United States Mint to release 10-coin set of circulating quarters on November 21

The U.S. Mint will open sales for the 2017 America the Beautiful Quarters Circulating Coin Set (product code 17AC) starting on November 21 at noon Eastern Time (ET).

This year’s set includes 10 circulating quarters — five from the Philadelphia Mint and five from the Denver Mint — with reverse designs honoring Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa), Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Washington, DC), Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Missouri), Ellis Island (New Jersey), and George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (Indiana).

About the United States Mint
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873.  It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce.  The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins.  Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers. The Mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary in 2017 (#USMint225).

United Kingdom: 2018 sovereigns with special privy mark honour 65th anniversary of Queen’s coronation

The Royal Mint has struck a series of gold sovereigns which are specially produced to remember the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s coronation. The celebratory editions of the 2018-dated sovereigns, the “Coins of the Monarch,” feature a special mintmark depicting a royal crown with “65” entwined in the design.

The regal “65” mintmark was specially created for the occasion by Royal Mint coin designers Natasha Preece and Joseph Melia, and can be found as part of Benedetto Pistrucci’s legendary effigy of St. George slaying the dragon on the reverse of this series of sovereign coins. The size, style, and placement of the mark were carefully considered to make sure they complemented Pistrucci’s classic and iconic motif.

The story behind the Pistrucci sovereign has become legendary in British numismatic history, which in 2017 celebrated the 200th year of the introduction of the design for gold, and later, silver coinage. In the early 18th century, the effects of the Napoleonic Wars and a chronic shortage of silver meant that the United Kingdom’s circulating coinage was in poor condition. The Great Re-Coinage Act of 1816 was the result of these financially destructive wars and precipitated the replacement of gold-based coinage, and that of the guinea in circulation since 1663, with new gold and — for the first time since 1787 — silver circulation coins.

The re-coinage and exchange of 1816–17, which introduced or re-instated a gold sovereign equal to 20 shillings and silver crown coins of five shillings, would transform the nation’s economy, resulting in greater scrutiny — as well as greater efficiency — than ever before. The Royal Mint had moved to a new location in Tower Hill, equipped to meet the new demands with modern steam-powered machinery which produced exemplary coinage in terms of quality, design, and security. Alongside this activity, legislation would formalise the gold standard, setting out the coins to be produced and the standards to which they would be struck. The new sovereign (or pound) coin circulated alongside the 21-shilling gold guinea for a time, which was to be expected, but it was essential that the sovereign was distinctive from the existing gold coin.

Hover to zoom.

The chosen reverse design was the instantly recognisable motif of St. George slaying the dragon created by Benedetto Pistrucci, whose work is now acknowledged across the world as a masterpiece. While the sovereign has deviated from the iconic St. George depiction at times, it always returns to this now 200-year-old design.

The sovereign for 2018 will include the additional mink or privy mark of the numeral “65” superimposed over a small depiction of St. Edward’s crown. This very crown was used at the coronation of the Queen on the 2nd June 1953, as the Queen was crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The assembled guests shouted “God save the Queen!” three times at the exact moment St. Edward’s crown touched the monarch’s head. The crown is placed just to the left of the year date which appears under the depiction of St. George on the quarter-, half-, one-, and double-sovereign coins, and on the right side of the year for the £5 gold piece. The obverse of the sovereign coins features the fifth definitive effigy of Her Majesty, created by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark. The effigy was introduced in 2015 and has been used on all British circulation coinage as well as on many collector and commemorative coins since.

Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
Quarter sovereign .9176 Gold 1.99 g 13.5 mm Proof 2,500
Half sovereign .9176 Gold 3.99 g 19.3 mm Proof 2,500
Sovereign .9176 Gold 7.98 g 22.05 mm Proof 10,500
Double sovereign .9176 Gold 15.97 g 28.4 mm Proof *1,500
£5 gold piece .9176 Gold 39.94 g 36.02 mm Proof *750

The 2018 gold Proof £5 coin is available only as part of the Sovereign 2018 Five-Coin Gold Proof Set. The double sovereign is available only as part of the five-, four-, or three-coin Proof set. The quarter-, half-, and one-sovereign coins are available in all options of coin sets, including specially presented three-coin sets, or they can be bought separately. For additional information on these and other coins released by the Royal Mint.

