Arbua Shoco Owl Silver Coin with Augmented Reality

The Royal Dutch Mint, on behalf of the Banco Central di Aruba, have announced the issue next month of their new 5 florin silver collector’s coin which will depict an Island favorite of Aruba’s wildlife – the “Shoco” owl.

The shoco or to use it’s proper name, Athene cunicu-laria arubensis known as the Aruban burrowing owl, is a tiny but long-legged bird found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. This particular variety is one of two known species of bird to only inhabit the island of Aruba. Arubans commonly refer to this unusual feathered resident as “Shoco” who can be seen in its native habitat at the Arikok National Park, located on the south west coast, this sanctuary takes up approximately 18 percent of the island.

Of greater interest regarding this coin is that this new commemorative coin is the very first in the world with Augmented Reality, which is added reality or virtual reality. An extra layer of information on the coin is applied which cannot be seen without the help of a Smartphone device. When you scan the coin, objects which were not there before will appear. You can click on these and, in this case, enter the world of the “Shoco” owl.

Struck by the Royal Dutch Mint in Utrecht, they are the first mint in the world to add this technique to a commemorative coin. The coat of arms which appears on the reverse side is produced using the technique “Minted Photo Image” (MPI), resulting in a different look to other 5 Florin coins issued in the past. Struck in sterling silver to proof quality, the coin weighs 11.9 grams and has a diameter of 29 mm. Coins ordered now will be available for dispatch from early August.

* Augmented reality (AR) direct or indirect view whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. To experience the added application, you need to download the latest version on the Layar application which is free. Open the Layar application. Scan the coin, tap to view and the buttons with additional options will appear. Please note that the AR will only be functional by scanning the coin itself and it will only be active from the 1st of August onwards.

For more information on Aruban and other coins offered by the Royal Dutch Mint, please visit their website at: (in Dutch language only)


  1. Louis says

    Hi Michael,

    So we need to have a scanner like on a fax-copy-scan machine that is connected to our computer?

  2. M Alexander says

    Hello Louis,

    Well – as I understand, the coin comes to life, that is, the owl has movement as such when viewed through a smartphone or android with the specific application which can be downloaded free of charge. If you look up “layar” and download the application then scan the coin… magic!

    Anyone who does try this, We’d love to hear from them, I’ll try to get the Royal Dutch Mint to add some extra notes here.

    M Alexander

  3. Louis says

    Thanks, Michael. I don’t have a smartphone, but it does sound cool. The Dutch have done this before. A few years ago there was a coin that had a similar feature that I believe dealt with art or architecture.

  4. CoolCoins says

    They issued in 2011 the world’s first coin with a QR code which was able to be scanned by mobile phones and display extra info. This time is the world’s first Augmented Reality coin. I think this technology uses image recognition through your mobile phone and displays extra interactive info on top of the coin or some other features as 3d stuff, animations, videos, etc…sounds cool !!!

  5. M Alexander says

    Exactly, well put and explained!

    Yes, the Dutch Royal Mint did include a QR application last year which made mainstream news headlines, let’s see if they are as successful with garnishing headlines with this coin as the first technological numismatic first.

    M Alexander

  6. says

    The onscreen image is good enough to for layar to recognise the image and put up a pointer to the untranslated Dutch website. What an interesting technology.

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