Welcome to Money and Geography, a website blog blending numismatic and geographic information together! M&G features high-quality images, news about recent coin-and-banknote issues, and general facts about countries. Unless otherwise credited, images were taken by me via camera and modified for this blog. Thank you for visiting!
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  • Odd-Shaped Coins page: updated June 10th, 2019
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  • March 26, 2019

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    There is now a confidential way to contact me, the Money and Geography blogger! To send an email, just click the button below. My email address should appear in your installed email program's "Send to:" field. Thank you so much for accessing Money and Geography today and always!

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    December 24, 2018

    Rare King Tutankhamen Medallion

    Egypt 10 Milliemes (1979) medallion/coin, obverseEgypt 10 Milliemes (1979) medallion/coin, reverse
    Click the images to enlarge them in a pop-up lightbox window.

    One of the most iconic slabs of metal I have ever seen, the EGYPT 10 Milliemes medallion or coin depicted above is believed to be minted in the year 1979.* This medallion — or "mask coin" as described by an online seller — exhibits the well-known mask of pharaoh King Tutankhamen, who lived and ruled in the 1300s B.C. As an homage to King Tut's mask being crafted in a high-karat (at least 18 and reaching 22.5-karat) solid gold, this mask-shaped coin is believed to be plated in 24-karat gold with the main base being silver. King Tut's face and elongated beard are the only portions of this medallion not covered by gold plating. This medallion is believed to be 40 millimeters (1.575 inches) tall and 30 mm (1.181 in) wide.

    I keep saying "believed to be" because there is not enough conclusive information that I can find about this medallion. Additionally, images and for-sale postings featuring this coin are hard to find and are infrequent. Therefore, this Money and Geography post will keep this medallion online for your viewing pleasure for many years! One tidbit of info that is conclusive is that the reverse side of this medallion features the mighty Pyramids of Giza, located in northeastern Egypt about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) southwest of the national capital Cairo.

    Do you know more information that you would like to share about this medallion or coin? Please let me know by posting a comment; thank you so much!

    * Shown in the bottom-left Eastern Arabic numerals: ۱۹۷۹
    The year 1979 translates to 1399 (۱۳۹۹) in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar.

    Tutankhamen digital illustration

    November 30, 2018

    The Making of Singapore Lunar Year Coins

    An island country nestled between Indonesia and Malaysia in the South China Sea, SINGAPORE proposed a lunar-year coin series lasting from 2017 to 2028. The Singapore Mint video above shows coin-production processes to create the 2018 Year of the Dog coins, which are crafted in various shapes: 8-wave scallops, octagons, a rectangle with curvy corners, and the typical circle. In case you were interested in starting a set of these coins, below are links to the webpage to buy them and details about the 2019 versions. Money and Geography did not receive revenue for posting these links.

    Singapore Mint brochure for the 2019 Year of the Boar/Pig coins (↗)

    Singapore Mint webpage to buy Lunar Series coins (↗)

    August 3, 2018

    Guatemala Silver Coins

    In the early 1960s, the Republic of GUATEMALA minted silver coins with the denomination of 5, 10, 25, and 50 Centavos. Each coin contains 72% (0.7200) fine silver and prominently depicts the coat of arms on their obverse sides, which includes the Quetzal national bird. In my collection, I have one 5 Centavos coin and a 10 Centavos coin — these are therefore featured below.

    The 10 Centavos coin below was minted in the year 1964 and displays a Monolito de Quiriguá (Quiriguá Monolith), this example likely being the largest ancient monolith or stele in the Western Hemisphere. Located a short distance — about 25 kilometers — west of Honduras in the Izabal Department of eastern Guatemala, the Mayan ruins of Quiriguá stand guard over multiple monoliths, stelae, and stone calendars and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (↗).