The Genius of Benedetto Pistrucci and His Iconic Design

Benedetto Pistrucci (1783–1855), a native of Rome, Italy, came to London in 1815 under the patronage of the prince-regent, later King George IV. He was relatively unknown in Britain, but his reputation attracted interest and he quickly found sponsors and supporters of his work. Soon after his arrival, his engraving talent was recognised, as he was given the prestigious task of creating the designs for the new gold and silver coins of George III, which were part of the country’s new overhaul of the coinage system that was introduced in 1817.

Pistrucci’s rendition of the story of St. George slaying the dragon has become synonymous with the sovereign. He created an interpretation that defied the medieval image of St. George, instead opting for a more classical or Greek interpretation — bare and muscular — not weighed down with the usual chain mail and armour. The inscription HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE, a Latin motto meaning “Evil unto him that thinks evil of it,” has featured on the coat of the royal arms of the United Kingdom for centuries, encircling the primary motif, and was used on both the gold sovereigns as well as the first year of the new silver crown coin. The motto, which was inscribed on a belt or ribbon motif, was removed after 1821.

As chief medalist, Pistrucci went on to design the portraits of Kings George III and George IV that appeared on gold sovereigns and for the new silver crown of five shillings, among other coins and medals — many considered masterpieces during Pistrucci’s lifetime. He died in 1855 and was buried in Surrey, where his prominent gravestone cites his title as “Her Majesty’s Chief Medallist.”

Australia: Imaginative coin collection features solar system depicted on all denominations

The Royal Australian Mint have released a new 10-coin collection which imaginatively uses all of the current (and two previously circulating) coin denominations to depict the our solar system’s nine planets (including Pluto), plus the sun. Using all six denominations presently in circulation, from the five-cent to the $2 coins, plus the previous one- and two-cent coins (which were officially discontinued in 1992), the design cleverly depicts the various planets which correspond to their size on the largest and smallest coins.

Hover to zoom.

The heavens and planets have fascinated the human race ever since many ancient peoples and civilisations were able to deduce that the celestial bodies were, in fact, part of one solar system, and that their own planet was part of a vast world which had been previously considered the home of the gods. Myths, stories, and superstitions prevailed about the heavens in ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and South American civilisations. Many myths and legends were devised over the centuries to explain their presence; the planets which appeared as stars were named after the various gods in the Roman and Greek civilisations, and their similarities were astounding between the two peoples.

As the Old and New worlds came together from the 15th century onwards, the world learned that the planets also held a great fascination to the Aztec and Mayan civilisations, whose calendars were astonishingly accurate in terms of predicting eclipses, measuring the time in which the earth revolved around the sun, and documenting the stages of the moon during a year.

This new series brings together a love of coins and a fascination with the wonders of our solar system by highlighting the differences between the various planets using the various sizes and denominations of the coins.

Packed within an information-filled pop-up book which features colour printing and a special bimetallic coin to represent Saturn, the series also brings back two coins which have not been seen in circulation in 25 years. The series is an ideal centrepiece, from the youngest stargazer to the most established astronomer. For additional information on these and other coins offered by the Royal Australian Mint.

Latvia: Historic regions feature on new €2 commemorative coins

Background photo by Gatis Pāvils.

The Bank of Latvia have issued (14th November) two 2-euro commemorative coins dedicated to the historic provinces of Kurzeme and Latgale. Since the re-establishment of Latvian independence in 1991, the division of Latvia into cultural and historical regions of Vidzeme, Latgale, Kurzeme, and Zemgale is stipulated by article three of the Satversme, or the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia.

For the Bank of Latvia’s contribution to national celebrations of the centenary of its first declaration of independence in 1918, four €2 commemorative coins featuring the coat of arms of Latvia’s cultural and historical regions will be issued by the end of 2018. The symbols incorporated into the crests, or coat of arms, established by the Regulations on Coats of Arms of Latvia’s Regions, adopted on the 26th April 1930, in accordance with article 81 of the Satversme, are related to historical developments in the present-day territory of Latvia. In 2012, a special law was passed to ensure legal protection of these coats of arms as national symbols.

