In the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Snake is associated with the element Fire. This combination is believed to make people born in the Year of the Snake more charismatic, passionate, and determined. It's said that they have a natural ability to inspire others and often pursue their goals with great intensity.
Octopuses are fascinating marine creatures known for their exceptional intelligence and unique adaptations. These cephalopods possess remarkable problem-solving abilities, can change color and texture to camouflage themselves, and have three hearts that pump blue, copper-based blood. Octopuses also lack a rigid skeleton, allowing them to squeeze through tiny openings and escape predators. With their keen senses and highly developed nervous systems, they navigate the ocean depths with grace and intrigue scientists and enthusiasts alike.
(purchase online in my shop at www.AnimalCoin.etsy.com)
Maine Coon Cat, Coin from Isle of Man
This coin pendant is another one of my more popular items. The Isle of Man issues these fun coins, with a new cat breed every year from 1988 to 2016. This coin featuring the Maine Coon Cat was issued in 1993.
If you love cats, keep an eye on my website/shop for more coming. I have coins from most of the years and will be painting them this year.
Maui Hawaii Coin with Dolphins
For good reasons, this coin is one of my best sellers. With their amazing warm weather and beautiful scenery, Hawaii is a place we all love.
This coin is part of a series of coins issued by the Maui Chamber of Commerce to raise money for educational projects. It features two leaping dolphins which are common wildlife on the islands. Here are a few facts about Dolphins that you might not know:
Fun Fact about Dolphins:
You might be surprised to learn that Dolphins have a poor sense of smell. They also like to blow bubbles!
European Pond Turtle, Coin from Hungary
This 1985 coin was issued in Hungary as part of a Wildlife Preservation series. These turtles live in ponds, marshes, and wetland areas in southern and central Europe, and northwestern Africa. They are more rare in some countries.
Five interesting facts about these fresh water turtles:
Coin from Isle of Man, featuring the Siamese Cat
This coin is part of a coin series issued by the Isle of Man from 1988 to 2016. Each year they featured a different cat breed, and it became popular coins to collect by cat lovers around the world. The 1992 year featured the Siamese Cat.
There are lots of interesting facts about Siamese cats:
Siamese cats are very intelligent, and with very little training they love to play fetch! They are regarded as the "dogs" of the cat world.
The coin is from Newfoundland, Canada, and features one of their official dogs, the Newfoundland Dog. The dogs originated in this area and were initially used as working dogs for fisherman. The Chamber of Commerce issued the coin or "trade dollar" in 1981 for the Corner Brook Silver Jubilee.
This coin from Israel is filled with history from the region. They issued them only in 1978 and 1979. Most of the writing on the coin is written in Hebrew, including the date, which reads from right to left. With the help of the internet, here is what the dates look like on the other side of the coin:
I love the lion design, so I did a little research to find out why it would be important enough to be on their coins. Every circulated coin that year included the countries rich history. The Lion symbol came from a famous archeological find. The Roaring Lion was found on a signet-ring traceable to Shema. Shema was a servant or slave of King Jeroboam II (782 - 741 BC). His reign saw the "greatest success and outward prosperity that Israel had known since the days of Solomon."
About that time in history, lions lived from North Africa to India and into Europe, and King Solomon was enamored with them. His ivory throne featured 14 gold lions.
Israel has interesting facts that are fun to learn:
This beautiful coin, or Trade Dollar, is part of a series issued by the Maui Chamber of Commerce. A new design came out each year, and each featured Maui wildlife. This coin was issued in 2013 and could be used for trade at participating merchants for that year. The series became very popular and collectible so they were normally kept as souvenirs rather than traded in. The program was used to raise funds for local education on the island.
The 2013 coin featured a swordfish, which is found around the world as well as in Hawaii. The fish are very large, usually between 100 and 300 pounds. They are occasionally found as big as 600 pounds! They live an average of 4-5 years. They are difficult for fisherman to find since they tend to be found at depths of 1,400 to 1,600 feet in the ocean. Fishing for them is allowed, but it is no longer recommended to eat them since they often have very high levels of mercury.
These fish are big, strong, and with their spear can be dangerous. There is no record of anyone being killed by one but it isn't uncommon for them to pierce a boat with their "sword" and damage or sink it!
Something old, something new, something
borrowed and something blue
...and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
This dainty coin from Great Britain has a lot of history. Most of us have heard of the wedding tradition of something blue, etc.
Some of us may not have heard the last line of the rhyme about a sixpence. This tradition is from the Victorian era, and over time the last line is often left off.
Here is a breakdown of what the rhyme represents:
Something old was significant in the Victoria era as protection for future children the couple might have. or Continuity.
Something new represented optimism for the future.
Something borrowed was to bring the couple good luck. Often it was something of sentimental value gifted from older relatives.
Something blue stands for love, purity and fidelity, which were considered the 3 key elements for a solid marriage.
The sixpence represents prosperity for the couple.
