Friday, August 17, 2018
Thursday, July 26, 2018
If your are interested in coins there is little to see except the Numismatic Museum. The museum is a single room in the Central Bank of Iceland building. The room is open weekdays 1pm to 4pm. It is across the street from the Harpa concert hall and borders the park with Einar Jónsson’s statue of Viking settler Ingólfur Arnarson.
The highlights are Halldór Laxness’s Nobel Prize medal and Thröstur Magnússon’s plaster design for the 100 kronur coin along with an obverse die.
There were no Viking coins on display.
Iceland’s 1930 Althing commemorative coins were on display. I had seen photos of these coins but the real ones look much more impressive than the photos.
I would have liked to purchase collector coins. (Some central banks, such as Ireland, have a retail window for collectors.) The guard at the Iceland central bank did not know about coins and the curator of the museum was on vacation at the time of my visit.
Other than the museum there is not much coin-related to do in Iceland.
Coins are still in use but I wasn’t getting many of the smallest denominations in change. At the nearby Landsbankinn bank branch I found a vending machine for coin rolls. The machine is labeled myntrullur which I believe is the Icelandic word for “coin rolls”. It seems to be a rare word — a Google search did not find a single instance. (Web searched found 20k examples of the related Norwegian word myntruller.)
I went to the Kolaportið flea market to look for obsolete coins. I found a booth stocked with stamps and banknotes but not coins. There was a booth with miscellaneous circulated coins of many countries, mostly Iceland, to pick from for a few kronur. That booth also had a single partially-filled coin album with holes for all of the coins issued by Iceland up until 1970. This album would have been an interesting numismatic souvenir but soft PVC held the coins in place and many had turned green.
Another booth at the flea market had a few uncleaned Roman coins. These were not Icelandic finds and the vendor wanted the equivalent of $30 each for them.
Many of the gift shops in Iceland have sets of obsolete coins. The coins for sale are exactly what is offered by http://www.lucky-coin.com/coins although the prices are about 3x what is listed on that site. The frustrating thing about these sets is the mixed condition of the coins. There will be nice AU-grade coins alongside cleaned G coins. It would take several sets together to make a nice set. Also, most of the holders are wrapped with soft plastic so there may be PVC concerns.
There is an Iceland Numismatic Association but they don’t meet in the summer. I also tried to contact two eBay sellers based on Reykjavic but there were out of town.
Iceland's circulating coins are nice. They depict fish. Coins aren't issued every year. Some of the coins I received in change were in great condition even though dated 2011 or even earlier.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Another anti-pollution art medal.
Portugal, 1974. Vasco Berardo (1933-2017). 95mm. Mintage 400
Obv: Poluição / Cavaleiro do Apocalipse (=Polution / Horsemen of the Apocalypse);
Bust wearning gas mask and headphones; demon birds behind; artist's signature below. The entire field engulfed in
Rev: Caped rider wearing armor and shield on left arm, holding wrench in right hand, riding right on armored horse
motorized horse through wisps of pollution.
From a series of six horsemen. Pestilence is one of the original four horsemen described in the Biblical book of Revelation. In Berardo's vision the horsemen are Peste (Plague), Fome (Hunger), Poluicao (Pollution), Morte (Death), Guerra (War), and Droga (Drugs).
Friday, April 20, 2018
For Earth Day (April 22) here is an anti-pollution medal from my small art medal collection.
Portugal, 1972. Designer Isolino Vaz (1922-1992), Engraver Luciano Inácio. 80mm, 272g
Obv: Poluição (Pollution); bust of a malnourished and bald figure, turned to the right, with the hand on the forehead in sign of agony.
Rev: Girl with braids and school gown kneeling plants a tree in the ground. Next to you a shovel. Behind, four flowers, two on each side and in the sky are three stylized figures of birds.; Salve Mos o Mundo; Valadares - V. N. De Gaia / 30-VII-1972 (Save the World; Valadares - Vila Nova de Gaia - July 30 1972. Valadaras was a parish in Gaia city.)
Edge: 147 / 500
Note: This medal was executed in the workshops of João Baptista Cardoso, for the initiation of the Promoting Committee "Recordar é viver" (Recall is living), formed by former students of the primary schools of Vila Nova de Gaia. 500 examples were made in bronze and another 20 in silver, distributed by the "Galeria Arte e Medalha", in Oporto.
Friday, March 23, 2018
The characters have circles at the ends. If the ends had been lines we would call them "serifs". Many years ago I tried to learn the term for characters with circles on the ends but eventually gave up. Today, while reading an article on the typography of James Mitchener's novel cover art, I stumbled onto the term “ball terminal”.
Exactly what I was looking for. Now I can search for this term ... and find very little.
Thursday, February 01, 2018
Campbell is an archeologist and his article mentions Islamic State and blood antiquities. Those claims might be overblown but the technical scheme described by the article seems workable for medium and high values items. The startup Kapu already conducted a test of using a digital 'coin' to create a provenance ledger.
Were an artifact to have a blockchain record, each time it crossed a border or was sold to a new collector the record could be updated to show it was legitimate. Conversely “blood antiquities” would have no record and faked records could not be manufactured as they often are today. Border security could then compare records of artifacts declared at customs to databases such as INTERPOL.Some of the ideas, like swabbing antiquities with synthetic DNA, seem fanciful. The basic claim seems solid. Using blockchain technology for art isn't science fiction. An article by Jason Bailey on Artnome explains that the technology is already in use for proving ownership of digital artworks. Verisart and Codex are startups in this space. They hope to convince auction houses to use their technology to record sales.
Codex Protocol is designed as industry infrastructure for art and collectibles. So it's fine wine, classic cars, jewelry, fine art, anything else that sort of fits into that category of items.For ancient coin collectors one problem is that we would like to be able to prove ownership before 1970, or before the 2007 agreement between the United States and Cyprus. These technologies are for recording transactions now, not 50 years in the past. I would be interested to learn what the legal community thinks of these things.
The SciTech Lawyer, a publication of the American Bar Association, just published an article on that very topic. Unfortunately for me, law professor Derek Fincham's article “Can Blockchain Technology Disrupt the Trade in Illicit Antiquities?” is not available to non-subscribers.
In the comments section, discuss if you would be interested in using blockchain to record your ownership of coins, and if you would pay a premium to know the previous owners of a coin back to 2019.