The coins are produced by the Staatliche Münze Baden-Württemberg, on behalf of the Bank of Latvia, and are designed by artist Laimonis Šēnbergs while the plaster models are created by Jānis Strupulis.

Hover to zoom.

The first coin is dedicated to Kurzeme. The coat of arms of Kurzeme has been carried over from Gotthard Kettler’s coat of arms. He was the first Duke of Kurzeme and Zemgale. The crest includes a lion standing and facing to the right.

The second coin honours Latgale. A standing griffin is depicted facing to the right on a blue background with a sword in its right paw. Images of the coat of arms of Latvia’s cultural and historical regions had not yet been used in coin design until the issue of this new series. The reverse side of the €2 coin is that of the common reverse design used on all currently circulating Euro-zone type coinage. The finely milled edge of both coins features the inscription DIEVS SVĒTĪ LATVIJU (God Bless Latvia), the words separated by stars.

Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€2 Bi-metalic 8.5 g 25.7 mm Uncirculated 500,000
€2 Bi-metalic 8.5 g 25.7 mm Brilliant Unc. 7,000

These coins, featuring the coat of arms of Kurzeme and Latgale, continue the series of 2-euro commemorative coins dedicated to Latvia’s cultural and historical regions. It is one of Latvijas Banka’s contributions to the country’s centenary. A 2-euro commemorative coin with the coat of arms of Vidzeme was issued last year. In the country’s centenary year of 2018, a coin dedicated to Zemgale will conclude the series of coins. The commemorative coins will be produced for both circulation and collector’s pieces.

U.S. Mint launches final America the Beautiful quarter of 2017 near the banks of the Wabash

Hannah Swan, a musician and former Vincennes University student, sings the National Anthem during the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park quarter launch in Vincennes, Indiana. The coin is the 40th release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program. U.S. Mint photo by Jill Westeyn.

The Mint held a ceremony today near the Wabash River in Vincennes, Indiana, to officially launch the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park quarter, the 40th release in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program and the final coin of 2017.

Hover to zoom.

The reverse design featured on this latest quarter depicts George Rogers Clark leading his men through the flooded plains approaching Fort Sackville.

The launch event drew some 1,800 people, including 1,100 school children. The coin forum the preceding evening was attended by 125 people.

“This new coin is a reminder of the unity of effort and spirit that our predecessors embodied and demonstrated,” said Acting Deputy Director David Motl, who represented the Mint. “The foresight, camaraderie, and determination of George Rogers Clark and his men are important examples to all of us as to how individuals from different backgrounds are able to come together, work toward achieving the same objective, and create a lasting impression.”

United States Mint Acting Deputy Director Dave Motl addresses the crowd gathered for the coin forum at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Visitor Center. U.S. Mint photo by Sharon McPike.

Motl shared the stage with a host of other speakers, including park superintendent Frank Doughman and City Council member Dan Ravellette. Regional director Tony Goben, district director Brenda Goff, and district director Carol Jones spoke on behalf of U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, and U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon, respectively.

The George Rogers Clark Fife and Drum group entertains the audience before the November 14, 2017, ceremony to launch the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park quarter. U.S. Mint photo by Sharon McPike.

Additional highlights included performances by the George Rogers Clark Fife and Drum Corps and the Vogel Elementary School Choir, and an appearance by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Frank Morris, who designed the quarter’s reverse. The Mint’s traditional coin exchange of newly minted $10 quarter rolls was held after the ceremony; $42,000 in Philadelphia Mint quarters were exchanged.

Austria: “A Lion in Winter” features on new silver coin released just in time for the holiday season

Background photo by Markus Leupold-Löwenthal.

