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The Royal Wedding Coin

People throughout the world are anxiously awaiting the upcoming nuptials of the oldest son of the Prince of Wales, His Royal Highness William and his college sweetheart, Catherine “Kate” Middleton.

The engagement was announced several months back to great fanfare with the immediate release of commemorative memorabilia that has generated great interest and millions of dollars in sales.

One such commemorative product is Australia’s Official Royal Wedding Coin, being offered by the Perth Mint, which is owned by the State Government of Western Australia.

Endorsed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Wedding coin features an official image of the beamingly happy couple, stunningly portrayed in color. In the background, sculpted in 99.9% silver is Westminster Abbey, which is the setting for the April 29, 2011, nuptials. The coin itself weighs in at one ounce.

The other side of the coin features an image of Her Majesty along with the inscriptions, “Elizabeth II,” “Australia 2011,” “1 Dollar” and “IRB” (which are the initials of the artist’s name, Ian Rank-Broadley).

With the weight at one ounce, and 20 pennyweights per ounce, the actual value of the silver in this coin is approximately $45, but the coin itself is priced by the Perth Mint at $105, with a limit of five coins per collector. So obviously the value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder or collector, in this case.

Inflation of actual value of the metal based on the event or subject being memorialized by a coin is obvious in other similar kinds of coins. For example, the 2011 Chinese Panda 1 ounce commemorative coin is being sold on eBay for anywhere between $50 and $70, currently, driven by online auction buyers. This coin is the same weight, metal and quality of silver, but clearly available at a much different – lower – price. Evidently in the current collectable market, the royal couple fetches more than pandas do.

Similarly, Charles and Diana Wedding coins (also for sale on eBay), although not official or made of any precious metal (there is no precious metal stated on the auction page, where one would assume that information would be stated, if the item were made of a precious metal) are selling for a lower $30-40, at present. Also, no pennyweight measure is available.

But will “Kate and her Prince” stand the test of time? Will the worldwide popularity of “Kate and Will” endure as long as their love? We can’t know about that, but with a limited run of just 12,500 coins, it is very possible that their coin, like many other commemorative coins, will continue to be valued by consumers more for its exclusivity than its metal content for some time to come.

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