There is really a fork in the road with this category, and it quickly becomes apparent when you start collecting currency & coins that there are two types of coinage that mints will make on a regular basis.
This is what I would call regular money. It is issued by a government to be used by its citizens to buy goods and services. While there have not been many examples of complete currency being issued in the zodiac and astrological based symbols, there have been some very notable ones released. I will highlight these below. I am sure that there are quite a few that I have missed, and if you know of any examples, I will be happy to review them and include them if I can find what you tell me rings true. Also, as I pointed out on the Zodiac Collector's landing page, there are many examples of Zodiac and Astrological symbols being used in actual coinage, especially in the ancient world.
This is the coins that mints will release that is never supposed to be used in buying objects and services. This is called Non-Circulating Currency. Its official and has a monetary value. It is usually made in a special run, but is not "legal tender", so to say. It is specifically made by a government mint or sanctioned mint for the collector's community and nothing more. Usually, these coins come with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Mint that created them. Non-circulating currency can be further divided into the types of runs and finishes that create these coins.
Proof Coins: Are the finest quality of coin produced by a mint. The term "proof" refers to the coin's finish. Proof blanks are specially treated, hand-polished, and cleaned to ensure high-quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice. The coins are then carefully packaged to showcase and preserve their exceptional finish. These coins are struck at least twice, which gives the coin a frosted, sculpted foreground for a glamorous shine; defined, intricate design; and mirror-like background and should come with an official Certificate of Authenticity (COA). They will be shipped in a protective capsule so that no human hands touch them after they are packaged.
Uncirculated Coins: Are hand-loaded into the coining press and struck on specially burnished blanks, yet have a soft, matt-like finish appearance. These coins are made like circulating coins, but with a special process that produces a brilliant finish and they should also come with an official Certificate of Authenticity and protective packaging.
Examples of Zodiac & Astrological
How to Organize a Coin Collection > or maybe how not to...
Zodiac Currency & Coinage
The Marshall Islands (1994 CE)
Commissioned a series of planetary commemoratives. In 1994, a set of a dozen brass $10 and one-ounce silver $50 crowns were issued, each portraying a planet against a starry background and an image of the associated god (KM155-178). These included the modern planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (before Pluto was downgraded to a planetoid), as well as Mother Earth, and one just showing the entire solar system. These have a low mintage and are tough to find, but the hunt for them is a good one, as it will most likely take you several years to get them all.
Gibraltar (2001 CE)
Gibraltar issued a set of a dozen copper-nickel and silver crowns and gold fifth-crowns in 2001 honoring the mythology of the solar system, including all of the ancient and modern planets. Some of the gold coins feature silver centers, attached pearls or holograms. Pictured below are the Moon, Pluto, Mars and the solar system hatching out of the cosmic egg. These pictures are from the Krause Standard Catalog of World Coins, 21st Century.
Alexandria (144/45 CE)
Alexandria Egypt was a cross-cultural melting pot of ideas and peoples founded in 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great. It is most famous in antiquity as the site of the Pharos, the great lighthouse, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, for the Temple of Serapis, the Serapion, which was part of the legendary library at Alexandria, as a seat of learning and, once, the largest and most prosperous city in the world. The city grew from a small port town to become the grandest and most important metropolis in ancient Egypt.
During the Antonine period, the coinage was enriched by several special bronze coins of great interest to collectors. The great Zodiac series was minted in the eighth year of Antoninus Pius (A.D. 145/6), probably to commemorate the commencement of the Sothic Cycle in A.D. 139. This rare event, which occurred only every 1461 years, was marked by the by coincidence of Egypt's two traditional calendars, the Vague or civil calendar, and the Sothic or fixed calendar. The coin series itself, however, is based upon Greek astrology. It's drachms bear types symbolizing the sun, the moon, and the seven planets known to the ancients, passing through the signs of the Zodiac. Two rare varieties depict the entire Zodiac, or two Zodiacs with their signs in conjunction, clearly alluding to the coincidence of the two Egyptian calendars.
Jangahir Mugals (1618 AD)
In the thirteenth year of his rule, it occurred to Jahangir, as he wrote in his diary, to replace the name of the month which was being written on the reverse of the coins by the figure of the constellation, which belonged to that month. Accordingly, gold and silver coins that were issued from his camp-mints hereafter bear the Zodiacal Signs on one side. Special specimen strikes were apparently produced for important visitors to the Mughal court, each person would receive a coin with his zodiacal symbol. The obverse dies were reused from year to year, newly dated reverses being produced for each subsequent issue. They are remarkable in their execution, but they are rarely found.
