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A bit too big for pocket change...Mozart coin from the Democratic Republic of Congo

Hello, everyone.

A fellow collector asked me about a picture of a coin I had for my "composer collection". This one weighs 1000 g, and is 5 1/2 inches in diameter. There was a maximum mintage of 250.

I thought it might be of interest to foreign coin collectors out there.

Piano 1

Comments

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,277 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 1, 2023 3:06PM

    I had this one and sold it at my table in Mexico.
    2020 $10 Solomon Islands 5 ounces 0.999 fine silver.

    Can it be a coin if it's not round?


  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Hello, Pruebas.

    I never acquired this coin but I do like it very much. What I found is that too many little countries were using composer coins as revenue makers for their economies and quite simply, I never was able to keep up with the numerous and expensive issues.

    I guess technically, a coin doesn't have to be round as in the past, and in countries even today, there are square coins, in the past, things that were not coins at all circulated as money...beads, shells, tobacco, silver or gold bars...all sorts of stuff. I do admire the creativity of many new issues but too many issuers have spoiled the hobby of composer coins in my humble opinion. I hope you did well at y our Mexico table.

    Doesn't Pruebas translate to trial strikes/proofs?

    Good hearing from you! Thanks.

    Piano1

  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As collectors, when assigning the blame (or credit) for the issuing of unusual, bizarre or otherwise non-coin-like coins, we should avoid confusing "issuing country" with "issuing mint". In most cases, these countries do not have mints of their own. Foreign mint corporations are producing coins in their name, often without their knowledge or consent. So practically all of the "revenue raising" is being done by the mint that made the coin, not the country being used as a flag of convenience, which may not be getting one cent of the profits.

    There is a reason that some of the less scrupulous mints use countries that are either remote and out of the way (like the Solomon Islands) or countries which are/were experiencing civil war or anarchy (like DRC Congo in 2006) - in both cases, it can be difficult for Western collectors to contact people actually in the government of that country, in order to verify the legal tender status of the "coins".

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)
  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,277 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 1, 2023 3:13PM

    @Sapyx said:
    As collectors, when assigning the blame (or credit) for the issuing of unusual, bizarre or otherwise non-coin-like coins, we should avoid confusing "issuing country" with "issuing mint". In most cases, these countries do not have mints of their own. Foreign mint corporations are producing coins in their name, often without their knowledge or consent. So practically all of the "revenue raising" is being done by the mint that made the coin, not the country being used as a flag of convenience, which may not be getting one cent of the profits.

    There is a reason that some of the less scrupulous mints use countries that are either remote and out of the way (like the Solomon Islands) or countries which are/were experiencing civil war or anarchy (like DRC Congo in 2006) - in both cases, it can be difficult for Western collectors to contact people actually in the government of that country, in order to verify the legal tender status of the "coins".

    I imagine they are using the country’s name under some kind of license. After all, (the Solomon coin, at least) it has the image of the Queen, which I suppose has some kind of international trademark or something.

    As far as legal tender, even a first-world country (Canada) has reneged on legal tender status of some NCLT, not to mention third-world countries such as the Marshall Islands.

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Hello, prubas and Sapyx. Your comments about, well, let's call it, "unusual coins" are very informative and I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and the Numismatic News article as well.

    The very reason that I slowed down and eventually stopped collecting "composer coins" was that the market was being flooded with NCLTs and other "coins" minted under dubious circumstances. I couldn't keep up. I guess I got the first "inkling" that something was going on years ago when North Korea started producing composer commemoration coins (of composers from Europe). Then Tonga came up with a Richard Wagner coin and the list goes on and on. Still, I prevailed until just a few years ago when the "Tiny Pacific Islands" (or the mints FOR them) and many other countries (or mints) got into action as well. (On a side note, I looked for years trying to find that darn Wagner coin, 1 Pa'anga, KM-160, 1983 coin. (I can't find a listing on Numista.com or the 2017 Krause Standard World Coins.) A European collector traded one with me. A phone call to the National Bank in Tonga resulted in "we have no record of that coin ever having been minted". This confirms your thinking that not the countries but the MINTS are running the show.

    So, Having lived in Peru for 4 years, I pick up an occasional Peruvian coin to add to my collection instead.

    I guess it's like collecting silver 1-ounce silver "art" bars and baseball cards. Great fun and potentially lucrative in the early days until everyone and their grandma started making them. 😏

    Thank you both!!!

    Piano1

  • horseyridehorseyride Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

    If only I never saw another hunk of junk from Tuvalu, Palau or Niue

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    I hear you well, horseyride!!

    Piano1

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,277 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @horseyride said:
    If only I never saw another hunk of junk from Tuvalu, Palau or Niue

    Some are popular and good sellers if you can pick them up close to melt.
    Unfortunately, that means the initial buyer lost big on them....

  • WillieBoyd2WillieBoyd2 Posts: 5,026 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Has anyone here ever been to Tuvalu, Palau or Niue?

    :)

    https://www.brianrxm.com
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  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,277 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @WillieBoyd2 said:
    Has anyone here ever been to Tuvalu, Palau or Niue?

    :)

    No, but I've actually lived in the Marshall Islands. Seriously.
    And they use US currency, at least when I was there.