The Mint of Austria have unveiled the design of their new €5 2018-dated coin which is released in time for the holidays and has become a firm favourite for gift-giving. This year’s festive €5 coin is themed “A Lion in Winter” and takes its inspiration from a motif spanning back some 650 years, where the lustrous head of a lion — its mischievous grin framed by a handsome flowing mane — was traditionally chosen to represent the season of winter. This charming, almost feminine representation of a lion was found on the cover of the oldest book among the millions that make up the impressive collection of the Austrian National Library. Authored by Catholic priest Johannes von Troppau in 1368, the Holy Gospels are transcribed in gold in this wonderful tome alongside detailed illustrations.

Hover to zoom.

The nine-sided, 2018-dated coin is designed by Helmut Andexlinger, Anna Rastl, and Herbert Wähner, and includes a stylised, front-facing image of a lion with its curly mane flowing in every direction. The year of issue, 2018, is placed just below the primary motif. The reverse side includes the coats of arms of the nine federal provinces of Austria.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€5 .925 Silver 7.7 g 28.5 mm Uncirculated 200,000
€5 Copper 8.9 g 28.5 mm Brilliant Unc. 50,000

The New Year coin, which features a different Austrian New Year theme each year, is available in Uncirculated quality and is presented in a colourful blister-pak folder suitable as the perfect gift both for coin collectors or friends and family alike. In addition to the silver version €5 coins, the Lion in Winter holiday coins will be issued in pure copper in Brilliant Uncirculated quality at commercial banks and post offices. For additional information on these and other coins released by the Mint of Austria.

France: Popular “7 Arts” series continues with gold and silver coins featuring the art of French sculptor Auguste Rodin

The Monnaie de Paris has released new coins which are part of their ongoing series entitled “The 7 Arts.” The series focuses on various disciplines in the art world, including: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance, and performance arts such as acting. The series commenced in 2013 with the first set of coins dedicated to dance and featured the extraordinary talents of renowned ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, as well as the architectural masterpiece of the Opéra Garnier.

The year of 2017 also marks the centenary anniversary of the death of Auguste Rodin, the remarkable sculptor who made a great impact in the world of art with masterpieces famous throughout the world such as “The Thinker” and “The Kiss.” On the centenary anniversary of his death, Rodin has been chosen to feature on this year’s “The 7 Arts” set of coins. (Earlier 7 Arts coins honoring Rodin were covered here.)

22-gram .900 silver coin.

The coins in the set share the same obverse and reverse designs, which include 50-euro gold and 10-euro silver pieces that are designed by famed fashion creator Christian Lacroix, artistic adviser to the Monnaie de Paris since 2010. The obverse includes a representation of ”The Thinker,” the masterpiece for which Auguste Rodin is most remembered for. In the background is a depiction of the Biron hostel, where the Rodin Museum is located. It is surrounded by the inscription La Sculpture, evoking one of the seven arts honoured.

The reverse of the coin bears a portrait of Auguste Rodin with the face value and his name. The background is a stone-like surface, representing the feel of stone or rough marble.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€10 .900 Silver 22 g 37 mm Proof 3,000
€50 .999 Gold 7.78 g 22 mm Proof 500

Both coins come as separate purchases and are presented in custom cases with a certificate of authenticity. The very popular series, which began in 2013, will conclude in 2019. For additional information on these and other coins released by the Monnaie de Paris

Latvia: National folklore song “Smith Forges in the Sky” features on latest silver collector coin

Background photo by Algirdas.

The Bank of Latvia have issued (2nd November) a new silver coin which is dedicated to Latvian folk songs, and features some lines from one of them, titled “Smith Forges in the Sky.” The Latvian name for folk songs, “dainas,” is borrowed from Lithuanian and has become a keyword for the folk song tradition and the accomplishments of Krišjānis Barons (1835–1923), as well as a symbol of the Latvian identity. The Cabinet of Folk Songs now forms a part of the Latvian folklore collection and is located at the Latvian National Library. On the flip side, mythical folk songs are still able to inspire and sometimes enable Latvians to look at the world with an almost child-like innocence, as there are good and bad days in life — just like in folk songs.

