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Biggest coin ever made in Royal Mint's 1,100 year history unveiled
The enormous coin is too big for one hand alone and took hundreds of hours to produce and polish.
By Charlotte Bateman, news reporter
Thursday 29 April 2021 06:49, UK
The Royal Mint has produced the largest coin in its 1,100 year history - measuring 20cm wide and 10 kilograms in weight.
The coin, which has been described by Mint as a "masterwork" and has a denomination of 㾶,000, took a whopping 400 hours to produce - including four days of polishing.
Only one original was made and has already been sold for a six-figure sum to a deep-pocketed mystery buyer.
Those with on a tighter budget can opt for a 㾹 version, which has a denomination of ٣.
The production process combined traditional and more innovative coin manufacturing technologies, such as engraving machines to cut the intricate design.
A master toolmaker also hand-worked the coin to remove any marks from the cutting, followed by days of polishing and laser frosting technology for texturing.
It marks the conclusion of the the Queen's Beasts commemorative coin collection.
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Beginning with The Lion of England in 2017, the collection has celebrated the history and symbolism of mythical creatures and the new one features all 10 in its design - including a unicorn and a dragon.
Clare McClennen, divisional director at Royal Mint, said the new coin "sets a standard for minting" and "is testament to the expertise, craftsmanship and skill of our team".
She added that it is the latest in Royal Mint's MasterWorks series, which "offer unique works of arts for collectors" across the globe.
Druze salute divers who found gold coins on Caesarea seabed
Israeli hiker stumbles on rare gold coin of Emperor Augustus in Galilee
Can Caesarea become the Acropolis of Israeli tourism?
According to contemporary accounts, most of the inhabitants of Caesarea were massacred by the army of Baldwin I, king of the recently created Kingdom of Jerusalem.
“The cache is a silent testimony to one of the most dramatic events in the history of Caesarea – the violent conquest of the city by the Crusaders. Someone hid their fortune, hoping to retrieve it – but never returned,” the archaeologists said. “It is reasonable to assume that the treasure’s owner and his family perished in the massacre or were sold into slavery, and therefore were not able to retrieve their gold," they added.
The cache constituted a small fortune, since at the time just one or two of these coins were equivalent to the annual salary of a simple farmer, said Robert Kool, an IAA coin expert.
The bronze pot with gold earring inside. Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation
“It seems that whoever deposited the cache was at least well-to-do or involved in commerce,” he added.
This is confirmed by the unique mix of currencies found by the archaeologists: 18 Fatimid dinars, which were the standard local currency at the time and have been found elsewhere in Caesarea, as well as six extremely rare Byzantine coins, including five belonging to the reign of Emperor Michael VII Doukas (1071–1079), Kool said.
Since these coins were not known to circulate locally, they point to possible trade links between Caesarea and Constantinople during the period, possibly by the very owner of the treasure, the expert said.
Caesaraea was a rich port city built more than 2,000 years ago by King Herod the Great and named after Augustus, who was the Roman emperor (that is, Caesar) at the time. The town continued to be an important trading center after the Muslim conquest of the Levant in the seventh century. It changed hands twice during the Crusades, but was ultimately retaken by the Mamelukes, who destroyed the town and left it almost unpopulated in the following centuries.
The recently discovered gold hoard is not the first treasure found in Caesarea and dated to the Crusader conquest. A pot filled with gold and silver jewelry was discovered nearby in the 1960s and a collection of bronze vessels was found in the '90s, the IAA statement said. Both these treasures are displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The treasures were located near the port in the Fatimid and Abbasid neighborhood that was built adjacent to a Herodian temple nearly 1,000 years after Herod's reign.
The latest find was made as part of a massive 150 million shekel ($40.3 million) renovation of Caesarea’s archaeological park, funded by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation.
“It is symbolic that the gold coins were discovered on the eve of Hanukkah,” said Michael Karsenti, CEO of the Caesarea Development Corporation, the foundation’s executive arm. “For us this is certainly ‘Hanukkah gelt,’ and a testament to how much more is still hidden within Caesarea,” he added.
