The 11th Media Forum hosted by the World Money Fair and guest hosted by the Royal Australian Mint kicked off last Friday, moments after the official opening of the Fair itself by WMF Board Presidents Dr. Albert Beck & Hans-Henning Gohrum along with RAM CEO Ross McDairmid. Attendees were treated to an authentic Didgeridoo player who got everyone all in the mood for the coming weekend of activity with a hint of real “down under” hospitality.
Addressed by WMF President Hans-Henning Gohrum, he highlighted two aspects of the Media Forum’s presentation, that it was the 11th year of the Forum associated with the WMF, and the WMF itself was marking its tenth year in Berlin and its home – the Estrel Convention Centre. This year, 18 presenters highlighted their 2015 schedule with the Central Bank of Ireland participating for the first time.
With additional comments by RAM CEO Ross McDairmid, the presentations got off to an energetic start with the Royal Australian Mint’s own presentation highlighting the new coins for 2015 as well as marking their 50th anniversary this year as an independent Mint. One particular item both launched and featured was the four coin silver crown set which marks the centennial year of the battle of Gallipoli. The coins included, one crown from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and Turkey pays tribute to each country and the soldiers who played such an important part in this battle which cost the lives of so many allied fighting men. The coin set was unveiled during a reception hosted by the Royal Australian Mint in which a set was presented to representatives from all four countries included in the set.
Here are some of the highlights introduced during the afternoon’s presentation:
EUROPA Star series were the first with a presentation from a representative of the Monnaie de Paris outlining the 2015 series and listing the participant Mints/countries. This year’s theme is the fact that since the cessation of hostilities ending the Second World War, Europe as a whole has enjoyed and benefited from 70 years of peace, one of the longest stretches of peacetime on the continent. Nine countries in total will issue a coin for this occasion and some of them were on show for the forum.
Lithuania, the latest country to adopt the EURO single currency were the first to discuss their issuing schedule after the guest host RAM. A new gold 50 Euro coin marking the minting of historical coins in what was once the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, this coin was launched during the World Money Fair and is the first coin to be denominated in Euro’s for Lithuania. A silver coin within the UNESCO world heritage sites highlights the Struve Geodetric Arc which is scheduled to be launched in the latter half of 2015.
Japan, who embarked on an ambitious color silver crown series highlighting all 47 Japanese prefectures, continues their successful and popular series with the issue of three more coins in the series. Yamaguchi, Tokushima and Fukuoka join the series during the first half of 2015 with Chiba, Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki color crowns being issued in the second half. The overall series concludes next year with the last two coins, for Toyko and Fukushima.
Nature, wildlife and Mandela feature prominently in South Africa’s new coins with a new series of gold coins featuring the reptiles of South Africa. Another new series, featuring Train travel in South Africa launches with a coin depicting one of the country’s first steam engines.
The Swiss Mint will be launching a charming coin which features one of the country’s more endearing traditions, that of the descent from the Alpine pastures. A coin which pays tribute to the world’s first ever airplane flown entirely by solar power will be featured on a 20 Franc silver coin. A special anniversary is observed this year which recognizes the 2000th year of settlement in what is today Switzerland but what was once known as the Roman province of Aventicum.
During the Royal Mint’s presentation, it was announced – much to the pleasure of many in the audience that the mythical figure of Britannia – will be returning to circulating British coinage. The figure was retired in 2008 with the issue of new reverse designs and the 50 pence coin, where Britannia had been depicted was included in those new designs. Britannia from this year will grace the reverse of the UK’s highest denominated coin, the £2 piece. Just before the start of the WMF, it was also announced that the 5th effigy of the Queen will be unveiled on the 2nd March and from this date, circulation coins will include the new portrait thus making 2015 a year of dual portraits.
Canada are looking to their beautiful wildlife for inspiration with the launch of a new $20 silver coin which highlights some of their sportfish. Gold bullion coins will see the issue of a new ounce coin featuring the cougar. Canoe travel is also a featured on a new silver coin of $10.
Spain and the Casa Real de la Moneda highlighted their new “EUROPA” commemorative coins which mark 70 years of Peace in Europe, the design depicting a stylized dove on both the gold and silver issues. The announcement from the FNMT of their first colored silver coin within their “Treasures of Spanish Museums” series III was met with great interest, notably for the work of art to be depicted.
Austria announced the issue of their latest bi-metallic silver & niobium color-shifting coin with the theme of space travel. Of particular interest was the upcoming issue of a silver coin marking the 450th anniversary of Vienna’s world famous Equestrian Ballet academy or, the Royal Lipizzaners.
Among some of the extraordinary coins discussed during the forum, Italy highlighted a series of silver coins dedicated to the “Italy of Arts” series, the latest silver coin will be issued featuring the Riace Bronze statues found in Calabria. Italy announced they will participate in the EUROPA series and will issue a silver coin depicting a female figure along with a symbolic dove. Neo-classical art features on a new €20 Euro gold coin depicting a female figure in the style so familiar on Italian coinage – a timeless design!
Portugal will feature their unique musical style, “O Fado” on their UNESCO series. A silver coin depicts the guitar, so much a part of the romantic and expressive style of music which is identified with this the western-most country on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal will also participate in this year’s EUROPA series with the issue of a silver coin. Another series which Portugal often participates in is the “Ibero-American series” in which countries in Latin America as well as Portugal and Spain in Europe collaborate in various themes common to the peoples of the Ibero and American nations. This year “Cultural Roots” takes pride of place with a coin from Portugal depicting a stylized horseman carrying a shield.
Ireland, who presented for their first time at the WMF forum, discussed the upcoming coin program for 2016 when they will embark on a series of coins marking the upcoming centennial of Irish independence. For 2015, the CBI will take part in the EUROPA series with the issue of a silver crown which blends both the traditional symbol of peace, the dove – along with traditional Celtic art. A coin will also be issued celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of well-known Irish author W B Yeats.
These are just some of the coins, projects, series and programs mentioned during the Media forum, CoinUpdate.com will have further information on all of these coins as they are issued during the year.