The drawings depict objects of nature and natural phenomena. As this is a very common motif in folk songs, this particular category of the genre takes up quite a lot of space in Krišjānis Barons Cabinet of Folk Songs, which has been featured on the list of Registered Heritage of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme since 2001.

The song tells the tale of a fierce rider who personifies the element of nature pouring down from the heavens — providing the nourishment required for fertility and prosperity. In the Latvian mythology, this heavenly smith is called “Thunder” or “Father Thunder,” and he has quite a big family including a mother, daughters, sons, and even a daughter-in-law. Many folk songs mention as many as nine sons of Thunder who also play the pipes and beat the drums. The daughters of Thunder create rain; his wife sifts the rain, but she too can also rumble. Father Thunder can be armed with a sword, a whip, an iron rod, a bolt, an arrow, and a fiery bludgeon. His counterparts in the mythology of other nations are Jupiter, the ancient Roman god, and the mighty Zeus of the ancient Greeks. Thunder was a very popular deity in the present-day territory of Latvia as suggested by, for example, an observation made by the Jesuits of Daugavpils in 1734 describing how mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, was brought to the middle of a field as an offering to the holy Thunder.

Smith forges in the sky,
The coals burst into the Daugava;
I spread my shawl on the ground
And collect a pile of silver.

The coin is struck by the Royal Dutch Mint on behalf of the Bank of Latvia and is designed by Edgars Folks (graphic design) and Ligita Franckeviča (plaster model). The obverse side features a horseman wearing an ethnic outfit at the centre of the coin. His right hand is raised and holding an orb shooting nine lightning bolts in various directions. Clouds and raindrops surround the horse. The inscription KALĒJS KALA DEBESĪS, OGLES BIRA DAUGAVĀ. (Smith forges in the sky, the coals burst into the Daugava.) is arranged in a semi-circle below.

The reverse side features on the upper part images of ethnic Latvian jewelry and raindrops (including a horseshoe fibula, which starred on an issue in the Latvian Gold Brooches series). The inscription 5 EURO and a shawl with a jeweled headpiece are featured in the bottom part, with the inscription of the year 2017 placed to the right. The words ES PAKLĀJU VILLAINĪTI, MAN PIEBIRA SUDRABIŅA. (I spread my shawl on the ground and collect a pile of silver.) is arranged in a semi-circle above the central motif. The coin’s edge is incused with the inscriptions LATVIJAS BANKA and LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA separated by rhombic dots.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€5 .925 Silver 31.4 g 38.6 mm Proof 4,000

From the 2nd November, the coin will be on sale at the Bank of Latvia’s Cashier’s Offices (K. Valdemāra iela 1B in Riga and Teātra iela 3 in Liepāja) as well as online via Latvijas Banka’s website, which offers a wide range of collector coins and other numismatic products issued by the Latvijas Banka. The coin will also be available at traditional points of sale, such as numismatic shops, bookstores, and souvenir and jewelry shops within Latvia.

Thailand: Treasury prepares for new coins and bank notes after late king’s final send-off

The government of Thailand continues to prepare to say their final farewell to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahidol, who passed away on the 13th October 2016 after an astonishing reign of 70 years. The royal treasury of the kingdom are beginning the many preparations of transition, which will include portraits and effigies of the new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, on the country’s next series of bank notes and coins.

At the time of the late king’s death, he was the world’s longest-serving head of state, the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, and the longest-serving monarch to have reigned only as an adult, serving for a total of 70 years and 126 days. The images of the bespectacled King Bhumibol Adulyadej — also referred to as King Rama IX — were included on both bank notes and coins after his accession to the Thai throne in 1946, with the first series being released in 1948. A total of eight series of Baht bank notes and one new commemorative memorial series has been issued since that year. A collection of commemorative Baht bank notes were also issued during King Rama IX’s reign which were in celebration of various royal anniversaries from 1969 to the present. Coins denominated in satang and baht bearing the effigy of the then–19-year-old monarch began to circulate from 1950 onwards. The Royal Thai Mint also issued a variety of commemorative and collector’s coins which marked national and royal anniversaries from 1961 onwards, with the last commemorative coins issued in recognition of King Rama IX’s 70th year of reign in 2016.