    According to the NGC World Coin Price Guide (↗), 965,000 of these coins were minted — fewer than the coins minted in 1960 (1,743,000 coins) and 1961 (2,647,000 coins). Coin values updated in 2018 indicate that a coin in the Fine 12 condition is valued at $2.00 (typo on the webpage), $3.00 for Very Fine 20, and $5.00 for Mint State 60. I know my coin would qualify as a Brilliant Uncirculated one, but do you think this could be graded at Mint State 60 or higher?

    Guatemala 10 Centavos, 1964, Reverse
    1964 Guatemala 10 Centavos silver coin — reverse side

    Guatemala 10 Centavos, 1964, Obverse
    1964 Guatemala 10 Centavos silver coin — obverse side

    The 5 Centavos coin below was minted in the year 1961 and displays a Kapok Tree on the reverse side. Below this towering tree reads the inscription LIBRE CREZCA FECUNDO, a fitting tree-related motto translating to Grow Free and Fertile. According to the NGC World Coin Price Guide (↗), 6,756,000 of the 1961 5 Centavos coins were minted. Contrasting with the 1964-dated coin above, the mint produced more 1961 5 Centavos coins than 1960 and 1964 coins. 4,770,000 coins were minted in 1960, and 1,529,000 coins were minted in 1964.

    Angled photograph of the 1961 Guatemala 5 Centavos silver coin — reverse side

    1961 Guatemala 5 Centavos silver coin — reverse side

    1961 Guatemala 5 Centavos silver coin — obverse side

    Sketch map illustration of Guatemala

    100 Centavos = 1 Quetzal

    ISO 4217 currency code: GTQ

    June 13, 2018

    9 Words for Transnational Currencies

    Merriam-Webster provides a summary (↗) of the world's primary currencies, the words of which are featured in the iconic dictionary. For a quick history lesson and etymology of currencies such as the dinar, dollar, and rupee, access the webpage linked in the first sentence.

    May 6, 2018

    Bosnia and Herzegovina Coin Set

    Back side of the Bosnia and Herzegovina coin set

    Click the images to enlarge them in a pop-up lightbox window.

    This press-sealed coin set features five circulation coins from BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, a southeastern European country established in 1992 after the breakup of Yugoslavia (↗). Four of these coins have an outline of Bosnia and Herzegovina's geographic shape, surrounding the denomination. These coins are the 5 Feninga (2005), 10 Feninga (1998), 20 Feninga (1998), 50 Feninga (1998), and 1 Convertible Marka (Mark) (2002).

    Sketch map illustration of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    100 Feninga (sometimes Pfenigs) = 1 Convertible Marka (Mark)

    ISO 4217 currency code: BAM

    April 4, 2018

    Counterfeit Coins Website

    The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) of the UNITED STATES offers a Counterfeit Detection website (↗) with tips on how to notice fake coins and to avoid purchasing or acquiring them. There is succinct information about the various types of counterfeiting: altered dates, altered mintmarks, cast, electrotypes, spark-erosion, and transfer-die. Counterfeit coins tend to have grainy texture, a worn polished surface, unnatural-looking luster, and/or weak details that cannot be explained by wear. Authentic coins with worn-down surfaces tend to have dirt, marks, etc. that give you an indication that a coin is real — but nevertheless has "seen better days" in the past decades or centuries.

    If a coin has a clean, shiny surface but with worn features, this may or may not be a counterfeit coin. The best bet is to buy coins certified by coin-grading organizations, such as NGC, CAC, PGS, ANACS, and ICG. NGC also provides recent news regarding counterfeit coins (↗). Countries represented in the list of top-25 counterfeit world coins (non-US) include ERITREA, GREAT BRITAIN (United Kingdom), ITALY, JAPAN, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, and VIETNAM.

