For many, the festive season is synonymous with celebrations, gift-giving, family, and friends, as well as a well-deserved lengthy break from work responsibilities. Of course, the solemnity of the meaning of Christmas and welcoming the New Year can sometimes become lost in all of the preparations and stress which goes with planning the festivities. Despite a personal promise often made to keep the stress, cost, and plans to a minimum, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying “the best-laid plans of mice and men.”
As 2022 draws to a close, it would be impossible not to mention the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in September. In the United Kingdom and many countries in the Commonwealth, the year began with a lot of enthusiasm as the Queen was poised to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years as Head of State. She had attained many milestone anniversaries during her lifetime, such as the longest-lived British monarch, the longest-married and, of course, the longest-reigning sovereign, which meant she was also the world’s longest-serving head of state. The United Kingdom and Commonwealth had anticipated a year-long celebration of this anniversary and were looking forward to the Coronation anniversary in 2023. Despite the Queen’s advanced age, she turned 96 years old in April, and many of us were stunned when we learned of her death. The news services distributed an image of the Queen accepting the credentials of the new Prime Minister Liz Truss, at Balmoral, Scotland, just two days before her death. She did appear quite frail in contrast to an exuberant-looking Queen during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations three months earlier. After her death, the transition from one monarch to another commenced in earnest, something the country had not experienced since 1952. Time waits for no man, and within three weeks of the Queen’s death, royal monograms and coin effigies, as well as the date for the new King’s coronation, were unveiled.
Another aspect of 2022 which deserves attention is the incredibly sad and critical note as next February will see one year of hostilities, a war on the continent of Europe. Aside from the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, a conflict between nations has not occurred in Europe since the end of the Second World War, but it became reality once more with an invasion of Ukraine. Many mints and central banks have shown solidarity with the Ukrainian government and people with the release of coins and medals focusing on the plight of Ukraine. Most of which was released to raise funds for humanitarian relief or simply bring attention to the kind of aggression many had thought would never be seen again in this part of the world. The last coin releases from Ukraine’s National Bank and published here marks the agreement between Kyiv and Brussels to join the European Union reached on the 22nd June of this year. Full membership is far in the future, but with the cessation of hostilities and countries once again respecting international boundaries in Europe, Ukraine’s joining the EU is something both Kyiv and Brussels have made commitments to see happen. 2023 looks to be an eventful year for many countries, and as always, those anniversaries and events marked by special coin releases will be covered here:
Croatia — From the 1st January, Croatia becomes the 20th member of the eurozone when they adopt the single currency and officially retire the kuna, in use since 1994.
France — Notable anniversaries in France, for instance, will be the 350th anniversary of the death of Molière, playwright, actor, and poet, as well as the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel. The Summer Olympic Games will be hosted in Paris in 2024, and it is expected additional coins marking the event will be issued in 2023.
Germany — Among the many notable events marked in Germany will be the 400th anniversary of Wilhelm Schickard’s calculator apparatus, which was capable of multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. It is the earliest known mechanical four-function calculator.
The Berlin Airlift, 1948-2023 — Many who are aware of significant dates pertaining to the Second World War will know 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. This action was a test of wills between the three Allies, who continued to work together against the spread of communism supported by the former USSR. After Germany and Berlin had been partitioned into sectors occupied by the four Allied forces, a quarter of Germany and Berlin were controlled by Moscow. As the Kremlin and Stalin had opposed the creation of a West German state, their army blocked all rail, road, and water access to Allied-controlled parts or three-quarters of Berlin, cutting off two-and-a-half million Berliners from the West. The Allies’ response was to essentially airlift provisions to West Berliners for nearly one year until the USSR finally capitulated and ended the blockade. It is possible several countries may commemorate this significant anniversary.
United Kingdom — Aside from the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, which will take place on the 6th May, notable anniversaries may be commemorated on British coinage in 2023. Next year, for instance, will mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Adam Smith, the economist and philosopher who is known as “The Father of Capitalism” and who was depicted on British £20 notes from 2007 to 2020. Next year also sees the 50th anniversary of the death of English author J. R. R. Tolkien, well known for writing The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.
Sweden — His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf will celebrate his Golden Jubilee. The actual anniversary occurs on the 15th September.
Canada — 2023 will mark important anniversaries in Canada; notable will be the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Yukon Territory as well as the 150th anniversary of Prince Edward Island joining Confederation. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will also celebrate their 150th anniversary of formation in May 1873
Chile — The Pan American Games will be staged in the country’s capital city of Santiago from the 20th October to the 5th November.
Australia — It is very likely there will be collector coins marking one of the country’s most recognisable landmarks as the Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th anniversary.
In terms of other international anniversaries, 2023 will be the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed on the 10th December, 1948. Similarly, the founding of the World Health Organization will also mark its 75th anniversary.
As far as technical achievements are concerned, it’s hard to believe, but 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the first handheld cellular or mobile phone call. Just where would we be without our mobile and cellular phones? I think I’ll leave that question for our readers to ponder at leisure.
Speaking of Berlin, next February will see the return of the World Money Fair as an in-person show for the first time since the pandemic affected most of our lives in 2020. The organisers, many participants and attendants are understandably looking forward to reconnecting with each other and comparing notes to their experiences during the last three years of the perils of COVID-19 and its effect on world coin collecting.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to all of our dedicated and loyal readers. As always, it has been my genuine pleasure to bring our readers information on the latest coin releases worldwide. Your comments and advice have both inspired and compelled us all to take note of concerns and trends, and we thank you for your valuable input. On behalf of everyone here at Coin Update and World Mint News Blog, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Here’s looking forward to amazing stories and articles in 2023!
Michael Alexander, President
London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.