly powerful, especially considering the devaluing of France’s currency in 1920. Mercury by sitting on a cargo container, and with a number of goods at his feet, is expressing his authority over economic prosperity. Thus, the imagery of this coin was an attempt to communicate a reassuring message to the public during the tough economic times of the 1920’s.
View Coin Europe Andorra SILVER DINER 1997 TREATY OF ROME KM# 127 PCGS PF 68 Europa, seated, and crowning herself with a laurel wreath signifying the Treaty of Rome in 1957 establishing the European Economic Community.
View Coin Europe Belgium 5C 1856 BELGIUM DUPRIEZ-583 COPPER NGC MS 64 BN
View Coin Europe/North America FANTASY COINS SILVER S1P 2012 Greenland POLAR BEAR SILVER FANTASY ISSUE NGC PF 66 ULTRA CAMEO Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953, when it became a district of Denmark. This is not a coin but a fantasy coin issued by Greenland. The obverse of this medal features a seated representation of Dania/Greenlandia. The shield displays the Greenlandic coat of arms. The obverse legend is written in the language of the indigenous Inuit Eskimos called Kalaallisut. Translated, it means "Greenlander Country." The reverse legend is Danish for Greenland. This .999 one ounce silver medal has a mintage of 950.
View Coin Africa EGYPT - 1914 TO DATE S1PND AH1400//1980 DOCTOR'S DAY PCGS MS 65 S1PND AH1400//1980 KM-511 DOCTOR'S DAY:

One of the stated purposes of this set is to trace the spread of western culture throughout the world via coinage. That said this Egyptian 1400/1980, Doctor’s Day 1 Pound commemorative coin, blends at least three cultures into one coin. The first of those cultures is Islamic in nature by virtue of the crescent on the obverse of the coin and the dual Islamic/Gregorian date on the coin’s reverse.

The remaining cultures blending into the imagery of this coin are those of ancient Egypt and Greece. The central device on the obverse of this coin features a seated healer holding a staff in his right hand and an ankh in the other. Since this imagery appears reminiscent to that of ancient Egypt, one may deduce that the practice of medicine is an ancient art. The ankh, also known as “the key of life” or simply life in Egyptian hieroglyphics represents the concept of eternal life. The seated position and the staff convey the healer’s power to cure sickness and disease.

The snake and chalice atop a brick pedestal opposite the healer is the “Bowl of Hygeia” and relates to the pharmacy profession. Hygeia is the Greek goddess of hygiene and good health (an illustration of her is pictured as this coins reverse in the owner comments). In that the Bowl of Hygeia appears within an Islamic Crescent shows that this Greek imagery has been adapted to Islam.

The snake and the staff, though separate on this coin, relate to the Asclepius rod in which a single snake is wrapping itself around the staff. The Asclepius rod today is the universal symbol of medicine.

Though I am not adept at translating Arabic into English and in that there are other symbols on this coin I am not familiar with, I am still able to understand this coin through its imagery. In this way, a picture is worth a thousand words and translates into many languages and cultures.

P.S. I want to thank Rigo at for his help in translating many of the Arabic inscriptions on this coin. Starting with the reverse the inscription near the top rim of the coin reads, “The Republic of Arabic Egypt”. The middle inscription reads, “One Jehney” (1 pound). Along the left rim is the Gregorian date 1980 and on the right rim is the Islamic date 1400.

On the obverse of this coin, the text just underneath the seated healer reads March 18. Along the bottom rim of the coin, the inscription reads, “Day of the Egyptian Doctor.” The other inscriptions and the identification of the object just above the healer are still somewhat of a mystery.
View Coin Asia United States 1/2C 1903 USA-PHIL NGC MS 63 RB 1/2C 1903 USA-PHIL:

Have you ever completed a difficult task and afterwards sat down to survey all the things your hands had done with a sense of pride and accomplishment? The coin featured in the obverse photograph of the owner comments portrays just that, but on a national scale.

For the reverse photograph, I wish to thank user BrokeCoinCollector for allowing me to use the photograph of a 1-peso coin that I formerly owned. I am including this coin together with this set’s featured coin because it helps to tell the whole story of the founding of a strong Philippines.

