Coins reflect the country and era in which they were minted. When a country got a new ruler or a new government, the currency changed too. Therefore, coins have a lot to teach you about a country's history.
Colonial Acres Coins sells collectible currency from all around the world. Here is an overview of some of the countries represented and information about the coins you may find.
Since the middle of the 17th century, all British coins have depicted the current monarch in profile. This practice started with Oliver Cromwell who, ironically enough, was not a monarch but a parliamentarian who helped to overthrow the monarchy and temporarily establish a republican commonwealth.
Once the monarchy was restored in 1660, the practice of depicting rulers on British currency remained and continues to this day. The direction the monarch is facing changes with each new accession in an alternating fashion. For example, Cromwell faced left, then Charles II faced right and so on through the intervening centuries to the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who faces right.
The basic monetary unit in Great Britain is the pound sterling. Prior to 1971, there were many denominations of British coins worth different fractions of a pound. The smallest were pence, 12 of which made a shilling. A pound consisted of 20 shillings. However, the pound became decimalized in 1971, so that a pound was equal to 100 pence.
Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are former British colonies and current self-governing members of the British Commonwealth. Initially, each used British currency, although coins of foreign governments were in wide circulation as well. Australia started minting its own coins in 1901, and New Zealand followed suit in 1933.
In each case, the influence of the British system was still strong. Coins of the Australian pound included threepence, sixpence, and shillings, as well as florins, pennies, halfpennies, and crowns. New Zealand's system included half-crowns. In the mid-1960s, both Australia and New Zealand decimalized their systems of currency and adopted the dollar for their base unit instead of the pound. Read more also about World Coins Featuring Australia and France.
Like Australia and New Zealand, the Straits Settlements were once colonies of the British Empire. Of the four individual settlements, Singapore (now a sovereign nation) is perhaps the best known. The other three include Dindings, Malacca, and Penang. The Straits Settlements are located in Southeast Asia and first became British colonies in 1867. Nearly 80 years later, just after the Second World War, Britain reorganized its dependencies and the colony was dissolved.
While under British rule, the basic monetary unit of the colony was the Straits dollar. Coinage consisted of silver dollars, silver half-dollars, five-cent, 10-cent, and 25-cent pieces, as well as one-cent coins, one-half cents, and one-quarter cents made of copper.
Prior to the mid-19th century, the country we now know as Germany consisted of many autonomous German cities and states, each of which produced its own currency. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck unified the German states in 1871. Prior to adopting the Euro in 2002, the basic monetary unit in Germany was the mark. However, there have been many smaller denominations, such as the pfennig, thaler, krone, gulden, and ducat.
Because of the rise of the Nazi regime and the formation of East and West Germany, the 20th century was a troubled time. This is reflected in the currency minted at the time, but with a few exceptions, neither Nazi currency nor coins from East or West Germany have much value.
For approximately 700 years, the ruble has been the basic monetary unit in Russia in one form or another. When the Soviets took over, they still called their currency the ruble, and the name persisted even after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia decimalized the ruble in 1704, making it the first European country to do so. A ruble is equal to 100 units called kopeks. There are collectible coins and notes available in multiple denominations of rubles and kopeks.
World Coins at Colonial Acres
At Colonial Acres Coins, we have world coins available from these countries and many more. Browse our selection online or in our store.