    January 3, 2018

    Coins with Fish

    Ten coins from the Bahamas, East Timor, Guernsey, Iceland, Laos, Namibia, Seychelles, Saint Helena and Ascension, Sierra Leone, and Slovenia with aquatic life (crabs, fish, etc.) on them

    As evident in the Coins with Birds (↗) post and the relevant webpages on Daniel's Coin Zoo, it is easy to compile a low-cost coin collection regarding a particular animal. While mammals appear on about half of animal-featuring coins according to Daniel's Coin Zoo, coins with aquatic life are comparatively small in number but are certainly worthwhile to find. The Daniel's Coin Zoo (↗) website comprehensively lists virtually all coins with fish and other aquatic organisms. This post highlights several coins in my collection:

    THE BAHAMAS 1 Cent (1998) coin features a red cushion starfish (West Indian sea star).

    • The EAST TIMOR (Timor-Leste) 1 Centavo (2004) coin features a nautilus.

    • The GUERNSEY 1 Penny (1998) coin features a spider crab.

    • The ICELAND 1 Króna (1999) coin features an Atlantic cod.

    • The LAOS 50 Att (1980) coin features a carp fish. Details about this coin are found on its own Money & Geography post (↗).

    • The NAMIBIA 5 Cents (2000) coin features a horse mackerel. Details about this coin are found on its own Money & Geography post (↗).

    • The SEYCHELLES 1 Cent (1997) coin features a mud crab.

    • The ST. HELENA AND ASCENSION 1 Penny (1997) features a yellowfin tuna.

    • The SIERRA LEONE 10 Leones (1996) coin features bonga shad fish.

    • The SLOVENIA 1 Tolar (1995) coin features brown trout. Details about this coin are found on its own Money & Geography post (↗).

    December 14, 2017

    Cambodia 10 Sen Coin, 1959

    Cambodia 10 Sen coin, 1959
    Click the image to enlarge it in a pop-up lightbox window.

    Minted for the Royaume du Cambodge (Kingdom of CAMBODIA) and engraved by Lucien Georges Bazor at the Paris Mint, this ornate 10 Sen/Sén coin features a bird statue facing left. Coins featuring statues tend to depict a landmark statue located at a particular place. However, coin descriptions for the 1959-dated 10 Sen coin just note it as a "bird statue facing left." The armored bird does resemble Hong golden swan statues, which are even used for streetlights or lantern hangers in Cambodia's neighbor to the northwest: Thailand. Some traditional Khmer boats/canoes have bird heads at the bow. Were there once bird statues at Angkor Wat — a world-renown ancient Buddhist/Hindu temple near the city of Siem Reap — resembling this design? This could be possible as Angkor Wat and other Cambodian temples experienced far too many thefts. Fortunately, these coins remain in existence to display this stunningly stoic artwork.

    Here are the approximate coin values corresponding to condition, according to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation's World Coin Price Guide (↗): a Very Fine (VF) 20 coin is worth 10 cents USD, an Extra Fine (XF) 40 coin is worth 20 cents, a Mint State (MS) 60 coin is worth $1.00 USD, and a Mint State (MS) 63 coin is worth $1.50. I am not much of an experienced coin grader, but I believe my coin (pictured above) is possibly Mint State 60 to 62 — or even higher? Made of aluminum and weighing 1.3 grams, 1 million (1,000,000) coins were minted. The 10 Sen coin has a diameter of 23 millimeters.

    100 Sen = 1 Riel (៛)
    Geographic Information about Cambodia
    ↗ (GeoFact of the Day)

    October 6, 2017

    Currency Symbols: Which are the Newest?

    These currency symbols are visible on my computer and most other people's electronic devices: ؋‏, ฿, ¢, ₡, ₵, $, ₫, €, ƒ, ₲, ₾, ₴, ₭, ₺, ₼, ₥, ₦, ₱, £, ރ ,៛ ,﷼, ₽, ₨, ௹, ₹, ৲, ৳, ૱, ₪, ₸, ₮, ₩, and ¥.* Four of these symbols are the newest additions to Unicode — the mechanism to display characters on digital devices — and in the world. Can you guess what they are? If not, they are conveniently listed multiple spaces down. Which currency symbols are your favorite ones? Let me know with a comment below!

