British Mint's Sports Commemorative Breaks Traditions

Posted: May 04, 1986

The United Kingdom gold proof set, issued this spring, offers three coins, including the newly designed 2 pound commemorative coin.

The new coin, which celebrates the Commonwealth Games to be held in Edinburgh this summer, is the first gold coin struck in England to celebrate a sporting event, and it is the first to carry its denomination inscribed on it.

The 2 pound coin also is the first to depart from the tradition of striking all gold coins with the Benedetto Pistrucci image of St. George slaying the dragon, a design adopted in 1893. The reverse of the coin shows a Scottish thistle against the cross of St. Andrew and is wreathed in laurel.

The British Royal Mint has pointed out that the 2 pound coin has not been a popular circulating coin in its 200-year history. The coin has been struck primarily for mint and proof sets; this year, for the first time, the mint offered the gold 2 pound coin for sale individually, as well as in the sets.

The proof sets include a sovereign and a half-sovereign, and each is available singly. The proof sets are sold at $675; the 2 pound coin is $425, the sovereign $235 and the half-sovereign $125. Queries go to the mint, c/o Barclays Bank, Box 2570, New York, N.Y. 10163.


China has issued a set of two coins to mark the 20th anniversary of Tibet, the autonomous region in southwestern China. Issued in proof, the set includes a silver 10-yuan piece and a cupronickel 1-yuan coin. Both show the palace of the Dalai Lama on the obverse and the Chinese seal on the reverse. Writing in Chinese and Tibetan appears on the obverse.

The edition is limited. Bowers & Marena Galleries Inc. has 100 of these sets for sale at $49 each, plus $3.50 postage. Queries should go to the firm, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.

The annual beauty contest for coins was won this year by Canada's $100 gold coin honoring explorer Jacques Cartier.

The Coin of the Year competition, conducted by World Coin News, is based purely on aesthetics. The Canadian coin's designer is Carola Tietz, whose reverse design showed Cartier in three-quarter profile with his ship in the background. The Royal Canadian Mint struck 69,874 of the coins in .917 fine gold. The coin had earlier won the Vreneli award for coin design.

Other coins honored in the judging were the Barbados $10 dolphin coin in the crown category; the Isle of Man Angel bullion coin in the gold category; the French 100-franc Marie Curie commemorative, and the U.S. Olympic dollar as the most popular coin. In the silver categories, Panama's 20-balboa coin took dual prizes: the most artistic coin and the best coin.

The collections of Julian Leidman, David Dreyfuss and Stuart Levine fetched more than $2.5 million when sold at auction April 12 in New York City. Leidman's collection centered on medals, and his Declaration of Independence medal in silver sold for $2,310. The medal was designed by Charles Cushing Wright and is believed to be unique. It was part of the Garrett collection and was sold to Leidman in 1982.

The auctioneer, Bowers & Marena Galleries Inc., reported an event that tested bidders' tempers. When the 1794 large cent came up, its reserve price of $41,000 apparently silenced all bidders. No one bid, but after the sale a buyer approached Q. David Bowers with an offer that Bowers accepted.

Then others approached him, and two telephone queries arrived. One dealer complained that his representative had misunderstood his instructions and would have bid well above the $41,000 price. Bowers said the sale had been made, and the new owner refused to listen to offers from the others.


NORTHEAST COIN SHOW 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. today, Trevose Hilton, Route 1 and Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 28.

ROXBOROUGH COIN CLUB 7:30 p.m. Wed, Roxborough-Manayunk Federal Savings & Loan Assn., Ridge and Lyceum Avenues. Program on currency by Joseph Murphy.

DELAWARE COUNTY COIN CLUB 7:30 p.m. Wed, Ridley Community Center, Folsom.

COLONIAL COIN CLUB 7:30 p.m. Thurs, Community Room, Pomeroy's Department Store, Route 13 and Levittown Parkway, Levittown.

NEW EGYPT COIN CLUB 7:30 p.m. Thurs, Plumsted Township Recreation Center, Brindletown Rd., New Egypt, N.J.

HUNTING PARK COIN CLUB Noon Sat, 5115 Ditman St.

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