The rare cache found on site at Caesarea Maritima. Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation General view of the archaeological excavations at Caesarea Maritima. Yaakov Shimdov, Israel Antiquities Authority The bronze pot with gold earring inside. Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation Aerial photos of the ancient port at Caesarea. Yaakov Shimdov, Israel Antiquities Authority Caesarea Maritima, preliminary identification of the coins on site. Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation Preliminary identification of the coins on site at Caesarea Maritima. Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation
Women in gold: Powerful empresses on Byzantine coins
Rule by women was less common, but not unheard of in the Byzantine Empire—or in the ancient world for that matter! As such, ancient coins frequently depicted women. The National Numismatic Collection holds several Byzantine coins featuring images of women. Emperor Justin II's coins show him and his wife, Sophia. Mary, the mother of Christ, is a common icon on Byzantine coins. The women rulers of Byzantium left lasting impressions (get it?) on the coins of the empire, but two women left particularly strong legacies in the wake of their rule. Irene and Theodora were two of the most (in)famous ladies to take the throne. Their political and religious actions caused drastic movement in the empire (and their family dramas are worthy of their own HBO show).
Irene married into her position in 769 A.D. when she wed the emperor Leo IV. Originally from Athens, Irene brought her entourage with her to Byzantium. Many of her siblings married into the Byzantine court, further solidifying her familial position as imperial elite. After the death of her husband in 780, Irene became regent and co-emperor with their 10-year-old son, Constantine VI, and took over political affairs of the empire.
Irene's powerful reign bred anger and resentment in Constantine. Thanks in large part to military resistance against the empress, Constantine was eventually able to attain sole rule in 790. But that did not stop the ambitious Irene. Two years later, she returned both to court and to her position as co-emperor. By 797 she had incited a conspiracy against Constantine. Irene had her son blinded and imprisoned. (That even makes Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones look like a healthy mother figure.) For five more years, Irene reigned as emperor—that’s basileus for you Greek scholars—over Byzantium.
Unlike Irene, Theodora was born into the imperial line— as daughter to Emperor Constantine VIII. Her position as a daughter of the emperor should have ensured an early political marriage, but when her father betrothed her to Romanos (a married man) she refused. Her sister, Zoe, was instead presented as a second-choice wife. Romanos and Zoe married in 1028. Zoe remained deeply bitter toward her sister for being her father's first choice for the marriage and used her power to incite rumors about Theodora. Accused in conspiracy against Zoe, Theodora was confined to a monastery where she remained for 13 years. Talk about family drama.
But wait, it gets worse.
Theodora's absence allowed Zoe to wreak havoc on the empire. She took a lover, had her husband killed, and adopted her paramour's nephew to be the new emperor. The Byzantine people were astounded by the antics. In 1042 they demanded the return of Theodora to co-rule with Zoe. A delegation literally dragged Theodora out of her monastery and forced her into imperial garb. Tensions were forever high between the sisters, but Theodora was quick to reinstate some stability in the empire.
The coins of Irene and Theodora have powerful and bold portraits that convey the power they wielded in their lifetimes. To see them alongside many other powerful and influential women, check out the Women on Money display in Stories on Money.
Emily Pearce is an intern with the National Numismatic Collection.
The Golden Dollar's obverse, or heads, has Sacagawea portrayed in three-quarter profile. In a departure from numismatic tradition, she looks straight at the holder. Glenna Goodacre, the artist of the obverse, included the large, dark eyes attributed to Sacagawea in Shoshone legends. Goodacre used a present-day Shoshone college student, Randy'L He-dow Teton, as her model.
On her back, Sacagawea carries Jean Baptiste, her infant son. Six months pregnant when she joined the Lewis and Clark expedition, Sacagawea gave birth to Jean Baptiste early in the journey.
Designed to complement the obverse, the selected reverse features a soaring eagle encircled by 17 stars. The 17 stars represent each state in the Union at the time of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition.
Mint and Mint Mark
UK Gold Coins
UK Gold Coins Overview
Gold coins are produced by mints all over the globe. Today, gold coins are available with a vast number of designs and also come in numerous weights. Gold coins can be a great vehicle for building a gold portfolio, as the typical gold bullion coin carries a reasonable premium over spot and they are easy to store.
Regardless of where a gold coin is minted, the coin is considered good, legal tender and they carry varying face values.