The Mughal coinage is certainly unique among all Islamic monetary systems. Islam prohibits displaying the images or idols of human or animals. As soon as his son Shah Jahan came to the throne, he imposed a death penalty for the use of these coins as well as those having the zodiacal signs and ordered that they should be returned to the royal mint and melted. And for this reason, these coins are now rarely seen in museums or private collections, these coins are extremely rare. It is important to distinguish the early strikes which were official issues of the Mughal court, from the later imitations, which are private strike made for purposes of bullion accumulations, or for the deception of collections.
Because of their tremendous popularity, they were extensively imitated, copied and restruck ever since they were recalled from circulation. Today, only four golden complete sets are known from the Jahangir imperial mints and are held at the British Museum in London, England, then Bode Museum, in Berlin, Germany, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France, and one private collector in Thailand. Silver and gold variant examples below:
Silver coins were only minted for five months and that is why we only see Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo.
The Funan Empire (50 / 600 AD)
Sometimes people get lost; sometimes even a city in a jungle or a desert gets lost. In Southeast Asia empires sometimes get lost. Funan is one of those lost empires; empires that rose to prominence declined and then was forgotten over the centuries. Funan existed along the southern edge of Southeast Asia in what is now Cambodia and Southern Vietnam and extending an uncertain amount to the west into what is now Thailand even perhaps into what is Myanmar (Burma).
We know of Funan from references to it in the records of the Chinese Empire. It was a tributary state to China from about 300 AD to 600 AD. Funan is the Chinese pronunciation of the ancient Khmer word pnom, meaning mountain. The exact nature of the ethnology of Funan is uncertain but it was probably an Indianized state of Khmer people that preceded the similar state at Angkor Watt.
Funan arose about 100 AD and was taken over by Chenla, its former vassal state, about 600 AD. Chenla subsequently divided into a kingdom-oriented to the land and centered in northern Cambodia and Laos and a kingdom-oriented to the sea in the Mekong Delta region in what is now southern Vietnam. The Funan kingdom was the first major civilization in this part of the world.
Admittedly, I believe some of these to be copies of original Funan Empire coins, but it's still very intriguing to me that quite a few of their coins have Zodiac/Astrological figures on them. They produced coins by hand stamping them out of gold, silver, and billion as well as impure tin and bronzes.
Examples are not to size or scale:
Scorpio Libra Cancer
Aquarius Pisces Taurus
I have seen many examples of Funan Era coins, but these stood out to me as a zodiac collection.
Presented here is Scorpio, Libra, Cancer, Aquarius, Pisces, Taurus, Virgo, and Leo. On a separate forum, I found an excellent example of Gemini in gold.
How to Organize a Coin Collection > or maybe how not to...
Examples of Zodiac & Astrological Non-Circulating Coinage...
Republic of Macedonia 10 denars Series (2014-2015 CE)
The National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia released one of the more ornate and decorative sets of Zodiac coinage to date. These were struck at the Lithuanian Mint at no more than 7000 pieces for each coin in the series. They are highly stylized and easily recognized with blue cobalt glass inserts and oval shaped. They are among the most beautifully designed coins I have seen that are targeted directly at numismatics. The coin stats are as follows: 35x45mm, .925 Silver content, .64 ounces, and has a proof finish with gold detailing. Production on this set started in 2014 and finished in 2015. Having said all that, they really only have about $12 worth of metal in them, but they sell for about $90 on the auction sites, which there is probably no way to recoup your investment. They are very striking! (Pun intended)
Mauve Box with COA and Scorpio
Larger Examples for you to Magnify:
Cook Islands $1 Dollar Set (2003 CE)
The Cook Islands produced these zodiac gemstone coins in $1 denominations back in 2003. They were done with two proof finishes (.999 silver and .999 silver with 24k gold plating). They are a bit smaller than most bullion silver coins at only 25.1mm diameter and 9 grams. However, they do have a set of small gemstones encapsulated in their center that rattle around when you look at them. The designs for this set were taken from clip art designs and translated into the coin sculpture. Even though they were released from the Cook Islands, they were actually minted at the Australian Perth Mint in a quantity of 10,000 pieces per sign in each finish (20,000 total). What makes these so unique is the capsule that the gemstone reside within and that real gemstones were used in the creation of this set. They were very popular when they were released and many of the signs like Taurus and Cancer are quite difficult to find. I have also noticed that the silver finished ones seem to be even rarer than the gold plated ones in terms of active circulation on the web. These usually go for about $70-90 each, which is hard to tell if its worth it or not, since the carats, quality, and cut of the gemstones is difficult to tell. Gold plated and silver proof examples are below.