  • dunkleosteus430dunkleosteus430 Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2, 2023 7:11PM

    I just started a composer collection as I've been getting into piano music. I don't want anything too modern, though, especially not a "weird coin." I won an eBay auction for this coin a few hours ago.


    It has Franz Liszt. As far as I can tell these circulated in Hungary when they were issued.

    The coin you have is interesting. Is it made of glass? I'd like to hear more about your composer collection.

    Young Numismatist

  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dunkleosteus430 said:
    The coin you have is interesting. Is it made of glass?

    Plastic. Perspex, I believe. I think they use lasers (or it might be ultrasonics) to create the tiny bubbles that form the 3-D shape of the design within the perspex.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)
  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Hello, everybody.

    I'm so glad my "Mozart Coin" (if you can call it that) has generated so much conversation. I always enjoy learning from fellow collectors and this topic is certainly no exception. Thanks for the posts and sharing and "future thanks" for any that haven't been posted yet.

    The "coin" is acrylic, according to the Certificate of Authenticity.

    Dunkleosteus430, I'll try to email you privately with more information on Composer Coins. It's quite a fascinating trip!!

    Piano1

  • John ConduittJohn Conduitt Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I think it's stretching it to call these coins, but I would say that of all non-circulating commemoratives. If they weren't designed for circulation, they aren't really coins, are they? Bullion is for storing value. Medals and ornaments are for admiring. Coins are for spending.

    The 'legal tender' thing is a red herring. In the UK it has a very specific meaning, which does not mean you can spend them in the shops. For example, a crown issued after 1818 is still legal tender (you can use it to settle your debt with a court) but you won't find many shops that will accept them. And if you do, you're essentially entering into barter. In the UK, a coin has to be issued by the Royal Mint - anything else is not a coin. Other countries will have different rules. But no-one has to accept any form of payment if they don't want to.

    The value of a coin, then, and whether it's generally accepted in shops, is in its monetisation i.e. whether the Central Bank will stand by its value and therefore local banks will allow you to deposit them. Demonetised coins, tokens and commemoratives will not generally be accepted.

    If I was collecting composers, I would stick to coins i.e. the circulating kind.

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Well said, John. There are a lot or "real composer coins" out there but over time, I kind of went the way of NCLTs as well. I had to establish my own guidelines as far as what I would "allow in my collection" and I had 4 criteria:

    it had a composer on it (or sample of music script),
    it had a date,
    it had a denomination, and
    a country was named.

    A lot of NCLTs (if not all) met my "standards" and I thoroughly enjoyed my acquisitions but I kind of knew that if I lived in the issuing countries, chances of finding one in circulation would be a rare event indeed. 😉 Eventually, with SO many new issuers and issues, I gave up the chase but I still enjoy finding a new composer coin that is affordable. This is clearly a case of "to each his own" and I have had (and continue to have) many hours of enjoyment of my collection. Somewhere in the bank vault are some really funky coins that I almost didn't buy...but finally did. I seem to remember a set of 6 wild guitar shapes from the Soloman Islands (?) that were certified by NGC that I bought for a song (no pun intended). I still have them somewhere.....

    Piano1

  • horseyridehorseyride Posts: 115 ✭✭✭
    edited June 3, 2023 3:50PM

    Your journey is closest I've seen to mine, which is for coins (and occasional tokens or medal ) with penguins on them. I groan every time I see an issue in gold or platinum, or from those mentioned countries, and I think I'm up to five remailing services to cover Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, etc, where local delivery is the only option Currently fighting a battle via google translate to purchase from Japan. They just refuse to take my money despite the legal annoyances of getting a local delivery address I have at least a dozen that numista and colnect never heard of Worst though is knowing there are a few coins out there I just can't find even after ten years

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Hi, horseyride.

    I imagine that every topical coin collector has had issues similar to yours and mine. Penguins are beloved animals and I'm sure there are a bunch of dedicated collectors of coins that feature them. I did a quick "Penguin Coins" search and found all sorts of listings online. Same with Composer Coins but it's the hardcore digging that I found to be the most fun. Finding composer coins from the 18th and 19th centuries was a real hoot as some rulers at the time were also obscure composers. There are bunches of coins with their names and faces from those rulers and I never tried to get one of each denomination.

    I admire your persistence as demonstrated by the postal frustrations you are encountering. I didn't run into that here in the U.S., just a couple of international dealers who accept payment but never sent the coins; or who sent the wrong thing and didn't make it right. I don't remember the country in Europe but 1 dealer really ticked me off with a totally fraudulent ad and sale. Not a smart move because I posted all over the internet to avoid the dealer and even notified the police in his town what he was doing. This was years ago...but the ads disappeared.

    Keep up the good work. My wife and I always enjoy watching the Penguin educational TV shows!! Amazing animals!

    Piano1

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Posts: 1,655 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The only examples of those offending mints I have.
    Purchased because I like them.

     

  • Piano1Piano1 Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Now those are interesting! And I thought big, acrylic coins of Mozart were "different". Gee...maybe a topic should start here on the BB featuring "imaginative coin" designs that look nothing like coins!! I bet there are a couple of zillion of them.

    Regarding the "revolver", is there a denomination on the piece somewhere? I wonder if PCGS could manufacture a special slab for it?? 😄

    Piano 1

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