Coins Come in All Shapes & Sizes

Updated: Mar 3

In terms of regular sized coins, Somalia has recently issued some strange issues.  Coins in the shape of little guitars, motorcycles, and even 3 dimensional geometric shapes.  


How about the biggest coin?  Well if we are talking about modern coins this award would likely go to Canada.  A few years ago we began producing a 100 kilogram (yes, no mistake here, over 200 pounds!!!) pure (99.999%) gold coin.  It is obviously quite large at a diameter of about 53 cm.  I have seen this coin in person...but have not held it.  In fact at a show a couple years ago where it was on display there were a couple of armed guards next to it.  Yes, it does have a face value of $1 million dollars...and does contain about $4 million dollars worth of gold...but who is going to be strong enough to run away with it?


How about the world’s smallest coin?  Well, this is quite contested...but there were some very small coins issued in India in the 1100’s that weigh only a tiny fraction (.035) of a gram.  Likely they are the winner.  


In terms of strange shapes, and odd sizes, the hands down champion here would be a seven foot diameter stone coin on display in the Bank of Canada lobby.  This multi ton limestone disk is called a Yap stone.  It comes from the islands of Palau.  They were used for very large transactions...since the stone is very difficult to move, and would be displayed in front of a house or village.  Transaction value could include marriage, political arrangements, etc.  Needless to say we do not know of any clients who have one of these in their collection!


In terms of regular sized coins, Somalia has recently issued some strange issues.  Coins in the shape of little guitars, motorcycles, and even 3 dimensional geometric shapes.  


For those on a budget looking for interesting shaped coins....early 20th century European coins include many with holes in the center (likely for putting on a string to count), and square coins.  Caribbean countries during the 1970’s & 1980’s issued many pieces with odd shapes that can be had often in dealer junk bins for less than a dollar.


Children are naturally interested in coins that look different, and this is a great way to get them interested in coin collecting.  During a “show and tell” at a kindergarten class last year I experienced the excitement odd coins create in little hands.  


So if you are thinking of starting a new collection, you need not limit yourself to a boring series of similar looking disks...be creative...there are neat coins out there to collect!

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