Yes, here we are, the holiday season is upon us once again and like many of my colleagues and associates, the same comment seems to be repeated over and over, “I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner,” or words to that effect. For me, it’s the best time of year, as I happen to love the winter season and the big holiday break which I hope many of you will also have the chance to enjoy. Perhaps the year whizzing by is a good indication that 2023 was quite busy, eventful, and that the industry is returning more to the way it was before the pandemic. For many, the business year began with the New York International Numismatic Convention in January and a month later those same dealers, mints, and industry VIPs made their way to the World Money Fair in Berlin for a slightly reduced itinerary but with a very impressive turnout, resulting in plenty of encouragement and optimism. A lot of new coin releases were introduced in 2023 by countless world mints which is also an indication the coin-collecting world is returning to normal in terms of projects and mintage numbers. The unsettling economic and political conditions took their toll with public confidence worldwide and gold, silver, and platinum seemed to be the way to go in terms of investment. Both bullion-related coins and simple bars or ingots were being snapped up whenever and wherever possible which of course drove up their spot prices. At the same time, high-value legacy coins also saw increased interest with both investors and coin collectors, these items being seen as a safe haven in the long term.
Speaking of bullion-related coins, in October, the industry was justly taken aback with the announcement that after 58 years in business, the Pobjoy Mint was closing its doors and its CEO Taya Pobjoy was retiring after more than 30 years at the helm. Pobjoy’s brand for collector and bullion coins was recognised far and wide and it’s unlikely that anyone’s modern coin collection doesn’t include at least one Pobjoy-struck coin. At the close of November, Pobjoy’s website included only a tribute to the Mint’s 58 years of innovative minting and accolades, with all coins and numismatic products gone for good. Another permanent closure, though perhaps not as notable, was the announcement also in October when the Royal Danish Mint posted information that after 2023, no further collector coin Proof or mint sets would be produced, owing to their lack of demand. Though the Royal Danish Mint ceased operations in 2018, their brand still represented a thousand years of numismatic heritage and to see them disappear from the industry truly meant the end of an era.
On a bright note, the Royal Mint completed the transition of the country’s circulation coinage from that of the late Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III with the launch of new reverse designs. Following on from a varied set of coins to mark the King’s coronation earlier in the year, the new designs take a nod from conservation, which is a subject of importance to the newly crowned King. Featuring images of flora and fauna which represent wildlife from all four constituent kingdoms within Great Britain, the first coins were struck and dated 2023. After a lengthy delay, Australia and Canada finally unveiled new effigies portraying King Charles III, both countries had taken to using a memorial obverse of the late Queen Elizabeth II for all of 2023 which included adding years of her reign in the design.
As we look to the new year, 2024 will prove to be quite eventful as plenty of worldwide attention will be focused on France as they host the Summer Olympiad for the third time since 1900 and 1924. The games are expected to be one of the most thrilling in recent years as the backdrop will be Paris, the City of Lights, and many landmarks along with other cities in France and the overseas territory of Tahiti. Then, it’s onto Los Angeles in 2028. Notably, in the rest of Europe, there will be a few anniversaries which are sure to be remembered with collector coins. In Portugal, the 50th anniversary of what is remembered as the “Carnation Revolution“ will be celebrated in April. The overthrow of the country’s dictatorship ultimately led to the restoration of democracy. On a similar note, Greece will mark the 50th anniversary of the Third Republic, which was declared in August 1974 with the fall of the military government, in power since 1967. It’s hard to believe but 2024 will also mark the 25th anniversary of the European Union’s single currency known as the euro, which was first introduced as a virtual currency on the 1st January 1999. On a note of technical achievement between the United Kingdom and France, both countries will likely mark the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the opening of the Channel Tunnel in May 1994. Sadly, as Europe, more importantly, Ukraine, enters a second year of Russian invasion and aggression, it seems quite appropriate to mark the 75th anniversary of the creation of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, known as the world’s longest-serving and most successful military alliance in history. The alliance was created to deter the threat of Soviet expansion into Western Europe after the Second World War and now holds the line against Russian aggression and other hostile enemy threats in Europe. Notably in South Africa, the nation will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in May 1994 and the introduction of majority rule.
Despite some of the setbacks experienced in 2023, I’m sure many of us are looking forward to what 2024 has in store. Here at Whitman Publishing, this was an exciting year indeed. In November, it was announced that the Coin Dealer Newsletter, CDN Publishing, acquired Whitman Publishing. For the first time in numismatic history, these storied companies will combine forces to meet the demands and needs in the modern era of collectibles. Quite simply these changes mean that a lot of good things are in store and, as I often say, “Watch this space.”
It’s been my distinct pleasure bringing you, our loyal readers news, information, and over 250 articles this past year and I look forward to bringing you more stories and information next year and beyond. From all of us here at Whitman Publishing, Coin Update, and World Mint News Blog, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you, as always, for your time, attention, and input! We’ll see you in 2024.