Gemstones in Coins:
Paper Card Packet and COA that the individual coins come within.
The Cook Islands $1 Dollar Set (2007 and later ??)
With the success of the above set, this later set was released at 39mm diameter in a one-ounce weight. They are often listed as 24k gold plated or silver plated, as both varieties were stamped, but don't be fooled by these. They are really just cheaper cousins of the original 2003 set. While they are plated in silver or gold, they are usually only copper on the inside. No gemstones are embedded in these and they are not worth the effort to collect. If you like these, I would advise not paying over $3-4 for each one.
Alphonse Mucha Niue Islands $1 Dollar Set (2010-2011 CE)
Silver commemorative coins from "Alfons Mucha - Zodiac" series (consisting of twelve coins) have been issued by the Niue Philatelic and Numismatic Company, the Monetary Authority of the Government of Niue Island in connection with the 150th anniversary of the great painter - Alphonse Mucha. Coins were issued in cooperation with and under license of the Mucha Foundation.
In coin obverse the standard effigy of Elisabeth II, twelve Zodiac symbols along the rim, inscriptions "Niue Island", "Elisabeth II" and "1 dollar" as well as the issue year, and the hallmark - "Ag 925". In the reverse on the engraved background with the Mucha ornaments, a colored image of a woman by A. Mucha ("Zodiac"), for each birthing of the zodiac. The coins were issued in 1 ounce (28.28 grams) at 38.6mm diameter and limited to 10,000.
Kagaya Niue Islands $2 Dollar Set (2011 CE)
The Island released another Zodiac set, but this time as an enameled bar. Kagaya Yutaka, a Japanese digital fine artist born in 1968, he has created artworks relating to the universe including CG animation pictures, digital prints, posters, illustrations for astronomical books and magazines. His zodiac artistry was adopted to be the images for these bars.
The obverse of the coin features the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The coins were issued in 1 ounce (31.1 grams) at 55x33mm dimensions and limited to 8,000 pieces. Each coin is presented in a well-designed blister pack. Each bar comes with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity issued by New Zealand Mint.
Capricorn Blister Booklet
Rwanda 1000 Francs Zodiac Set (2009 CE)
These 3-ounce coins were issued in 2009 by the Central Bank of Kigali, Rwanda in a 65mm diameter (that's a big coin) to raise money for the government. They were limited to 500 of each zodiac coin, making them rare to start with. Each coin is 93 grams of .999 silver with 24k gold detailing with three to four diamonds in the astronomical sign constellation as the stars. These were not done as proofs, but as brilliant uncirculated. Do not buy these without a Certificate of Authenticity from a reputable seller, they have been hacked by private mints. Quite often, the diamonds seem to come out of these.
COA produced by Reischauer Gmbh
Somalia Zodiac Sets (2000, 2006, 2012 CE) ??
These have been on the market for some time and are very easily obtained. They are clearly marked as from the Republic of Somalia at 10 shillings denomination. But there seems to be a bit of confusion on these coins actually being from Somalia. I find no records of them on the Somalian Central bank, in fact, they do not list them being manufactured at all. During the 2000 to 2006 dates, the Central Mint of Somalia and the Banks were in disarray from war and many warlords were printing their own money. There is also confusion on what these are made from. Some say Cupro-nickel, others say Steel with Nickel plating and some correctly label these as Stainless Steel (which is what they are for the 2000 and 2006 coins). But are these actual coins? I say no. They don't seem to have been made by any government mint and they are not backed by any government, so I don't think they are anything but fantasy currency. In fact, they have no commercial value and the scrap value is only pennies. In 2012 there seems to have been more sets created of the Somalian Zodiac currency made in a European style in both Western and Eastern birth signs, but again they seem to just be fantasy currency created in China as another knock-off.