In August 2017, the Bank of Thailand announced a new family of bank notes in remembrance of the late King Rama IX which are the same size and dimensions as the “Series 16” bank notes. The front designs are as before, but the reverse designs feature images of the king’s life in infancy, adolescence, and maturity. The new family of bank notes were issued on the 20th September.

As part of the many updates involved during the month of preparations for the official funeral of King Rama IX, the Treasury Department has proposed details of new coins for cabinet and royal approval, according to the director-general of the treasury.

Recent reports stating that the Treasury Department plans to produce new coins of 10-, 5-, 2-, and 1-baht values, as well as smaller denominations ranging from 1 to 50 satang, will also be proposed. The same proposal offers a timeframe for these coins to enter circulation in fiscal year 2018, after the new king’s coronation. The proposal will also mention plans for commemorative coins for this event, expected to take place the month after King Rama IX’s cremation.

The director-general at the Treasury Department said that his office has proposed that the royal cabinet issue a ministerial regulation defining the coins’ values, metal, weight, sizes, and patterns. After this step, the department will be granted a royal decision on the designs of the planned coronation commemorative coins — although details including coin types, sizes, and weight have not been determined yet. These details for both circulation and commemorative coins will also require screening from the department’s committee for coin planning and the committee for commemorative coins, as well as approval from the Ministry of Finance.

The procedure will commence after the official cremation of the late King Rama IX which will take place in a lavish ceremony on the 26th October — just over a year after the revered king’s death at the age of 88. His successor, 65-year-old Maha Vajiralongkorn, also referred to as King Rama X, his father’s only son, was officially announced as Thailand’s new king on the 1st December 2016, after a short mourning period within the royal family. For additional information on the coins of Thailand.

Bank notes of the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands — known for their offshore bank accounts, sandy beaches, great snorkeling, and more — are a group of three individual islands located in the western Caribbean Sea. An autonomous British Caribbean territory, the islands did not have an indigenous population but were first settled by the British towards the end of the 17th century. The largest of the three islands — Grand Cayman, with the capital George Town — is followed by Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, smaller islands located approximately 75 miles east of Grand Cayman. The islands have a combined population of approximately 56,000, of which about 53,000 live on Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands first issued their own bank notes relatively recently, in 1972, making the series of bank notes a great and affordable collection to attempt completion of. While the majority of notes in this series are relatively affordable, there are a few select issues that are more difficult to find.

Prior to 1972, the Cayman Islands used coins and bank notes of Jamaica — a result of the island’s having been part of Jamaica prior to 1962. That year, Jamaica became independent and the Cayman Islands broke off to become a dependency of the British Crown. Ten years later, in May of 1972, coins and bank notes issued specifically for the Cayman Islands were introduced. Four denominations of coins were issued (1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, and 25 cents) as well as four denominations of bank notes: $1, $5, $10, and $25.

Hover to zoom.

The first series of bank notes was issued according to the Currency Law of 1971, and are dated as such on the bottom of the note face. All denominations featured a similar design on the face, with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at the right by Anthony Buckley. Each denomination used a different color scheme, with the $1 being predominantly blue, the $5 green, the $10 red, and the $25 brown.

The backs featured vignettes local to the islands, with a coral reef and fish on the $1 note, a sailboat and harbor scene on the $5 note, a beach scene on the $10 note, and outlines of the three islands on the $25 note. The bank notes were issued by the Cayman Islands Currency Board and signed by Vassel Johnson as chairman of the board.

The Currency Law of 1974 prompted a number of changes to the banknotes of the Cayman Islands. Most importantly, the Cayman Islands dollar was now pegged to the U.S. dollar at a set rate of 1 Cayman Islands dollar to 1.2 U.S. dollars. This pegged rate is still in effect, making the Cayman Islands dollar the ninth-strongest currency in the world. Designs of this series remained identical, and the only way to identify it from the earlier series is the change of date on the bottom of the face.

This series, however, also saw the introduction of three new denominations: a $40 note, a $50 note, and a $100 note. Most denominations were first introduced in 1981 or 1982, but the $50 issue came later, in 1987.