The Philippines were acquired by the United States in 1899 as part of a treaty with Spain ending the Spanish-American War. In 1901, the military government gave way to a civilian administration with a need for new coinage. Starting in 1903 and minted at Philadelphia and San Francisco, coins for the fledgling Philippine government were issued in denominations of 1 peso, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, and ½ centavos, whereas 100 centavos are equivalent to 1 peso. The ½ and 1-centavo coins were struck in bronze, the 5 centavos coin in copper/nickel, the 10, 20, and 50 centavos coins in silver, and finally the 1-peso coin in silver.

The allegory of the seated man surveying the landscape on this coin’s obverse is representative of the People of the Philippines. Just as a blacksmith forges a sword, the anvil the man is leaning against and the hammer he is holding represents the role of the Filipino people in forging their own future.

Just as parents raise a very young child to be independent as an adult, so does the United States to the Philippines. The US territorial coat of arms on the reverse of this coin shows US sovereignty over the Philippines. I believe that it was always the intention of the United States that the Philippines should be free and independent.

The allegory of the standing woman is Lady Liberty and represents the role of the United States in forging a prosperous future for the Philippines. In that both the ½-centavo and the 1-peso use similar imagery suggests a partnership between the Philippines and the United States in forging ahead. Interestingly, all the silver coins feature Lady Liberty and suggests that the United States played the leading role in shaping the future of the Philippines.
View Coin Asia FRENCH INDO-CHINA 20C 1937 F.i.china PCGS MS 64 Liberty
View Coin Asia FRENCH INDO-CHINA 1C 1939A F.i.china NGC MS 64 RB 1C 1939A:

Collins English Dictionary defines colonialism as "the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker people or areas.” That said my intention is not to judge the morality of colonialism, but to trace the spread of western influence throughout the world through coins. Certainly, no one denies the atrocities done in the name of colonialism. Neither can one say that a number of good things did not occur either. However, to understand colonialism is to understand the world of today, for history has shaped the world we live in.

Coins are a powerful medium in which to communicate to the masses. What other medium than coins would people be handling on a daily basis? The featured 1-cent coin in my set comes from French Indo-China and the obverse imagery clearly establishes French sovereignty. Thus, this coin fits in perfectly with Collins definition of colonialism.

The obverse of this coin features a seated image of Marianne representing France and a seated girl representing French Indo-China. Marianne appears sitting with her feet resting on a plinth. In her right hand is a French flag and with her left arm she drapes it around her back and over a young girl. The young girl representing French Indo-China is sitting at the same level as Marianne’s feet. In her right hand is a bamboo staff identifying her as Indo-Chinese and with her left hand, she clutches the end of the French flag draping over her. Interestingly, the girl is looking up to Marianne much as a young girl looks up to her mother to protect and provide for her while Marianne is looking over the girl. Thus, this coin seems to convey a sense of dependency on France for the well-being of French Indo-China. Given that the young girl is tightly clutching the French flag over her seems to indicate that she is willingly subjecting herself under French sovereignty.

The map substituting for the reverse image of this coin shows worldwide colonialism at its zenith just before World War I. As of today, colonialism is practically non-existent. Nevertheless, the effects of colonialism will shape worldwide politics for some time to come. Therefore, it is vital that we understand the history of colonialism. Part of that history is contained in the imagery of the coins we collect.

While my coins primarily focus on seated imagery, a set of coins based on colonialism would make for a very interesting set. Otherwise, as in the case of other custom sets, rather than broadly focusing on colonialism, focus a set more narrowly on the coins of a single country and their colony or colonies.
View Coin Oceania NEW CALEDONIA 5F 1952 Newcaledon NGC MS 64 5F 1952:

In my research of this coin, I have been unable to ascertain the identity of the woman on this coin’s obverse. I found information suggesting that she is Minerva but the imagery is inconsistent with other coins featuring Minerva. I thought the woman maybe Marianne but here again there is conflicting imagery. I thought that she may even be Miss Liberty, but the throne is incompatible with her imagery. What I can tell is that she is representative of French sovereignty over New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna and that these three French territories share a common obverse on their coins with separate reverses.

Regardless of the woman’s identity, the other imagery of this coin speaks volumes. Therefore, rather than develop the allegory based on the identity of the woman, I will use the other imagery to expand on the significance of this coin.

