World Coins

Ever since the Chinese invented the first coinage around 900 B.C., world governments have created many types of legal tender meant for general circulation and meant to celebrate a person, place, or event. While most of these have been circular pieces of bronze, silver, gold or copper, other governments have used different materials. If you are starting a collection of world coins, then these frequently asked questions and answers may help guide you to the pieces you're looking for.

What are the parts of a coin?

Regardless of where it comes from around the world, collectors use some common language to describe them, including:

  • Obverse: The front. Often called the head.
  • Reverse: The back. Often called the tail.
  • Edge: The part between the obverse and the reverse.
  • Rim: The raised part running clear around its outside edge on the obverse or the reverse.
  • Flat: Any part that is not designed.
  • Legend: Any inscription telling where it was made and its worth.
  • Portrait or Design: The picture.
  • Motto: Any words used to inspire people, usually with patriotic feelings.
What shapes are coins made in around the world?

Different governments have made money in a variety of shapes, including:

  • Square: In an effort to help people with vision problems, each piece of money in Poland has a distinct shape with the PLD 10 being square. Aruba, the Bahamas, India, and Iraq are just a few of the countries which have square money.
  • Scalloped edges: Hold different pieces of scalloped coinage straight up and down, and you will see there are two different varieties. If it has a point in the middle, then it is called a peak-scalloped coin. Otherwise, it is called a tough-scalloped coin. Countries with scalloped money include Bangladesh, Belize, Egypt, and Hong Kong.
  • Triangles: Trading on the Bermuda Triangle, the country of Bermuda has issued triangular commemorative coinage. Cooks Island and Australia also have triangular money. Somalia manufactures pyramid-shaped coins designed to pay tribute to geometry.
  • Oval coins: In order to commemorate the 2000 expedition exploring the sinking of the Titanic, Liberia issued oval money with a picture of the vessel. Embedded in the money is a tiny piece of coal found near the wreckage. Turkey has oval silver money showing wildflowers, while Fiji offers a coin showing a 1920s airship.
  • Polygon: Great Britain, Ireland, Uganda, Gibraltar, and Barbados all have made money with seven sides. Chile and Hong Kong have each made units with 10 sides.
How do you start a world coin collection?

The process of starting a collection of world coins from around the globe is simple if you follow these guidelines:

  • Select a focus: You can choose to focus on money made with a certain composition such as silver, gold, or bronze. Another option is to focus on money from a particular region or in a particular shape.
  • Select goals: Working toward a particular goal, for example, collecting world coins from every country on the globe will encourage you to know what you need to obtain.
  • Select individual items: Choose items fitting your collection.