|The Very Finest Mint Coin Sets...|
|World Mint Coin Sets|
Last Coins Before The Euro
The twelve Eurozone member states introduce the Euro on January 1st 2002. Most of them have issued special "last edition" coin sets for sale to collectors and general public alike before the old money disappears for good by early 2002. Although the ECB has co-ordinated the efforts of each country to ensure that the Euro is introduced as smoothly as possible, there appears to have been little if any planning or liaison between the countries about their old coinage, and particularly about the issue of collectors coins, as these will be of of no concern to the EU planners, and will have been left to the enterprise and discretion of each individual member state. In our page about the 2002 Euro coin sets, we discuss the differences between the approach that each state has taken regarding the designs of their Euro coins, and the number of different designs shown on the eight different coin denominations. This varies from one to eight.
Lack of Information
We do not always know exactly which countries have issued which coins or sets. We certainly don't always know that coins are planned. Most of the time, we believe the mints don't know what they are planning. In most cases we do not deal directly with the mints or central banks, but through distributors. The information flow is less than perfect. If this surprises anyone, we will tell you a short story which will surprise you even more.
The Royal Mint
The British Royal Mint is the single most important coin issuing entity which whom we deal. As UK based coin dealers, we specialise more in British coins than in all other coins combined. the Royal Mint make coins for Great Britain, and many other countries. They also act as agents or distributors for many countries. Because of this, they make about 80% or more of the coins we handle. Sometimes we deal directly with them, but more often we combine with other dealers or distributors. Time after time we ask the Royal Mint for information, and time after time we only receive information after it has leaked out or become available elsewhere. At other times we receive information which is totally misleading or inaccurate. In 2000, we asked about the issue of all four sizes of bullion gold Britannias every month, starting in January. As the year went by, we asked more frequently. By December, we were telephoning, e-mailing or faxing every day. About the 14th, because we were still waiting for responses from the manager of their European trade section, I telephoned the customer service desk of their "Coin Club", and asked what the situation was about any and all of the four sizes. Their representative checked on their computerised product database, and was able to tell me that none of the four sizes had been produced in an uncirculated bullion version, and that it was very unlikely that any would be produced so late in the year. Several interesting things happened following this. The very next day a local customer called into our showroom with a Royal Mint Coin Club leaflet offering for sale ... a quarter ounce Britannia! The conclusion we draw from this is that the Royal Mint does not know its anus from its cubitum*, if you will excuse our diversion into Latin. We also received a communication from the Royal Mint's Trade Manager saying that as we were dealers, we had no business speaking directly to their own retail section, and that all dealer enquiries must be channelled through him alone.
We have already mentioned that we are both direct and indirect customers of the Royal Mint, so obviously we are better placed than most to receive relevant information from them, they apparently do want dealers to distribute their products. They are only down the road from us in Wales, and most of them speak English, so we share a common language. There are about 200 different mints or coin-issuing authorities world-wide. In most cases we are not a direct customer, we speak a different language, and we are located thousands of miles away. the most important coin collectors market for most countries is their local one, their own country. For this reason it is difficult for us to gather accurate and timely information about most coin issues from most countries. Some countries seem to positively discourage coin collecting. If you consider the problem we have getting information from our nearest and biggest mint, just imagine how difficult it must be to get information from the rest. Some mints with their own direct selling operations, such as the USA and Canada seem very efficient about serving their large local markets, but seem to avoid supplying anywhere outside their local North American market.
Don't Ask Us - We Don't Know Either!
Where we are in possession of useful and relevant information, we usually try to publish it on a relevant page of our website. Also if we get asked similar questions repeatedly, we will endeavour to find the answer and publish it similarly. We do not always have the time to answer all enquiries individually. Catalogues such as Krause's Catalogue of World Coins can be very useful, but of course, they cost money, and can't be expected to predict future events, it often takes several years before they can obtain the issue statistics for coins from many countries.
* cubitum = elbow (to be fair to the Royal Mint, most doctors don't know either!)
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