Except for the lions, the throne is indicative of native Polynesian design and represents the people of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. The lions at the end of the armrests symbolize bravery, valor, strength, and royalty. The woman sitting on the throne represents French sovereignty. The other symbols point to the advantages the people of New Caledonia and French Polynesia enjoy under the sovereignty of France.

The seated woman on this coin has her eyes fixated on the torch she is holding representing freedom. The winged Phrygian cap she is wearing illustrates her status as a free citizen and freedom of thought. Interestingly, the use of a Phrygian cap on this coin rather than a crown seems to imply that the woman not only represents French sovereignty, but the people of France themselves. The cornucopia and olive branch represent prosperity, abundance, and peace. The stone tablets behind the throne are reminiscent of the 10 Commandments and suggest that New Caledonia and French Polynesia is under the rule of law. Altogether, this imagery perfectly aligns with the French values of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Thus, the woman sitting on the throne suggests to me that whatever blessings of Liberty France enjoys, New Caledonia and French Polynesia also enjoys.

Incidentally, when the issue of New Caledonian independence went to referendum in 1987, it fell to defeat by a large majority of votes. Under French sovereignty, New Caledonia enjoys a great deal of autonomy and is the only territory or country that flies two official flags.

The reverse of this coin features the New Caledonian national bird, the endangered kagu bird.
View Coin Central America MEXICO - 1905 TO DATE PESO 1910 NGC MS 62 PESO 1910:

The “Caballito Peso” is widely considered one of the most beautiful coins Mexico has produced. The first year of this coins issue was in 1910 coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the start of “The Mexican War of Independence” against Spain on 18 September 1810.

The term “Caballito” fits well into the imagery of this coin and translates to, “Pony or Small Horse”. The obverse imagery features the personification of Freedom riding on what I suspect is a white horse towards the sunrise of a free and independent Mexico. Liberty and Freedom are often interchangeable names for Libertas, the Roman goddess of Liberty. However, since the female personification on this coin is holding the “Torch of Freedom”, I tend towards calling her Freedom. In Freedom’s right hand is an oak branch, symbolic of the strength and moral resolve of the people against a tyrannical government. Furthermore, given the fact that Freedom is blazing a trail lit by her torch, she is looking behind her to see who will follow her on the path that leads to freedom and independence.

The reverse of this coin features the Mexican coat of arms using a multitude of symbols intertwined into its imagery. First, the defiant eagle represents the Mexican people and the snake their enemies. The imagery of the strangled snake by the eagle’s beak indicates Mexico’s victory over all her foes. The eagle by perching on a cactus shows the willingness of the people to overcome any and all obstacles that may stand in their way. The earth and water of Tenochtitlan illustrate the multi-ethnicity of the Mexican people combining both the indigenous Aztec and Spanish peoples. The laurel and oak wreath encircling the arms represents victory and those who have given their lives for Mexico.

The edge inscription of this coin reads “Independence and Liberty”.
View Coin Central America GUATEMALA - REPUBLIC PESO 1896/5 NGC MS 63 Before the Spaniards arrived in Guatemala, it was the ancient home of the Mayan Indians. With the Spanish conquest of Central America beginning in 1519, Captain Pedro de Alvarado under the authority of Hernan Cortes methodically subjugated the Mayans. To make matters worse Captain Pedro de Alvarado had a reputation for being both cruel and ruthless. The Mayans fought bravely for their lands, but their weaponry was no match to that of the Spanish conquistadors. After the final defeat of the Mayan Indians, Pedro de Alvarado became the governor of Guatemala. Subsequently, the entire region from Mexico all the way to Panama became known as New Spain.

If being subjugated to a conquering enemy isn’t bad enough, the Spaniards unknowingly brought with them diseases to which they themselves were largely immune. Conversely, the Mayan Indians had no such immunities, and those diseases devastated them. By some estimates, up to 90% of the Mayan population died of smallpox. Because the smallpox epidemic did not seem to affect the Spaniards, the Mayans came to believe that the god of the Spaniards was superior to their gods. This resulted in the rapid growth of the Roman Catholic Church, both in terms of political power and influence by an acquiescing of the Central American natives to Spanish rule.

Generally speaking, when the church acquires political power, it opens itself up to corruption. Now I am not against the church spreading the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, but when the church veers from its core mission, it loses credibility and opens itself to corruption. This became evident when under the governance of dictators, the wealthy landowners and the church clergy held all the power, land, and money in Guatemala.