The sixpence is no longer used as currency in Great Britain since they changed to the Euro. The first sixpence was minted in 1837. This particular design for the coin was issued in 1952 to 1980. It features the national plants which include the Wales leek, the Scotland thistle, the Ireland shamrock, and the rose of England. Fortunately, these coins are still available through coin collectors, and I am able to paint them.
PS - I was delighted to make this coin into cufflinks for my son, and a pendant for my daughter-in-law at their wedding!
I love exploring the world using coins, and have for a long time. This coin from Peru is no exception. Llamas are synonymous with Peruvian culture. Sometimes the Llama and Alpaca are confused by people. The Llama is taller, about 4 feet at their shoulder, has coarser wool, and have long faces and ears.
Here are 7 interesting facts about Llamas:
Llama poop doesn't smell and was burned by the Incans for fuel.
PS: I also wanted to share a link to an amazing YouTube video where you can take a virtual walking tour in 3D of the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru. To hike there via the Inca Trail, you will reach elevations of over 13,000 ft. The ruins are lower at just under 8,000 feet elevation.
I really enjoyed researching the Gray Wolf, which is the animal on this Canadian coin. Canada happens to have the 2nd largest gray wolf population in the world, after Russia. There are an estimated 60,000 wolves throughout most areas of Canada, and their population is stable or increasing. There are concerns, of course, for the future as rural areas keep shrinking.
The Gray Wolf is the largest predator to survive the end of the last ice age about 11,000 years ago. A recent scientific study determined that they survived because they were able to adapt their diet in a short period of time with the climate changes. They now mostly hunt moose and caribou.
At an interview of experts at the Calgary Zoo, they said the most impressive trait that the wolves show is teamwork. They are intelligent and social animals that use teamwork to raise their young. Most wolf packs are actually family units with the parents and their offspring creating packs. It also takes a lot of teamwork for them to hunt animals, such as moose, that are much larger than they are. They use unique sounds to communicate with each other, including the howl represented in this coins design.
Interesting Fact: You can observe the wolf's status in their pack by the height they hold their tail. The higher the tail, the higher their status!
(Click on photo for a larger image)
Exploring the World Through Coins
...and NOW the Coin Story!
Last week I shared my reasons for this coin being special to me as an artist. This week I would like to share it's Coin Story. I have enjoyed discovering the world through coins for over 20 years, especially since they often reflect things important to that country.
"With staggering mountain ranges, spluttering volcanoes, talc-white beaches sheltered by rainforest, and hundreds of tribes, languages and cultures, it's fair to say this island country is one of the most unique places on Earth."
Interesting Facts about Papua New Guinea
Yikes! Travel Safety for Papua New Guinea advises:
"Crocodiles live in rivers and coastal estuaries in Papua New Guinea, often changing habitat via sea. When travelling near crocodile habitats, don’t swim in rivers, estuaries, deep pools or mangrove shores. Also seek expert local advice about crocodiles before camping, fishing, diving or boating."
Coins from Papua New Guinea. It has Land and Sea Crocodiles. I offer it in two colors (click photo for larger image)
This coin from Papua New Guinea holds many firsts for me as an artist. I started painting coins in 2009, and when I finished one of these crocodile coins, I felt I was ready to start selling.
I had wanted to paint coins after 15 years of collecting coins. I had seen one once, and was interested in finding out more. When I researched it, I couldn't find any information on how to do it. I had already been painting silk scarves and selling them, so I knew my way around the art supply store. Everyday for almost 3 months, I returned to the store to buy another product, trying to figure it all out. I was obviously obsessed! Eventually I got the look I wanted by blending a variety of art supply items. Each color had it's own recipe, with some colors easy to obtain and some taking longer.
Another first for me was the soft turquoise color. It still is the most popular color with my customers, and is basically my "neutral color" that goes with everything.
As you can imagine, I was thrilled to put my coin jewelry online and to see the reaction to it. Much to my surprise, I received an email from a man in Australia who also painted coins. He welcomed me to the art, and told me I was the 6th person in the world to be a part of it. Well, that explained why I couldn't find any information about this obviously rare type of art. I was grateful to have an answer and I have continued to enjoy painting and discovering new coins with great designs.
A Beautiful Sea Turtle Coin from Seychelles
I find it interesting that I have always sold more Turtle coins than any other category. So, my hunt for nice turtle coins is always on. This coin from Seychelles features the endangered Green Sea Turtle, and is quite eye catching to wear.
Seychelles consists of 115 islands with a population of only 100,000 people total. It is the smallest African country, and is located off the East African coast. It has 3 official languages of Creole, English, and French and the population is quite a "melting pot."
The country is extremely beautiful with white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and lush forests. There is an extremely diverse amount of marine life. It is considered one of the best diving sites in the world.
Seychelles is over 99% water. Land mass is only .03% of the country.
Hand Painted Coins by Ann Nolen. Each coin has a story, and this blog shares the stories of the coins that I have painted.