Novelty coins may not be worth much as legal tender, but that makes them invaluable. Whether tie-ins with popular franchises or demonetized currency found in someones attic, their limited number makes them catnip for collectors and other relic hunters. Provided proof of authenticity, these coins will sell for thousands, if not millions.
However, not everyone collects novelty coins to make a fortune. Some get the satisfaction of being the proud owner of such collectibles. However, most collectors would put them on display for others to marvel at.
Whatever the reason for getting into such a hobby, consider these novelty coins thatll make a fine addition to anyones collection.
1. Star Wars Coins
Star Wars has one of the largest fan communities in the world. The reasons for its success vary, from superb lore-building by George Lucas to the thrill of space battles and lightsaber duels across a galaxy far, far away. Its USD$ 70-billion net worth is the fifth-highest among media franchises.
Given its success, you know there are bound to be Star Wars novelty coins making the rounds in the collectible community. Some examples include the NZ Mints Star Wars coins, which the mint has been producing since 2016.
Aside from notable figures like Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and The Mandalorian, the coins also feature the universes machines like the sandcrawlers of Tatooine.
2. Wildlife Coins
Animals on coins arent unusual as legal tender, as some countries currency systems use them. However, slapping them on novelty coins doesnt make them any less valuable. As mentioned earlier, the coins limited production runs often make them command a high price.
Take the Royal Canadian Mints glow-in-the-dark dinosaur novelty coin, for example. With a limited production of just 25,000 units in 2012, these coins could become highly sought after in several years. But its most noteworthy feature is the image of the Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, whose remains were discovered in Alberta in 1946, that glows in dim light.
Novelty coins are also ideal mediums for raising awareness regarding wildlife protection, such as Mongolias coin featuring the Ural owl. The coin, limited to 2,500 pieces, features the owls eyes using Swarovski crystals. It gained fame in 2013 after receiving the Most Popular Coin accolade during the Coin of the Year Awards.
3. Commemorative Coins
Novelty coins released in tribute to a significant event or figure are a dime a dozen. Most mints worldwide still follow the tradition of releasing commemorative coins, which collectors can find in relative abundance compared to other novelty coins.
One example is a Swiss franc coin sporting the image of tennis legend Roger Federer. With an estimated 95,000 pieces released, hes one of the first living, famous figures to have their image and likeness stamped on a coin. The coin came in two versions: the silver 20-franc and the gold 50-franc, both released in 2020.
On the other hand, the Royal Mints Pride 50-pence commemorative coins circulate in far more significant numbers. Five million of these coins have rainbows imprinted on the tail side along with the words Pride, Protest, Visibility, Unity, and Equality. Nevertheless, theyre still hard to find, given that the mint churns out nearly 50 million coins yearly.
4. Tangible Crypto Coins
Cryptocurrencies are digital, but that hasnt stopped a fledgling industry from creating physical versions of these currencies. While there arent many at the moment, these cryptos come with a tangible coin and a specific value based on Bitcoin.
Of course, investing in cryptocurrencies isnt everyones cup of tea. Fortunately, some physical cryptos exist as mere novelty coins with no Bitcoin value whatsoever. You can get one for as low as USD$15 (USD$20 for overseas buyers) and admire it in its gold- or silver-plated glory without getting into the volatile market.
5. Old Currencies
Last but not least, are coins that have long lost their monetary value, primarily due to inflation. For example, the U.S. half-cent circulated for over 60 years before being demonetized in 1857 because inflation had degraded its ability to purchase goods and services. Despite this, the half-cents historical significance made this coin a collectors dream to own.
If youre lucky, you may find some of these coins gathering dust in the attic or storage. Dealers are also another source, though experts strongly advise knowing them fully before engaging in any transaction.
Building a collection of novelty coins may require looking for one in a sea of circulating legal tender. But many collectors say thats part of the excitement. When you get your hands on one, the satisfaction can be overwhelming.