This brings me to the reverse of the 1896/5 Guatemalan Peso and the date on the scroll in the center of the Guatemalan Coat of Arms. That date, 15 September 1821, is the date of Guatemalan independence from Spain. Afterwards, on July 1, 1823, the Federal Republic of Central America consisting of Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras declared their independence from the First Mexican Empire, which had annexed them. The bird perched on the scroll is Guatemala’s national bird, the Resplendent Quetzal. This bird is a symbol of liberty because oftentimes the resplendent quetzal will kill itself rather than face capture and captivity. The crossed Springfield Rifles with Bayonets represent the willingness of Guatemala to defend itself. The crossed sabers represent honor, while the laurel wreath symbolizes victory. Interestingly, while governments have come and gone in Guatemala, the coat of arms has remained to this day.

The liberal factions of the new Federal Republic of Central America had hoped that the Republic would bring about democratic reforms. However, the conservative factions allied with the Catholic clergy, and wealthy landowners fiercely resisted efforts at reform. This led to political wrangling and an ensuing civil war between 1838 and 1840. Consequently, the civil war led to the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America into its separate states.

Over the course of time and regardless of who was in command, not much has changed for the people of Guatemala. That was until June 30, 1871, when Guatemala’s Liberal Revolution toppled the dictatorial government of Vicente Cerna under the command of General Justo Rufino Barrios.

Through the reforms implemented by Justo Rufino Barrios, much of the Catholic Church's land was seized and the church's power stripped by expelling the Jesuits and instituting the freedom of religion. Additional reforms led to freedom of the press and compulsory education. Under Justo Rufino Barrios, the economy was reformed enabling it to compete for international trade. The introduction of the telegraph to the country and the building of railroads modernized the infrastructure of Guatemala. In 1879, the Republic of Guatemala implemented its first constitution.

Nevertheless, Justo Rufino Barrios ruled by an open dictatorship only slightly moderated by a constitution that gave him broad executive powers. In the opinion of Justo Rufino Barrios, the native Indian culture had nothing to offer to his modern society, and he despised them. Justo Rufino Barrios dreamed of restoring the old Federal Republic of Central America back to its original form. However, he died on the battlefield trying to restore the Republic by force, and his vision of a new Central American Republic died with him.

This leads to the significance of the allegory portrayed on the obverse of my 1896/5 peso that has appeared on Guatemalan coinage beginning in 1873. The plinth in the right hemisphere of the obverse represents the Liberal Revolution of June 30, 1871. The broken chains at the base of the plinth represent the breaking of the Conservadoras dictatorial bondage over the people. The seated female personification holding a scale in her left hand supported by the plinth represents Justice. The cornucopia in Lady Justice’s right hand symbolizes economic prosperity and plenty for all under the justice won through the revolution.
View Coin South America PERU - DECIMAL 1/5S 1916 FG NGC MS 64 Immediately following their independence from Spain, the Republic of Peru began incorporating Lady Liberty into their coinage. Lady Liberty first appeared on Peruvian coinage in a standing position wearing a Grecian garment and a helmet. She is seen holding a pole atop of which is a Phrygian cap, and the rim of a shield resting on the ground. Engraved on the shield is the Spanish word libertad for liberty. Browsing through the Krause Catalog of World Coins it seems that Lady Liberty first appears in a seated position beginning in 1858. This motif would continue to appear on a variety of regular circulating and gold Peruvian coins before disappearing in 1970.

The basic decimal monetary unit in Peru is the sol, which is the Spanish word for sun implying that the monetary system in Peru has its roots in ancient Incan culture. Accordingly, the coin of the month for April is a 1916 NGC MS-64 1/5 Sol (KM# 205.2). This coin has a silver fineness of .900 and an ASW of .1447 Oz. with a mintage of 425,000. The total weight of this coin is 5 grams, which directly correlates to the exact weight and fineness of the US twenty-cent piece. Incidentally, many of Perus other silver coins also have their weight and fineness equivalency in US silver coins. As an aside, there are other similarities and ties between the US monetary system and that of Peru, including that certain Peruvian coins were struck in the United States and appropriately mint-marked.