The $40 note is predominantly purple and features the Pirates Week Festival on the back. The $50 note is light blue with a traditional home on the back, and the $100 note is orange and has a view of George Town, the capital, on the back. The $40 note proved very unpopular with the public and was discontinued relatively shortly after issuance.

A revised series of bank notes (“Series B”) was introduced in 1991. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the front was replaced by a more updated version of her by Peter Grugeon. Designs were modernized, with more color added, but the back vignettes remained the same. The 1991 series was signed by Thomas Jefferson as chairman of the Cayman Islands Currency Board. This series does not include a $1 or $50 bank note, but both would be included again in subsequent issues.

In 1996 another revised series was issued, identifiable by the addition of more colors, although the basic designs remained the same. These are known as the “Revised series B” bank notes and would be the last issue of the Cayman Islands Currency Board. These were signed by George A. McCarthy as chairman. In 1997, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority would be established, which would take over the responsibility of issuing bank notes for the Cayman Islands from the Currency Board. It did so for the first time in 1998, when the C series was introduced. The only noticeable change is the name of the issuer, which now reads “Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.” The $1 bank note was reintroduced; all denominations have updated security features but are otherwise identical to the 1996 series.

A new series was printed for 2001. This series did not include a $100 bank note, but instead, a $50 bank note was printed again for the first time since the 1974 series. The predominant color is turquoise, and the back design is the same as that for the 1974 $50 note, a classic Caymanian home. In 2003, the first commemorative bank note was issued for the islands, a $1 bank note commemorating the 500th anniversary of their discovery by Christopher Columbus. A special overprint was added to the center of the front that reads CAYMAN ISLANDS / 1503 *** 2003. Notes were issued into circulation but were also available in special folders for collectors.

Just two denominations, a $25 and $50 bank note, were issued for the 2003 series. The color scheme of the $50 note was altered to a multicolor of predominantly green and purple. This series also updated the signatures, with all notes issued since featuring two signatories: The top is the financial secretary while the bottom is the managing director, which has been Cindy Scotland since 2002.

Another new series was introduced in 2005-2006, which again updated security features and also included the $100 bank note again. These are signed by Cindy Scotland as managing director and Kenneth Jefferson as financial secretary.

With the introduction of the 2010 series, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority introduced an entirely redesigned and modernized series. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was updated to a more recent one by Mark Lawrence, and the entire series features brighter colors and updated designs. The color of the $50 bank note was changed again, this time to purple. The back designs were also updated and feature local flora and fauna, except for the $100 bank note, which features an updated view of the financial center of George Town. This series is signed again by Cindy Scotland as managing director and William Bush as financial secretary. This was the final update to the bank notes and is the current series in circulation on the Cayman Islands, although the U.S. dollar circulates as well.

The various series might look a little complicated at first, but as they are all dated it is relatively easy to figure out what completes a collection. The scarcest notes are found in the first two series; most of the more modern series were sold to collectors at a small premium over face value and can be found in the marketplace relatively easily. Both the $10 and $25 notes from the 1971 and 1974 series are quite scarce, but they do come up for sale in Uncirculated condition. Due to its unusual denomination, the 1974 $40 note is very popular with collectors, but as it never circulated heavily it is quite easy to find in the marketplace. The 1974 $50 notes and $100 notes are more difficult to obtain thanks to their relatively high face value, but with a little bit of searching, both can be found in Uncirculated condition at relatively modest cost.

The most difficult bank note of the series to collect is not a regular issue, but an experimental paper issue that was released in limited quantities. Only 100,000 examples of the 1996 $10 bank note with X/1 prefix were issued into circulation and their special status was not known until after most had been withdrawn from circulation. Most seen today are in circulated condition, and Uncirculated examples are rare. If you do not include this experimental paper issue, the bank note series of the Cayman Islands remains one of the easiest series of the Caribbean to complete in Uncirculated condition. Colorful and instantly recognizable designs that are available with relative ease in Uncirculated condition make this a wonderful series to collect for both the beginner as well as the advanced collector looking for something new.