    ... further down ...

    ... a little bit more ...

    ... here they are!

    Azerbaijani Manat currency symbol

    ₼ — Azerbaijani Manat
    Introduced in 2006, was not added to Unicode until 2013

    Georgian Lari currency symbol

    ₾ — Georgian Lari
    Introduced in 2014

    Russian Ruble currency code

    ₽ — Russian Ruble
    Introduced in 2013

    Turkish Lira currency code

    ₺ — Turkish Lira
    Introduced in 2012

    * For a complete list of currencies corresponding with each symbol, consult the Currency Symbols page on Wiktionary (↗).

    August 1, 2017

    Romania 100 Lei Coin, 2017

    Romania 100 Lei coin from 2017, celebrating bilateral relations of Romania and the United States

    FRANCE is known for donating the fascinating Statue of Liberty to the UNITED STATES — and therefore includes this landmark on commemorative coins in years past. This year, a country at the other side of Europe allows this monument to grace a Proof (mirror-like) gold coin. ROMANIA's 90%-gold 100 Lei coin features Lady Liberty with plenty of eye-pleasing space around her.

    The inscription around the rim reads Parteneriatui Strategic 🗽* Romania-Statele Unite ale Americii, which translates to the Romania-United States of America Strategic Partnership. In other words, this coin celebrates the beginning of more-cordial relations between Romania and the USA starting in 1997. 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton visited Romania and the Eastern European country became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

    Fittingly, these 250 coins (quite rare) were released on July 3rd, only one day before the USA's Independence Day. Opposite the Statue of Liberty on the 100 Lei coin is another architectural wonder, the doubled Cernavodă Bridge which hovers over the Danube river in southeastern Romania. "Floating" in the sky above the bridge is Romania's coat of arms. More information about this coin can be found in this Coin World post (↗), the credited source for the images and some info above.

    * This is a computer symbol ("emoji") representing the Statue of Liberty. It might show up as an outlined rectangle, depending on your browser.

    June 2, 2017

    Mauritania 100 Ouguiya Banknote

    Mauritania 100 Ouguiya banknote (2001)

    This 100 Ouguiya banknote was printed and distributed in 2001 by the Central Bank of MAURITANIA (French: Banque Centrale de Mauritanie). All 100 Ouguiya banknotes display the November 28th series date (28. 11. 2001). 1 Ouguiya equals 5 Khoums. In terms of legal tender, coins with the Khoums denomination — there were never any Khoums banknotes — are generally considered obsolete and rarely used for monetary transactions. Basic geographic facts about Mauritania can be found in the short-and-sweet GeoFact of the Day post (↗).

    What's on the Money?
    This banknote's obverse side is devoid of object illustrations but chock full of colorful, ornamental arabesque designs. Hassānīya Arabic text spells out Central Bank of Mauritania at the top, while Eastern Arabic numerals display the 100 denomination. The banknote's reverse depicts two West-African musical instruments, a grazing cow, and the Chinguetti Mosque in the background. The bottom-left instrument is known as the ardin, while the crossbow-looking instrument is called the kora ("African harp"). A component of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (↗), Chinguetti Mosque is located in the namesake town of Chinguetti (population: ~5,000) in north-central Mauritania. Above the mosque is a textbox with the following admonishment: Les auteurs ou complices de falsification ou de contrefaçon de billets de banque seront punis conformement aux lois et actes en vigueur. This is the English meaning of the counterfeit-thwarting statement: The perpetrators or accomplices of falsification or counterfeiting of banknotes will be punished in accordance with the laws and acts in force.

    April 27, 2017

    Niger Meteorite Coin

    Niger meteorite coin — 1000 Francs CFA, year 2016
    Click the image to enlarge it in a pop-up lightbox window.