The obverse of this coin has as its center device the Peruvian coat of arms. The inscriptions in the field at the edge of this coin denote that it is from the Republic of Peru, minted in Lima, which is the capital of Peru, has a silver fineness of .900, and that the assayers initials are F.G. The Peruvian coat of arms has as its central device a shield divided into three parts. The upper-left portion of the shield with a blue background is a vicuna representing the fauna of Peru. The upper-right portion of the shield with a white background is a cinchona tree representing the flora of Peru. (The cinchona tree is also the source of a powerful anti-malaria drug called quinine). The bottom portion of the shield with a red field is a cornucopia full of gold coins and represents the mineral resources of Peru. Surrounding the shield in a semi-circle is a palm and laurel branch tied by a bow into a wreath to represent victory and glory. The wreath above the shield is a Holm Oak Civic Crown. The civic crown has its roots in ancient Rome and is the second highest military honor a person could receive. To earn such an honor a person was required to save the life of a Roman citizen in battle, slay his opponent, and hold the ground on which this took place. The only battlefield testimony allowed in determining the worthiness of the recipient was that of the soldier whose life was saved.

The reverse of this coin has as its central device Lady Liberty, who appears in a seated position holding with one hand a shield depicting an image of the radiant sun god Inti, and a liberty cap atop of a pole with the other. In front of Lady Liberty is a short column with a banner wrapped around it and a wreath resting on top. Written on the banner is the word Libertad, which translated, is Liberty. The inscription around the rim of the reverse is Perus national motto and is translated, Steady and happy for the union. In describing the reverse of this coin an article in the E-Gobrecht Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 5 suggests that the wreath on top of the column is a Laurel Wreath. However, I believe that rather than a laurel wreath, the wreath on top of the column is another representation of the civic crown. The reason for this is that a civic crown is thick, tightly bound, and closed in a circle; a laurel wreath looks as if to be two separate laurel branches tied together by a bow on one end and open on the other. Rather I believe the ornamental leaves towards the top of, and around the column are laurel leaves symbolizing victory. The civic crown then, in this case, signifies that liberty is attained and held through self-sacrifice, courage, and determination.
View Coin North America CANADA - 1968 TO DATE G$200 1994 ANNE OF GREEN GABLES NGC PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO Novembers “Coin of the Month” (Volume 3 Number 3) column features an NGC PFUC-69, 1994 Canadian $200 gold coin (KM# 250) commemorating the “Literary Legacy” of Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel, “Anne of Green Gables”.

This coin featuring a bust of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a young girl seated underneath a gazebo on the reverse is 29mm in diameter and weighs 17.135 grams. The mintage of this coin is 10,655 and the serial number on the certificate of authenticity that accompanies it is 03174. This coin unlike most gold coins has somewhat of a greenish hue. This is due to the alloying of gold with silver rather than copper. Thus, this 22-karat gold coin has a silver fineness of .0835 and a gold fineness of .9165 with an AGW of .5049 oz.

The Canadian $200 coin I have pictured commemorates “Anne of Green Gables-A Literary Legacy”. The reverse depicts a young girl in a garden seated and relaxed underneath a gazebo daydreaming of adventure inspired by the novel “Anne of Green Gables”. Suddenly, in this girl's imagination, Anne literally leaps from the pages of her book. Thus, no one should underestimate the potential of a good book to inspire the person reading it. This is especially true of the novel, “Anne of Green Gables,” the tale of an orphan, Anne Shirley, who against all odds overcame her circumstances and fulfilled her dreams.

Oftentimes when I want to read a book and/or meditate, I particularly like to find a good place to be alone in an environment where I can relax. I remember returning to Maryland from a family vacation in which we detoured off the main route to drive north on “Skyline Drive” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western Virginia. Noticing a place to stop with a spectacular view of the valley below, we pulled over to allow us more time to take it all in. While there, I found a place to sit alone with my Bible where I had had a wonderful time of reading, meditation, and prayer in an environment that was especially conducive to those types of activities. In this manner, I can totally relate to the young girl on the reverse of this coin.