2000 Eastern Zodiac Set
Common Reverse to the Right:
2012 Stainless Steel Eastern Set
Common Reverse to the Right:
2006 Western Zodiac Set
Common Reverse to the Right:
2012 bi-metallic Eastern Set
Common Reverse to the Right:
French Gabon 2000 Francs Zodiac Set (2014 CE)
Issued in 2014, these 31.10-gram coins were stamped as proof finish, in .925 silver at 39mm diameter. Only 3000 sets of these were produced for circulation into the collector's markets. They should always come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Because of the low mintage, these have been selling for two to three times spot value.
The Central African CFA franc is the currency of six independent states in Central Africa including Gabon. CFA stands for Coopération Financière en Afrique Centrale ("Financial Cooperation in Central Africa"). It is issued by the BEAC (Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale, "Bank of the Central African States"), located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, for the members of the CEMAC (Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale, "Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa").
Each of the Zodiac coins has its star sign, constellation, name, elemental association and dates of the year associated with it. The Reverse is common for all the coins in the set.
Cameroon 500 Francs Zodiac Set (2010 CE)
Since we are on the CFA franc, the next coin up is minted at the same mint, but with a very different type of finish. The coins are very cool to look at and fairly difficult to find in complete sets. It would take you several years of searching around to get them all at present.
Cameroon (Bank of Central African States) issued these in 2010 in a 500 franc, 1/2 ounce (15.5 grams) denomination at 33mm. They are .925 Sterling Silver with a BU/holographic finishing process. They are positively opalescent! These were also held to a mintage of only 3000 sets with COA. The production design and stamping work for this set were done at the GmbH Mint in Germany.
Lebanon 5 Livres Zodiac Set (2013 CE)
Issues by the Bank of Lebanon (Banque Du Liban) during the 2013 year, these coins didn't last long. I find few references to them now. I am not sure if they were very popular, or very unpopular, but they are odd in a couple of ways.
Proof mint set coinage out of Lebanon is rare, and the silver content is an odd percentage. These were only done at .500 silver content. I am unsure of what the other 50% of the alloy is, most likely copper (which would make them billion). These were done as proofs with enameled paint backgrounds. Another thing that makes these odd is that they are 20 grams at 38.6mm diameter. I cannot find any information on the crystals inset on the back, but I assume they change color depending on the sign and that they are just man-made crystals. 10,000 sets of these were produced, but good luck finding them today.
Tokelau 5 dollar Silver Zodiac Set (2012 CE)
This set has recently shown up on some of the Auction sites and I wanted to document it, though I am still researching several of the characteristics of the set. It looks like it comes in two varieties that are both labels as "proof-like" finish. One is .925 silver and the other is .925 silver with gold 24 karat embellishments. Both sets use the same reverse design and also use the Lobster as the Cancer design. This is typically done by the former Soviet States while the traditional sign is a crab.
Tokelau is a small atoll on the Pacific ocean and is listed as a dependent territory of New Zealand, hence Queen Elizabeth on the back. What is really odd is that the COA is written in Cyrillic and not English, which leads me to believe that these coins were produced in a Cyrillic speaking country, and not done at the Perth Mint in Australia or the German Mayer mint, which has done most of the previous bullion and comparative coinage for Tokelau. My guess is that these are not licensed by any official government source and should be considered fantasy/counterfeit currency.
Upon obtaining more information, these were produced at the Russian bank Vneshtorgbank by the Moscow Mint and issued under special order. Not sure what source ordered them to be produced.
2015 Tokelau Creatures of Myth & Legend Zodiac Rounds
Having said all the above about the Tokelau set, there has been legitimate releases that the little atoll has done. They have realized two Zodiac coins to date that are part of a mythical creatures series. The COA on these lists them as being done by the German Mayer Mint and are licensed by the territory of Tokelau. The two that I know of in the series are Aries and Capricorn. The New Zealand Mint has minted silver commemorative coins for the tiny island nation since 1978 to provide extra income - as Tokelau has the smallest economy of any country in the world. Examples below:
5 Different Finishes: Antique Silver, Guilded Silver, Proof, Reverse proof and Enameled
5 Different Finishes: Antique Silver, Guilded Silver, Proof, Reverse proof and Enameled
Former Soviet Union Sets (Multiple Years - see Examples)
In the last decade, several States of the former Soviet Union have started producing Zodiac series coins, in both the Western and Eastern Traditions. In the map below, I will highlight each one to try to give you examples of the different sets. These are sets produced in the former states or likely minted by a Russian held mint.
