By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek.com ……
Collecting world coin sets is a refreshing numismatic objective for hobbyists who enjoy pursuing coins with diverse themes from myriad geographic regions. The world coin sets of 2016 offer plenty of wonderful opportunities for collectors to get their hands on fascinating coins covering interesting topics with rich designs.
While it’s virtually impossible to collect every coin from every nation year-in and year-out, it’s more feasible to choose a sampling of captivating coins from a handful of nations. So here’s a look at five of the most interesting 2016 mint sets and proof sets from around the world.
2016 Canada Special Edition Silver Proof Set
These days, Canada issues dozens upon dozens of commemorative coins and other special offerings each year with themes that include comic book heroes, professional sports, and classic television programs. The number of Royal Canadian Mint products these days is difficult for the coin collector of typical means to keep up with. So it’s somewhat refreshing that the Great White North still offers bread-and-butter annual coin sets with familiar, regular-issue circulating coins that usually include a a single, special-issue representative of the nation’s vast NIFC (Not-Intended-For-Circulation) output.
The 2016 Canadian Special Edition Silver Proof Set offers exactly that for the coin collector. The 2016 Canada Special Edition Proof Set offers specially struck specimens of the nation’s six circulating coins plus a colorized silver dollar honoring the 150th anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic communications cable.
While the first communications cable linking Europe and North America was laid in 1858, or 158 years ago, it was an unreliable and inefficient connection that failed within one month of operation. In July 1866, a more durable and technologically advanced cable was placed into operation linking Ireland and Newfoundland, becoming the first permanent telegraph line to cross the Atlantic. The event is honored on a commemorative silver dollar depicting a side view of iron steamship SS Great Eastern as it rests in the harbor of Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, after laying the North American end of the Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. The coin design, by artist Yves Bérubé, is seen on a 99.99 percent silver dollar boasting colorized highlights.
The other coins in the Canadian proof set, each featuring an obverse bust of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Susanna Blunt (View Designer’s Profile), include the steel-based nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar. Also included in the 2016 Canadian proof set are the three-ply brass finish steel-plated one-dollar coin, or “Loonie,” and the $2 “Toonie”; the latter features a three-ply nickel finish outer ring and brass-plated aluminum bronze inner core.
2016 United Kingdom Collector Proof Coin Set
The Royal Mint of Great Britain offers some of the finest coins in the world, and it lives up to those numismatic expectations with the 2016 United Kingdom Collector Proof Coin Set. The 17-piece proof set is housed in a handsome black case and includes 16 coins ranging in denomination from 1 Pence to £5 and an ingot-style Royal Mint medal. The 2016 United Kingdom Proof Sets marks an historic first and last for British coinage. It is the first annual proof set to feature the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by engraver Jody Clark (View Designer’s Profile) and introduced on U.K. coinage late in 2015. Meanwhile, the proof set is the last to offer the round £1 coin.
Among the eight commemorative coins in the 2016 British proof set are a commemorative 50 Pence coin honoring the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, a £2 British Army commemorative, the Great Fire of London 350th Anniversary £2 commemorative coin, and the £5 commemorative issue celebrating the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.
Additionally, the proof set includes the three £2 coins paying tribute to the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare. The three Shakespeare commemorative coins each honor three individual genres or themes associated with the expansive work of “The Bard,” including Comedies, Tragedies, and History. The eighth commemorative coin in the 2016 British proof set honors the last round £1 coin. In 2017, the round £1 will be replaced by a 12-sided £1 coin boasting advanced security features.
While the 2016 United Kingdom Proof Set is a handsome product that would make a wonderful addition to any coin collection, the Royal Mint faced scathing scrutiny from the numismatic community earlier in the year. Controversy arose in the spring of 2016 when the Royal Mint issued a notice to British banks not to accept commemorative £20, £50, and £100 coins as legal tender currency. The Royal Mint’s apparent redefinition of the legal tender status of certain British commemorative coins riled many in the numismatic community, who understand a “coin” to be government-backed legal tender. Commemorative issues that lack this all-important legal tender status are generally regarded by numismatists as “metal rounds.”
2016 Japan Cherry Blossom Proof Set
In the United States, millions flock to see the white and pink springtime cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. Those iconic cherry trees were a diplomatic gift given to Washington, D.C. by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912. Cherry trees are a significant part of Japanese culture, and every year more than one million people flock to enjoy them during the annual springtime tradition of the Osaka Cherry Tree Viewing Festival.
The cherry tree is beautifully depicted on a colorized 20-gram sterling silver Japanese medal that is offered in the 2016 Japanese Proof Set. The cherry blossom medal measures 35 millimeters in diameter and shows the pinkish blooms flourishing in full color. The cherry tree blossom on the silver medal is that of the Botan species, which is one of more than 200 cultivars found in Japan. In Japanese culture, the seemingly endless bunches of spring-blooming cherry blossoms symbolize clouds.
In addition to the cherry blossom medal, six circulating legal-tender coins are also contained in the seven-piece Japanese 2016 Proof Set. These include the 1 Yen, 5 Yen, 10 Yen, 50 Yen, 100 Yen, and 500 Yen base-metal coins.
Brazil 1 Real 4-Coin 2016 Rio Olympic Coin Set
The 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, has inspired the creation of a plethora of commemorative coins from mints around the world, including the Summer Games’ South American host nation. Brazil has been striking Rio Olympics commemorative coins since 2014, when the Brazilian Central Bank issued a batch of silver, gold, and base-metal circulating coins honoring the Summer Games.
The four coins in the 2016 Brazilian 1 Real Rio Olympic coin set are made with a stainless steel core and bronze-coated steel outer ring. The four coins share a common obverse design with the denomination, 1 REAL, superimposed in two horizontal lines of text on a stylized image of the globe. A pattern with stripes and geometric shapes encompass the inner core and outer ring. The reverse designs on the four coins depict the following themes: boxing; Paralympic swimming; Vinicius, the official mascot of the 2016 Rio Olympics; and Tom, the 2016 Rio Paralympics mascot. Each coin measures 27 millimeters wide and weighs 29 grams.
BeNeLux 24-Coin Euro Coin Set
For many people, the nations of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands represent decadent travel destinations offering some of the finest cuisine in the world. The three nations, cumulatively referred to as “BeNeLux,” issued an Epicurean-themed 24-coin 2016 Euro coin set containing the regularly circulating Euro coinage of the three nations plus a silver Benelux medal. The silver medal features a trifecta of delectable themes, including beer, cheese, and wine.
The BeNeLux is a socio-political union of the three neighboring nations that created the common customs pact in 1944. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg joined West Germany, Italy, and France in the European Coal and Steel Community, which formed the predecessor of the European Economic Community (EEC) and later became the European Union (EU).
The Euro coins in the BeNeLux set are offered in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. The common obverse design of the Netherlands Euro coins features King Willem-Alexander, who first appeared on the nation’s coinage in 2014. The obverses of the Belgian Euro coins depict a bust of King Philippe, who also made his first appearance on his nation’s coinage in 2014. Meanwhile, the obverses of the Luxembourg Euro coins honor Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
The 24-coin 2016 BeNeLux Euro Collector Set is an official issue of the Royal Belgian Mint, Royal Dutch Mint, and Central Bank of Luxembourg, which struck the coins contained within the set.
The 2016 world coin sets referenced within this article could collectively form the nucleus of a unique, jet-setting coin collection or can be bought on an individual basis as additions to collections of coins from specific nations. No matter the objective in purchasing any or all of these 2016 world proof and mint sets, they are certain to add an element of cosmopolitan savoir faire to any coin collection.