The following three paragraphs are copied from the COA that accompanied this coin and give the history behind this commemorative:

Lucy Maude Montgomery, born November 30, 1874, was raised by her maternal grandparents Alexander and Lucy Macneill, in their old-fashioned Cavendish farmhouse in Prince Edward Island, Canada. That was her home from 1876 to 1911. It was there where she wrote her first novel in 1908 and procured immediate international acclaim: “A different environment,” she said, “would have given a different bias. Were it not for those Cavendish years, I do not think Anne of Green Gables would ever have been written.”

Perhaps no other Canadian literary character is more famous or has captured more hearts than Lucy Maud Montgomery’s red-haired girl Anne Shirley. Pulled into many predicaments by her romantic imagination and daring streak, Anne Shirley unvaribly emerges more humble, yet wiser and more determined to follow her own path. From an abandoned and lonely girl, Anne grows into a confident and responsible young women who retains the passion of her youth and love of her childhood home, at Green Gables.

Designed by Canadian artist Phoebe Gilman, the reverse of the coin depicts a young girl sitting under a gazebo, daydreaming about adventure and life in the Prince Edward Island countryside, inspired by the Anne of Green Gables novel. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by Dora de Pedery-Hunt.

In summary, it is primarily when a person is seated and relaxing in a place they like to be that they ponder and formulate their dreams. Oftentimes they will receive the encouragement they need to pursue their dreams while reading a good book. Although first published in 1908, the book “Anne of Green Gables” still stirs the imaginations of young girls today. This then is the lasting legacy of “Anne of Green Gables” and the “message” in the imagery of this coin that resides in my seated imagery collection.

To the left side of this month’s photo collage is a picture of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and her book. To the right is a picture from the Public Television series of Anne Shirley, the main character of “Anne of Green Gables.”
View Coin North America CANADA - 1968 TO DATE S$10 2010 FIRST CANADIAN BANKNOTE 75TH ANNIVERSARY NGC PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO These owner comments come by way of Talisman Coins:

The Bank of Canada began operating 75 years ago in 1935 and was given responsibility to regulate the country’s money supply and to “promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada.” Accordingly, it was given the exclusive right to issue Canada’s bank notes. On March 11, 1935, the Bank of Canada issued its first series of bank notes.

This coin depicts the seated Goddess of Plenty. Resting leisurely on a classical plinth and clothed in a very comfortable toga and sandals, Plenty holds a sickle in one hand. Her feet rest casually on one end of a cornucopia, while all manner of fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains spill forth from the oversize mouth of the horn of plenty behind her. This scene is taken directly from the vignette depicted on the back side of the Bank of Canada 1935 Ten Dollar Bank Note.

Country: Canada
Year of Issue: 2010
Face Value: 10 Dollars
Weight: 15.00 g
Diameter: 34.00 mm
Mintage Limit: 7,500
Finish: Proof
Composition: .9999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge: Serrated (milled, reeded)
Artist: Royal Canadian Mint Engravers
Certificate: Individually Numbered (#6286 / 7500)
View Coin North America CANADA - 1968 TO DATE S$20 2010 FIRST CANADIAN BANKNOTE 75TH ANNIVERSARY NGC PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO These owner comments come by way of Talisman Coins:

The Bank of Canada began operating 75 years ago in 1935 and was given responsibility to regulate the country’s money supply and to “promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada.” Accordingly, it was given the exclusive right to issue Canada’s bank notes. On March 11, 1935, the Bank of Canada issued its first series of bank notes.

This coin depicts the seated Goddess of Agriculture and Farming. Resting leisurely on a large, undressed stone and clothed in a very comfortable toga, Agriculture holds a honey dipper, dripping with honey, in her left hand. At her feet kneels an agrarian farmer, who pours grain from his hand into a sack, while behind her a tree is burdened with ripe fruit. A sheaf of wheat and a low, stone wall such as separates farm fields complete the vignette. This scene is taken directly from the vignette depicted on the back side of the Bank of Canada 1935 Twenty Dollar Bank Note.

Country: Canada
Year of Issue: 2010
Face Value: 20 Dollars
Weight: 31.39 g
Diameter: 38.00 mm
Mintage Limit: 7,500
Finish: Proof
Composition: .9999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge: Serrated (milled, reeded)
Artist: Royal Canadian Mint Engravers
Certificate: Individually Numbered (#4489 / 7500)
View Coin North America CANADA - 1968 TO DATE $3 2013 BRONZE MISS CANADA NGC PF 69 RD ULTRA CAMEO The following is the text of the COA that came with this coin describing the history of Miss Canada, followed by a description of the allegory.