Republic of Armenia 100 & 10,000 dram Series (2007-2008 CE)
Over the course of two years, the Central Bank of Armenia issued these 100-dram denomination zodiac series proofs. They were limited to 12,000 pieces for each sign. They were minted by the Mint of Poland and the CoA on these has all the relevant statistics. They were made in .925 silver at 28.28 grams and each design has a colored zircon embedded in the coin to match the color of the sign's traditional stone. In addition to the silver sets, these were minted in 0.90 gold from 2008 to 2009 in a 1/4 ounce weight. These are unique for the time they were made, being that they had both a (man-made) gemstone and colored printing on the coins. They sold well for a while, but are very easy to come by today on all the auction house sites.
1 Ounce .925 Silver Capricorn Example
1/4 Ounce .90 Gold Taurus Example
Certificate of Authenticity from the Central Bank of Armenia
Russian Zodiac Ruble Sets (the 1980s to today)
Russia has produced zodiac ruble sets in 2 and 3 ruble denominations as well as gold zodiac designs in 25 and 50 rubles for many years since the 1980s (I believe). Many of these are done in the classic Western style and they will often have mixed proof finishes to make collecting them interesting and difficult, as the complete proof sets are difficult to obtain in the U.S. I believe these are created at the St. Petersburg Mint at about 20,000 impressions. They also produce sets using the Eastern Zodiac animal sets too. These go for quite a premium on the U.S. auctions site, especially the 3 rubles, full ounce designs. Typically, the 2 rubles are 0.5 ounce sterling silver, while the 3 ruble coins are 1 troy ounce in 90% silver.
The 25 ruble coins are 1/10 ounce .999 gold and the 50 rouble coins weigh in at 1/4 ounces in .999 gold. These sets cross several lines to collectors of Russian currency, bullion and zodiac seekers. It is usually rare to get a COA with these, and I have often been concerned that the coin I was buying was not from the Russian mint.
As of late, the dreaded Chinese have capitalized on the Russian designs and are selling them as cheap silver plated knock-offs of the originals, so buyer beware!
Russian examples below & right:
2005 Western Russian Zodiac Set
Other Russian Zodiac Examples:
Sizes are not proportional.
2002 Russian Proofs
One Example of the
St. Petersburg Mint Mark
Transnistria/Moldovia (2005 CE)
These 32mm round, 14.14 gram, Sterling Silvers (.925) came out in 2005 and were very popular. They were issued from the Transnistria Republican Bank which is now listed as the Moldovian Republic. They were stamped in 100 ruble denomination with a common reverse design. Of the 12 signs of the zodiac, the Capricorn ended up being very difficult to get and is the rarest one to find today. The designs were created from European artwork and no artist is listed. The coins are a proof finish with each sign and their constellation together much like a star map. They always came with a COA directly from the Bank that was a simple paper certificate.
Transnistria/Moldovia Aquarius Epoch (2007 CE)
In 2007 the Pridnestrovskiy Respublikanskiy Bank of Moldovia issued two Western Zodiac coins in honor of the Age of Aquarius. These were very short run collector coins and they were finished in two ways. One was done in a 3 rubles denomination with gold plating, while the other was all silver proof finish was listed at 10 rubles. (Yes, this seems odd that the gold is less than the silver when they are both .925 Sterling at 32mm 14.14 grams.)
These are difficult to find because of the very short production runs. The guided gold version only ran to 100 total while the silver ones ran to 500 pcs.
Transnistria/Moldovia (2016 CE)
Minted by the Transnistria Mint Tiraspol, these Steel coins are attributed the government of Transnistria but I am not convinced yet. Each coin is 22mm, 4.65 grams and nickel plated. Mint runs are listed to 50,000 pieces. the artist attributed to this series is A. Rodionova, but I am certain that I have seen this art on many digital stock art houses. These are often sold as uncirculated quality, but most all of them are very marked up from being in the bags for transport. Being only nickel plated, they are not worth much and probably never will be.
