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.
Coin Story - Newfoundland Dog
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:
Coin Story: Maui-Hawaii Swordfish
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!
Coin Story - The Wedding Sixpence
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!
Coin Story: Peru - Llama
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.
Coin Story: Canada - Gray Wolf
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."
Many Firsts for This Coin!
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.
Seychelles coin - Green Sea Turtle
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.
When I used to do art shows, I seemed to always have men hanging out at my booth. Most were curious about coins and liked looking at what was on display. Some men enjoyed talking to my husband and just relaxed while their significant other was still shopping the show. I suspect that if I had offered money clips back then, a few men would have wanted to buy them.
Actually, I like to use money clips too, so they aren't only for men! I like to carry a very small purse, and a money clip is perfect to hold some cash and my license and a credit card. All I really need, besides my cell phone, for running errands around town.
I usually have a small variety of money clips in my online shop to consider, whether it is for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
A 1990 coin from New Zealand featuring an Egret
I love the elegant design of this coin, and after some testing ended up painting it in my favorite deep turquoise. Since I blended a translucent paint, it can sometimes be a challenge to get the color I want with the coin color that shows through.
The design features a Eastern Great Egret, which is a type of White Heron. It is not only highly endangered, but sacred to the indigenous Maori people in New Zealand. They value the beautiful bird for their elegant white feathers among other things. The birds can be found wading in the shallow muddy waterways in parts of New Zealand.
This $2 coin happens to be the largest denomination of coin in New Zealand. The coin was made in London at the Royal Mint.
Canada Coin Featuring a Howling Wolf
A 1967 coin from Canada featuring a Howling Wolf
This coin from Canada has a lot of history. It was part of a national design contest to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada in 1967. The fifty cent coin for that year featured the winning design of a howling wolf. 1967 was also the last year that the fifty cent coin was made of silver, changing the next year to coins made of nickel.
A little information about wolves in Canada:
Happy Holidays & Adorable Kittens
Since I am a hopeless animal lover, it doesn't surprise anyone that I have fostered bottle-fed baby kittens for almost 10 years. In case you missed it, I would like to share my slideshow of many of the foster kittens I have been a mom to. They have come to me from my local Humane Society as young as 1 day old, and they grow up to 8 weeks old with me when they are old enough to be adopted . It is the best volunteer job ever, and it is wonderful to see them grow up healthy and ready to go to their own families.
Hope this brings you a smile and a little happiness for the Holidays.
New in my online shop - King Penguin from Falkland Islands
I painted just one of these coins a few years back, and have been purchasing a few bare coins here and there to offer them again. It has taken a while, but I have accumulated 3 of them to paint and just listed them in my online shop.
Before I started painting coins, I collected them for over 15 years, and belonged to our local coin club. In fact, when I figured out how to paint them, most of my coin collection became the coins I painted. For me, the best part of collecting coins was the the fun of purchasing them. Searching for something I didn't already own, and finding a reasonable price. So obviously now I search for coins to paint, and I continue to really enjoy the "hunt."
This coin features a King Penguin, a large "flightless bird" that that scientists still don't know why they lost their ability to fly. They are the 2nd largest penguin with an adult height of about 36 inches, and have a life span of 26 years in the wild. They live in several antarctic areas, including the Falkland Islands where this coin is from.
Fun fact: King Penguins walk slowly and do not hop.
I love sharing the interesting stories behind these coins. It is one way to explore the world, and learning more about animals and nature important to each country.