Lady of the North Land: Celebrating a Canadian Allegory
France has Marianne, England celebrates Britannia, America holds dear its Lady Liberty. For centuries, nations have adopted female personification to allegorically represent an idealized national image linked to classical iconography. In the years following Confederation, through the First World War and in various forms until the middle of the 20th century, Canada too had a well-known feminine national allegory, Miss Canada, whose emergence and evolution in Canada’s formative era reflects the fascinating and often complex story of Canadian nationalism.

In her earliest years, this Canadian allegorical figure was portrayed as the daughter of England’s feminine allegory, Britannia. In the classical robes of ancient Greece and Rome, Miss Canada was youthful and obedient to her august elder. The image was used in many ways, from political cartoons to product advertising. But as Canada’s international relationships changed over time—particularly its links with both England and the United States—so did the treatment and use of the Miss Canada allegory. By the outset of the First World War, she was so well known as to form part of the mythological vernacular of the country, having also appeared in literature by this time.

The First World War was a time of massive upheaval around the world but also within Canada itself. As the young country struggled to define its values, it engaged in a fluid and often disorienting dance between past and present. Although Canada was still a Dominion of the British Empire, nationalism was gaining momentum. At the same time, the tension between Canada’s original European settlement groups—the French and the English—was ongoing, fueled by contemporary events and public policy. Women were fighting for the vote. Discovery and “progress” on multiple fronts were changing the way people lived and worked. In short, “Canada,” still largely amorphous, struggled to define itself at a time when its western cultural context was itself undergoing massive change.

Inevitably, this cultural journey was reflected in the figure of the Canadian allegory. On one hand, there was reversion to the original “dedicated daughter of Britannia” allegory as it was propagandized by the government to maintain support for the war effort once Canadian soldiers began dying in large numbers. On the other hand, with society marching to the beat of progress, the figure herself necessarily had to modernize, her role as admiring daughter at the feet of Mother Britannia giving way to a stronger and more modern woman.

As national identity crystallized following Canada’s contribution to the war effort and full political independence after the war, the once-ubiquitous Canadian female allegory slowly disappeared from popular culture. Today, such an allegory must necessarily reflect an entirely different set of ideals, containing the contrasting but congruent values of diversity and interconnection that make this country unique.

Masterpieces of the Minter's Art: The Lady of the Great White North!
This coin re-introduces Miss Canada to the world! The vignette by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw features an iconic rendering of a new Canada allegory! Seated on the “throne” of the Canadian Shield, this classically dressed, seated female portrays elegance and beauty. Appropriate, Miss Canada sports a crown of maple leaves - an iconic image associated with Canada for more than two centuries. She raises her right hand with open palm in a gesture of peace and welcome. In her left arm she holds a staff bearing a large maple leaf. Her bare right foot is visible beneath the hem of her long gown, putting Miss Canada in direct contact with the natural world within which she is positioned. In the landscape surrounding her we see the incredible natural variety of Canada. In the distant background rise vast mountains and a pure glacial river. The middle ground is occupied by a large waterway bounded by a wild forested shoreline. An eagle, an important element of Native American spiritualism, flies above her. In the water below the eagle, a jumping fish represents the vigor and power of Canada’s natural world. The base of the image is festooned with a garland composed of more than twenty-five species of Canadian leaves, symbolizing Canada’s natural diversity and multicultural makeup.

- Face Value: 3 dollars
- Mintage: 15,000
- Composition: bronze (95% Copper 5% Tin)
- Weight (g): 19.2
- Diameter (mm): 35.75
- Edge: Plain
- Finish: Proof
- Certificate: Serialized (#14711 / 15000)
- Artist: Laurie McGaw

The picture substituting for this coin's reverse is an 1886 political cartoon satirizing Canadian/US relations. In it Jonathon represents the United Sates, Miss Canada as Britannia's daughter, represents Canada, and Britannia represents Great Britain. The following is the text of the cartoon:

Mrs. Britannia.—“Is it possible, my dear, that you have ever given your cousin Jonathan any encouragement?”
Miss Canada.—“Encouragement! Certainly not, Mamma. I have told him that we can never be united.”
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