    Pertaining to the second-to-latest post, BURKINA FASO is not the only country to issue a meteorite-themed silver coin in 2016 with the same 1000 Francs CFA denomination! While Burkina Faso's coin commemorates the meteorite of Château-Renard in FRANCE, neighboring NIGER's coin displays a pictorial scene closer to home. This coin shows the Mount Tazerzait meteorite zipping through the sky on Wednesday, August 21st, 1991 near Tahoua, Niger. With a population currently at about 125,000, Tahoua is a city located about 230 miles and 370 kilometers east of Niamey (Niger's capital) and at the southern fringe of the Sahara Desert. Mt. Tazerzait boasted a total weight of approximately 100 kilograms and 220.5 lbs before its discoverers hammered the humongous meteorite into smaller fragments.

    Original coin images (before editing) come from First Coin Company (↗). This coin was minted by the MCI Mint (↗) of Kabelsketal, GERMANY.

    March 31, 2017

    Bimetallic Coins Website

    You may have seen some Money and Geography posts pertaining to Bimetallic Coins (↗), but there is an entire comprehensive website I recently discovered devoted to this type of coinage. The World Bimetallic Coin News (↗) website includes transparent PNG images, new coin releases, and extensive details of practically every legal-tender bimetallic coin in the world. Information on this website and its corresponding catalog publication includes the coins' denomination, year, metallic composition of the ring(s) and center disk, size and thickness, numismatic values, and Krause-Mishler (KM) catalog numbers.

    The webpage links below are particularly useful pages within the WBCN website. If you access the Bimetallic Coin Collection Manager webpage, there is a Download button allowing you to save a copy of an Excel file to your computer or device. This document allows you to track which coins you have and subsequently discover the value of your bimetallic coin collection. Even after only a day, I consider WBCN as one of my favorite numismatic websites — I hope you agree. By the way, this post is not a paid advertisement!

    Alphabetical country index (↗)

    Search for coins by continent (↗)

    Collection manager (↗)

    World Bimetallic Coin Catalog (↗) (includes a catalog preview)

    The previous web address for World Bimetallic Coin News was www.worldbcnews.com.

    March 29, 2017

    Burkina Faso Meteorite Coin

    Burkina Faso meteorite coin — 1000 Francs CFA, year 2016
    Click the image to enlarge it in a pop-up lightbox window.

    The afternoon of June 12th, 1841 in Château-Renard village — which, FYGI (for your geographic information), is located in present-day Loire department in FRANCE's Centre-Loire Valley region — was supposed to be like any other. However, a stony chondrite meteorite decided to drop near this community, and its 30-kilogram (66-pound) mass shattered into smaller fragments. Fortunately, no human injuries or deaths (but what about insects?) were reported with this incident, and multiple remnants of the meteorite were collected and studied.

    The Château-Renard meteorite is definitely not one of the largest meteorites to impact Earth — one from Namibia boasts a weight of 66 tons! Nevertheless, the meteoritic pieces are worthwhile enough to stick on 1000 Francs CFA coins issued by the MCI Mint on behalf of BURKINA FASO (West Africa, southeast of Mali). Comprised of silver in a patinaed antique finish, these 2016-dated coins actually have a meteorite fragment embedded on it! A 1-gram piece of the historic meteorite is valued at $300. The coins typically sell anywhere from $175 to $300 — a pretty great deal considering the history and value connected to them.

    Original coin images (before editing) come from First Coin Company (↗). This coin was minted by the MCI Mint (↗) of Kabelsketal, GERMANY.

    January 29, 2017

    Libya 1/4 Dinar Banknote

    Displaying a rather interesting denomination, the undated 1/4 Dinar banknote from LIBYA in North Africa was first issued in 2002. The banknote's obverse (front) side centrally shows the Arch of Tiberius, located in the Leptis Magna ancient Roman city. The arch and UNESCO-designated site (↗) are found near the Mediterranean Sea coast of Libya in Al Khums (Khoms) city. Palm trees and fortified walls grace the banknote's reverse (back) side, illustrating the Murzuq Fortress in southwestern Libya. One Libyan Dinar equals 1000 Dirhams, and the ISO 4217 currency code is LYD. Other countries using the Dinar currency are as follows: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia (Denar), Serbia, and Tunisia. Basic geographic facts about Libya can be found on GeoFact of the Day (↗).