Old Crest of Belarus
Belarus (2009/2013/2014 CE)
Belarus has practically started is own Zodiac coin institution over the last decade. Several sets have been released with different design ascetics and utilizing man-made gemstones and gold embellishments. I expect them to continue to produce several more sets over the next decade. Each set is described below and I have included pictures to help identify them.
(2009 CE) 20 Rubles set
To start off the various sets, the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus issued this set designed by the famous artist Svetlana Zaskievich who created these for the Treasury. This set was minted at the Warsaw Mint of Poland (Mennica Polska).
They are done in three main ways. One gold bullion set and two silver sets. The more expensive silver type is done in .925 oxidized silver with Swarovski zircon gemstones on the front and common reverse design. They are 38mm, 28.28 grams with a mintage of 25,000 sets. The less expensive sets were done in cupro-nickel proof finish with no gemstones in them in 1 ruble denomination. Surprisingly, the cupro-nickel sets were only minted to 10,000 pieces, making them rarer than the sterling silver ones. These are also only 32mm (half-dollar) size at 13.16 grams.
The whole series is designed in a picturesque starry ornamental manner. The reverse of the piece contains the image of the moon and the sun surrounded by the Zodiac circle with astrological symbols on it. The name of the subject of the coin in English and Belarusian is indicated with the denomination as well. Examples below:
.925 Silver 38mm Set with Swarovski Gemstones
The .900 gold sets were only minted up to 2000 sets. They are 30mm diameter at 15.5g proofs.
Coin with COA from the Mint
(2013 CE) 20 Rubles set
This 2013 offering was limited to 10,000 proof sets in .925 silver with .999 gold embellishments. It was issued with a COA, small booklet and came in boxes for the complete set (as seen below) or in individual boxes for each coin. They are a bit larger at 41mm because of the circular cut out with the floating zodiac sign that moves around inside the capsule. Because of this void in the metal content, the coins were made at 41mm diameter to hit the one ounce (28.28 gram) weight. This particular set was produced at the Mint of Poland.
The artwork for the set is stylized elements taken from one of the figures of Athanasius Kircher´s scientific work (1602-1680), symbolizing one of the phenomena of mutual influence and interaction of celestial bodies. Examples below:
Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
Box & Booklet Example
(2014 CE) 20 Rubles set
This 2014 offering was done in two main ways. One was in antiqued .925 silver at 20 rubles with Swarovski crystals embedded into the designs in one ounce (28.28 grams). This type was limited to 7,777 total. It was issued with a COA in a small box. The second type was done in antiqued cupro-nickel with no gemstones embedded in the design. It was limited to 3,333 sets at 19.7 grams and has 1 ruble as its value on the reverse side. (See examples below) Both are at a 37mm diameter.
This particular set was produced at the CJSC Lithuanian Mint in Vilnius, Lithuania. The booklet that these shipped in was quite beautiful as well with the COA printed on the inside and the coin capsule holder is built in. See the short video!
The artwork was done by Ukrainian Artist Turetsky. Examples below:
Coin Holder and COA
Booklet Example. See the
Video Link above.
One of the country’s most well-known landmarks is the elaborate Oriental Calendar Fountain adjacent to the Academy of Sciences in Almaty displaying fabulously carved sculptures of the 12 animals in the Kazakh calendar. The calendar is cyclical – repeating every 12 years and is similar to the Chinese version – but with a snail instead of a dragon. The fountain was created in 1980 by the Architect Vladimir Katsev with mosaic murals designed by Vladimir Sergeevich Tverdokhlebov and Aleksandr Borisovich Tatarinov created the stylized statues.
The National Bank of Kazakhstan has issued many sets of Lunar New Year collector coins inspired by the fountain that is part of the ongoing design concept, initially launched in 2011. The design concept continues with highlighting each zodiac figure on the 12-sided coin. These have been Lunar based in the previous years, but this year (Dec. 2018) they have created a Western Zodiac themed set for the first time.
The coins have octagon shape and are made of sterling .925 silver alloy and tantalum, the total weight is 25 grams: a ring of silver weighing 10 grams, an inner disk of tantalum weighing 15 grams. Circulation is set to 1,000 pieces of each of the 12 octagonal signs. Their designs are made in a carved rock art style. Each color of the tantalum insert on a coin corresponds to one of the four elements associated with the Zodiac sign and have a value of 100 tenge.
It is unknown if the bank will come out with more Western themed sets.
