This Nelson Mandela commemorative coin is a gift from its minter, The South African Mint Company, during the 2002 World Money Fair in Basel, Switzerland. It remains one of my personal favourites.
From January 1st, 2002, 12 of the 15 European Union members (at the time) completed their conversion to using the Euro instead of their own national currencies. The twelve states were Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherland, Austria, Portugal and Finland. This set of 12 was issued to commemorate the occasion.
This 'australian silver kangaroo', with a face value of One Dollar, was struck by the Royal Australian Mint. It was made of one troy ounce of pure (.999) silver. I was attracted to the coin because of its design and the fact that it was made using the 'reverse frosting' technique which gives it a delicately frosted background. This was purchased during the Kuala Lumpur International Money Fair 2003.
In scenic Leuggern, a town on the Swiss-French border, located in the canton of Zurzach, Switzerland. We were on a working visit to Faude & Huguenin, a private mint based in Leuggern, before flying off to UK to visit the 1,000 year-old British Royal Mint in Wales. This picture was taken just outside the parameter of the train station. It was early February and there were still snow on the slopes of Leuggern.
A couple of weeks ago I received an intriguing e-mail inviting me to check out a "by invitation only" blog of fellow blogger Reme, a Singaporean journalist who writes under OpEd.
Reme had recently discovered the joys of numismatics and had wanted to share his newfound interest with me. Little did he know that coin collecting is also a hobby of mine. A delightful coincidence, this.
Popped in I did soon after and I was glad to have taken up on the invite because the tour of Reme's blog (and he had a few nice pieces on show) had somehow rekindled my own interest, left dormant for quite some time now.
Numismatics was, and will remain, an occasional hobby of mine. I didn't have the money to indulge in it in a big way (still don't); I splurged only when something truly delectable came along, the charm of which I simply could not resist.
The hobby began ten years ago when I came aboard the Royal Mint of Malaysia as the head of its corporate affairs division. The constant exposure to commemorative issues had somehow evoked a desire to build my own collection.
I was fortunate enough to be able to travel along whenever the Mint participated in international money fairs, to help manage the booth, keep up with new issues and get acquainted with minters from other countries.
Like philately (the study and collecting of stamps), coin-collecting is already considered a 'sunset' industry in Malaysia; it won't be long before this pastime fades into oblivion.
While I cannot ascertain how much truth there is in all this negativity, observations during my Royal Mint tenure certainly pointed in that direction. The waning interest was real.
The younger generations were just not interested in what they saw as a mundane pursuit. They had far too many other more exciting diversions, to bother about collecting and studying coins and stamps.
The World Money Fair in Basel, Switzerland opened my eyes to Swiss children insofar as numismatics was concerned. Our booth was swamped by eager children as young as seven, all wanting to know more about Malaysia and its coins and collectibles.
One boy about 10 years old spent a long time gazing at our display, painstakingly studying several local issues, before settling on the Bank Negara 'Bullock Cart' historical Malacca series.
He also asked many questions about the various coins on show, with his father playing translator for me. On my part, I was only too happy to be of service to such a curious mind.
His father explained that the son had just begun collecting coins and the trip to the Basel Fair was his gift to the boy; he could buy whatever coins he wanted. If I recall correctly, they spent a few hundred Swiss francs at our booth.
What a lucky child, to have such an understanding parent who spared no effort in supporting and encouraging his child's worthy pursuit...