The UK has produced a number of gold coins over the years that are coveted by both investors and collectors. These gold coins include both bullion coins as well as proof versions and collectibles. Some of the most popular UK gold coins include:
The British Gold Britannia coin: The British Gold Britannia coin contains 1 troy ounce of 999.9 percent fine gold. The name Britannia represents the goddess responsible for protecting the island and controlling the English Channel. THis gold coin made its debut in 1987 and it is produced by The Royal Mint. The coin was originally produced with .917 percent fine gold, but was changed to 999.9 in recent years. The coin’s obverse features the portrait image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The 1 ounce weight carries a face value of 100 GBP.
The British Gold Queen’s Beast Lion coin: This coin is also produced by The Royal Mint. The coin features an iconic symbol, the lion, as well as the profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These gold coins are produced with 999.9 percent fine gold and carry a face value of 100 GBP.
The Great Britain Gold Sovereign coin: This gold coin is produced by The Royal Mint and features a picture of St. George mounted on horseback as he battles a dragon. The obverse of each coin features a portrait of the reigning monarch of the UK. All British Sovereigns since 1957 have featured the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with various versions being used. These coins contain .2354 ounces actual gold weight.
Gold coins from the UK tend to be intricately detailed and full of symbolism. Many of these coins are available in both bullion and proof versions, and are therefore suitable for investors looking to add total ounces of gold to their holdings as well as collectors looking to add fine coins for their appreciation potential and collectibility.
UK gold coins are an excellent choice due to their beautiful designs, their collectability and of course their gold content. These coins are easily stored in a home safe, a bank safe deposit box or in the depository of your choice.
UK gold coins bring with them a great deal of history and symbolism. If you are looking to add some diversification to your collection, then UK gold coins may be a great choice. These gold coins are available from many dealers, and can be ordered online and delivered to you within a matter of days.
Canada is a land of scenic beauty and has an abundance of natural resources. Many of Canada’s gold coins are designed to honor the nation’s rich landscape, its wildlife and its heritage. If you are looking to acquire gold coins with beautiful design work, Canadian gold coins may be an excellent choice. These gold coins come in various weights and purities and can make a great addition to any portfolio or coin collection. Some Canadian gold coins are produced in limited mintages, also giving them the potential for collectibility value.
The Royal Canadian Mint produces some of the finest gold coin products anywhere in the world. The mint struck its first coin as an arm of the British Royal Mint in 1908. In 1931, the mint was passed into Canadian hands, making it a wholly-owned Canadian institution. The mint’s beginnings coincided with growing gold production in the Yukon and British Columbia. The mint’s original refinery was completed in 1911. A new refinery would later replace the original in 1936, and that refinery is still in operation today.
The Royal Canadian Mint produces numerous bullion coins as well as circulation coinage and numismatics. The mint offers many different types of collectible coin and coin sets, and produces not only bullion coins but proof finishes as well. The mint has built a well-deserved reputation for producing products of the highest quality standards and is also recognized for the beauty of its products. Canadian gold coins may be of particular interest to collectors looking to diversify their holdings with different designs and coins of higher purity levels. With some coins containing 999.99 percent fine gold, the mint produces some of the purest gold coins anywhere in the world.
A prime example of the quality and craftsmanship that The Royal Canadian Mint has come to be known for is the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin series. A 1 ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf features the iconic maple leaf symbol, and since 1982 has contained 1 troy ounce of 999.9 percent fine gold. In addition to the maple leaf design, these coins feature a profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Canadian Gold Maple Leafs are also available in smaller weights. These smaller sizes include 1/10th ounce, ¼ ounce and ½ ounce. Due to their 999.9 percent fine gold content, these Canadian gold coins may be eligible for purchase in an IRA account. Of course, you should consult your tax professional before purchasing for eligibility and rules.
Another example of Canadian gold coin design work and artistry is the Canadian Gold Elk Coin. This gold coin is also produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and features the iconic elk on its reverse as well as the profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. These coins carry a face value of $200 (CAD) and are considered good, legal tender. These coins are some of the purest anywhere in the world, with 999.99 percent fine gold.
Gold Price History
Gold Price History in Ounces USD
Gold History Charts in Ounces
Economic History Resources - What was the price of gold then?