    Rwanda 100 Francs Banknote (2003)

    Rwanda 100 Francs banknote from 2003

    This 100 Francs banknote from RWANDA in East Africa was first printed on January 5th, 2003. This banknote's obverse (front) side features the French name of the National Bank of Rwanda (Banque Nationale du Rwanda), while the reverse (back) side shows the Kinyarwanda (Rwandan) translation. Other versions on banknotes.com and worldbanknotegallery.com features both English and French names. Rwanda's largest lake — Lake Kivu (↗) — and surrounding rugged terrain are prominently featured on the reverse side. As of the last day in 2009, the 100 Francs banknote is no longer legal tender nor in circulation. Basic geographic facts about Rwanda can be found on GeoFact of the Day (↗).

    January 18, 2017

    Tanzania 20 Shilingi Banknote (1987)

    Like the Burundi banknote featured in Money & Geography's previous post, the neighboring Republic of TANZANIA's 20 Shilingi (Shilling) banknote features a blank outline map of the country. Geographic features shown on this banknote include Lake Malawi (Nyasa) (south), Lake Tanganyika (west), Lake Victoria (north), Pemba island (northeast), and Zanzibar island (south of Pemba). The 20 Shilingi banknote does not include a date on it. While the Burundi banknote is arguably bland, this one boasts some pops of color on the front side — with vibrant dark red and purplish hues encircling President Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-1995). By the way, Mwinyi is still living at 91 years old. Basic geographic facts about Tanzania can be found on the GeoFact of the Day Blog.

    Tanzania 20 Shilling or Shilingi banknote from 1987

    Burundi 10 Francs Banknote (1991)

    This 10 Francs banknote from the Republic of BURUNDI features a stylized map outline of Burundi, surrounding the relatively tiny country's coat of arms. Pictured below, my banknote is from the year 1991. I also have one from 1989, and both banknotes have the same designs on both sides. Unity, Work, and Progress are written in the French (Unite - Travail - Progres) and Kirundi (Ubumwe - Ibikorwa - Amajambere) languages, both of which are official languages in Burundi. Basic geographic facts about Burundi can be found on the GeoFact of the Day Blog.

    Burundi 10 Francs banknote from 1991

    December 18, 2016

    French Coin Celebrates 70th Anniversary of Peace after World War II

    France 2 Euro coin (year 2015) celebrating the 70th Anniversary of World War II's end — original image (without PNG modification) from Coin World

    On February 2nd, 2015, the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) of FRANCE first released a circulating commemorative 2 Euro (€2) coin celebrating the 70th (seventieth) anniversary of World War II's peaceful aftermath. The obverse design clearly depicts a dove with an olive branch, but this branch contains stars rather than leaves. These stars — as well as the ones along this coin's cupronickel (copper-nickel) rim — represent the original twelve European Union member-countries. Above the dove is a funnel-shaped collection of each European Union country's abbreviations, which are two-lettered ISO country codes. Superimposed on the dove is the abbreviation RF, standing for République Français (French Republic). A comprehensive and convenient overview about France can be found in GeoFact of the Day's France post. The original coin illustration used for Money & Geography's image above was derived from Coin World (coinworld.com). What are your thoughts about this coin design? Feel free to sound off in the Comments section right below this sentence!

    Blog Content

    Unless credits are given to another source, all banknote and coin images on the Money & Geography Blog have been taken by me. If you wanted to use an image for a website or another medium, not a problem...please write a comment (include the website, etc. that you plan to use it on) to ask for permission. Thanks for visiting!

    Money and Geography ... since 2009!

    Money and Geography ... since 2009!