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The problem with collecting modern coins in type sets with many countries...



The problem with collecting modern coins in type sets with many countries is that the coins look rather the same across the board.

South Africa for example:


Russia (I think this is Russian coinage anyway... if I remember right)










Interestingly, when I've posted images in the past of the Zimbabwean Bond Coins and had people point out that they look like arcade tokens or make similar disparaging remarks, I've pointed out that the rest of the world (the US included) doesn't seem to be doing much better these days.

I also find it interesting in that the Franklin mint sets (and my own writings) have called out the relative lack of variety in the designs of Venezuelan coinage, but, other countries have also allowed their coinage to become extremely homogenized in the last few decades. Poland is an interesting example with their coins from the 1990s looking basically the same as their coins from 2017.

The problem I feel this creates is that, if you want to look to create a story and weave a narrative around the set in a registry presentation, you need to look beyond the coinage and the designs and what's featured on them. With the Venezuelan note set I actually got to have a lot of fun researching the people and the animals and places on the notes... at least until they stopped changing the designs or putting in any effort on them. But when all the coins are essentially identical, if you want to tell a story, you have to start trying to put the coins into a historical narrative.

And, while someone looking for a country with really pretty, artistic, varied modern coinage might have a hard time in that pursuit, someone looking to study economic and societal collapse through the lens of coinage and coin collecting seems to have their pick of options these days...

In addition to Zimbabwe and Venezuela, which I have now looked at and written on extensively, we also have extreme and growing economic and social stress in Argentina, Turkey, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Peru, and a few other places.

Although, I couldn't help but think the other day that it could be interesting to do a large, multi-country set looking at Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Armenia, and the other post-soviet states. Possibly looking at that to examine the growing tensions in the area as we enter a kind of post-Russia era with Armenia and Azerbaijan's fragile peace (previously held together by Russian peace-keepers) starting to fall apart as Moscow's influence fades.

At this point I'm petty sure what my next big project is going to be - I have an order in with one of the dealers that was big help in putting together the Venezuela set and now they're going to be my primary source for coins from a new country.

My wife commented the other day about the amount of reading, research and writing - the amount of time and effort that goes into building out one of these projects - as I begin to think about ramping up for a new one. And... yeah. It's a lot, but it's a lot of fun and learning.


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...just for grins n giggles u mite look at the comparative coinage designs of a country or countries that split and/or changed boundaries and/or names n political allegiances...i.e. yugoslavia n others in the bosnia war etc....

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