Please see the COA Example:
The National Bank of Ukraine has put several commemorative zodiac coin sets into circulation. The two Western Zodiac sets were done fairly recently and have been popular with collectors. The Mint was put into operation in 1998.Since being put into operation the mint has struck about 15 million commemorative coins, has almost 10 billion in circulation in small coins and manufactured over 9 million pieces of state awards (medals, award pins, and accompanying certificates).
Ukraine (2007/2008 CE)
This Stylized, half mirror Ukrainian set was designed by Volodymyr Taran, Oleksandr Kharuk and Serhii Kharuk and the sculptor was
Volodymyr Demianenko. The designs were stamped in two ways. One in .925 silver and one in .9999 gold (24k).
The Sterling Silver set was done at 33mm, 1/2 ounce proofs at a denomination of 5 hryvnia.
The Gold bullion coins were stamped at 1.25 grams at 14mm diameter at a denomination of 2 Hryvnia.
Mintage: 15,000 silver, 10,000 gold
Inside COA Example
Tri-fold COA Example
(2014-2016 CE) The Children's Zodiac Set
This 2014 to 2016 offering was done in 2 hryvnias denomination at 7.78 grams. The metal content on the is.925 sterling silver. The diameter on this 1/4 ounce set is 26.5mm. The finish is brilliant with satin details, but I would call them proofs. These were minted at the Ukrainian mint in a quantity up to 10,000 per zodiac sign. It is rare that proof coins are minted in 1/4 ounce sizes and the nine-sided edge design is also a bit unusual.
These should always ship with some kind of COA, as the mint did some beautiful box designs on these and the COA on Ukrainian coins are quite detailed. The COA's that I have seen are in English and Ukrainian. Examples below:
Inside Blister Pack Example
Outside Blister Pack Example
Mongolia (2007 CE)
While Mongolia was never part of the Soviet Federation, these coins are decidedly Russian in look and feel. I believe that they were designed and minted by Russian trained artisans, though I can find no proof of this. These 33mm round, 15.5 grams, Sterling Silvers (.925) came out in 2007 and have become difficult to find in complete sets. Only 7000 were produced from the Mongolian Bank. They are issued in bright un-circulated (BU) condition with 24k gold embellishments. They are in 250 Togrog denomination. I have found that Aries is the most difficult to find today and most of the ones that exist for sale are coming from the states bordering Russia. The art for zodiac designs on these is also taken from Astrology (Star Chart) artwork. These usually come with a paper COA, but not always.
Box and COA
Canadian Commemorative Western & Eastern Zodiac Coins
Canada has a very rich tradition of coinage, comparative coins, and bullion sets. They are world renown for their quality and integrity in producing coinage. Over the decade, they have produced many zodiac inspired sets, most of which are Eastern or Lunar based, but they do have several Western-based zodiac coins as well. They are always released from the Royal Canadian Mint, as this is the only official government mint of Canada. The Mint's high-tech plant in Winnipeg produces over 1 billion circulation coins each year.
Lunar Horse Silver, Gold and other Lunar Examples
2004 Complete Zodiac 1oz. Privy Mark $5 Silver Maple Leafs
The Royal Canadian Mint released this Western-themed privy marked 5 Dollars in .9999 silver. Every year they do silvered gold bullion/proof coinage for the collector markets. This set was very popular and still sells strongly today. The main design is the standard one issued by the mint every year for silver collectors, but a small Western Zodiac mark was added below the maple leaf and released every month. They are 1 oz. and limited to 5000 total pieces per sign.
Complete Set Red Box and COA's
Privy Mark Details
2017 Swarovski Zodiac $3 Zodiac Wheel Series
Designed by Pandora Young, the coin features a combination of color and engraving that results in a beautifully artistic rendition of the zodiac. A clear Swarovski crystal embellishment is in alignment with the traditional glyph of the month's zodiac sign and the center crystal is based on the color gemstone of the sign. The front is the traditional queen Elizabeth profile designed by Susanna Blunt. Thee were done at an odd size, being 27mm in diameter and only about 8 grams. They should always include a serialized COA of the run of 5500 pcs.
Yes, I know there are other examples and if you send me the details I would be happy to see if I can get them added in. The goal is not to necessarily to have absolutely every version of world zodiac currency on here, but the more interesting and possibly valuable ones for sure. After all, we don't want to just go on ad nauseam...or do we?