This page features a wealth of information on historical gold prices as well as gold price charts. If you are considering an investment in gold, you may want to take a look at the metal’s price history. The chart at the top of the page allows you to view historical gold prices going back over 40 years. You can view these gold prices in varying currencies as well, seeing how it has performed over a long period of time. Depending on the currencies being used, you may find a better long term value. For example, because gold is typically denominated in U.S. Dollars, if the dollar is weaker then someone buying gold in yen or euros may find gold to be relatively less expensive. On the other hand, a stronger dollar may make gold relatively more expensive in other currencies due to exchange rates.
You can also easily examine historical gold prices on a much smaller time horizon from 10 minutes to three days to 30 days to 60 days and up. The timeframe you decide to look at may depend on your investment objectives. If you are simply looking to buy and sell gold as a swing trader, you may focus on the hourly or six hour charts. If you are looking to invest in gold for the long-term, you may be better off using longer timeframes such as weekly, monthly or yearly.
Why Look at Historical Gold Prices?
Looking at historical gold prices may potentially provide information that may assist in buying or selling decisions. Looking at the big picture, gold trended higher for many years before making all-time highs in 2011 of nearly $2000 per ounce. Gold has since been moving lower, but could have possibly found a bottom in 2016. Although it remains to be seen, gold’s declines from the 2011 highs could simply prove to be a pullback within an even longer-term uptrend.
Examining historical gold prices can potentially be useful in trying to identify potential areas of price support to buy at. For example, if gold has pulled back to $1200 per ounce on numerous occasions but is met with heavy buying interest each time, then the $1200 area could be considered a level of support and could potentially be a good area to try to buy at.
In addition to viewing historical gold price charts in U.S. Dollars, you can also view historical gold prices in numerous alternative currencies such as British Pounds, Euros or Swiss Francs. You can even view a historical inflation-adjusted gold price chart using the 1980 CPI formula.
For easy reference, this page also contains a simple table that provides gold’s price change and percentage change using a single day, 30 day, six month, one year, five year and 16 year timeframes.
What has Driven Changes in the Gold Price?
Over the past several decades, the price of gold has been influenced by many different factors. Gold’s price history has seen some significant ups and downs, and dramatic changes in price may be fueled by such issues as central bank buying, inflation, geopolitics, monetary policy equity markets and more.
One of the biggest drivers of gold is currency values. Because gold is denominated in dollars, the greenback can have a significant impact on the price of gold. A weaker dollar makes gold relatively less expensive for foreign buyers, and thus may lift prices. On the other hand, a stronger dollar makes gold relatively more expensive for foreign buyers, thus possibly depressing prices. Fiat, or paper currencies, have a tendency to lose value over time. If this continues to be the case, gold could potentially continue in an uptrend as investors look to it for its perceived safety and its potential as a hedge against declining currency values. Gold has long been considered a reliable store of wealth and value, and that reputation is not likely to change any time soon.
Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, gold’s price history can potentially provide clues as to where it could be headed. Looking at past price data, for example, may help with spotting uptrends or downtrends. Investors may also potentially spot tradable patterns within the price data that can potentially lead to solid buying or selling opportunities.
30 Year Gold Price History in US Dollars per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Australian Dollars per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Chinese Yuan per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Canadian Dollars per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Hong Kong Dollars per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Japanese Yen per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in UK Pounds per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in South African Rand per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Swiss Swiss Francs per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Indian Rupees per Ounce
30 Year Gold Price History in Singaporean Dollars per Ounce
Archaeology Progresses One Turn of the Plow at a Time
One interesting aspect of this new coin discovery was the damage done to the money’s container by the farmer’s plow. Over the years there have been many valuable archaeological finds unearthed on agricultural lands all over the world, and in some instances it seems that farmer’s plows have helped bring artifacts up to or closer to the surface.
Conversely, there have likely been other instances where valuable treasures were pushed further down into the earth by powerful agricultural machinery, leaving them too deeply buried to ever be discovered. In the end the outcome is all a matter of luck, and in Hungary it seems that luck was on the side of the Ferenczy Museum Center treasure hunters.
Top image: Motivated by the discovery of other coin stashes in this otherwise unremarkable location in Hungary, the archaeologists set out to find more armed with metal detectors. Source: Ferenczy Museum Center