The Joys Of Collecting World Crowns
I, like many other coin collectors, enjoy world crowns. They're beautiful coins with high silver content and relatively affordable prices.
By no means are crowns an economically efficient vehicle for buying bullion – silver bars and traditional bullion coins are, gram for gram, cheaper for silver stackers by far. Still, world silver crowns are among the most popular coins among diehard numismatists and those who enjoy silver bullion coinage. Indeed, it's rewarding to collect world crowns!
What is a Crown?
As with many areas of coin collecting, there are no specific requirements dictating what constitutes a crown. There are, however, some widely accepted standards.
It's numismatically agreed that world crowns generally measure between 35 millimeters and 42 millimeters in diameter. Silver coins that are categorical crowns also generally weigh around one ounce, give or take a few grams. In most cases, a crown represents the unitary denomination of the nation in which it was produced, such as the Canadian silver dollar, the Mexican peso, and the Japanese yen. In this sense, United States silver dollars, such as the Morgan dollar and Peace dollar, also qualify as crowns.
While the term "crown" is often used in a generic sense, the crown, in origin, is a British silver coin that arose in the 16th century and originally had a value of five shillings. Today, a British crown is worth pounds.
Many world mints have since patterned their largest circulating silver coins (and, more recently, copper-nickel coins) off the model of the British crown. Often, the most beautiful designs are reserved for the large silver coins of the world, and yet they largely remain inexpensive for collectors today. For this reason, world crowns are an attractive pursuit for a broad range of numismatists.
What Are Some Of The Most Popular World Crowns?
While every coin collector has his or her own preferences as to what constitutes a crown, some may collect both standard-issue and bullion issues while other focus on only one or the other. Personally, I restrict my crown collection to only numismatic issues – coins that are made for general circulation or collector purposes and not strictly produced as bullion pieces. Those who include bullion issues as world crowns may collect American Silver Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, British Britannias, Austrian Philharmonics, and Mexican Libertads.
Here's a list of a few of the most widely collected world crowns:
- Australia Silver Dollars
- Canada Silver Dollars
- France 5 Francs Silver Coins
- Germany 5 Mark Coins
- Japan 1 Yen Silver Coins
- Mexico Un Peso Silver Coins
- Peru Un Sol Silver Coins
- Spain 8 Reales Dollar, or Pieces of Eight (16th-18th Centuries)
- United States Silver One Dollars
This list represents but the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wide variety of silver coins that are counted among the body of world crowns. Of course, the copper-nickel variants of these coins, when applicable, can also be included.
Tips For Building A World Crown Collection
World crowns are easy to collect, especially nowadays, when they are widely available from online coin dealers and auction websites such as eBay. Still, I prefer checking with my local coin dealer to see what he has in stock, because I like being able to inspect the coins in-hand before I buy them.
As far as building a collection of world crowns, there is essentially no limit. Thanks to virtually countless designs, commemorative issues, and the fairly lenient interpretations of what a world crown coin is, one could easily spend a lifetime building a world crown collection.
At the end of the day, you need to collect the coins you enjoy. The beauty of collecting coins is that there are no rules. A world crown coin collection is an incredible and symbolic example of the open borders, literally and figuratively, within our hobby.