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."
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.