Every now and then a coin series flares brightly on the market for a couple of years, and then fades away. Sometimes, it’s three or four releases before interest disappears, but rarely, a series of coins so captures the heart of the market that it can go on for years and stay at the top of it’s game. Foremost in the last group is the Tiffany Art series of architecture coins released by the Liechtenstein based coin producer, Coin Invest Trust, known to most as simply, CIT.
Without a doubt one of the most sought after coin series of modern times, the first coin was released in 2004 sporting a striking design, embedded in which was a window inlaid with a piece of real Tiffany glass. The piece of glass was unique to each individual coin and gave it the individuality that makes collectors desire something that identical mass-produced items don’t.
The coin is made from 2oz of 0.999 silver and was the perfect balance between being large enough for the artwork to shine, and yet thick enough to carry the deeper three-dimensional effect necessary to show off the architecture the coin was celebrating. Having a mintage of just 999 pieces was all that was needed to kick off interest and that interest remains to this day when the 9th release instantly sold out. An amazing five of the first six coins have won or placed highly in coin awards and the series shows no signs of tailing off, with the latest 2013 coin maintaining the standards set since 2004. The first two coins were issued for Liberia, but after a break in 2006 when no coin was released, they carried on being issued for Palau and settled on an antique finish.
The downside to this interest; if you weren’t collecting from the start, you’ll need deep pockets to get on board. With many of the early coins heading north of €1500, it’ll be a dedicated coin collector that owns a set. If you see a bargain on an auction site that looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. The Tiffany coins are known to suffer from counterfeiting, so if you are about to hand over money, make sure it’s genuine. Remember, a fake will likely be the same 0.999 silver as the original as even that original only contains €30 worth of the metal.
Our only criticism is that a series as beautiful, rare and sought after as this one should have packaging to match. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a standard CIT wooden box, otherwise it’s a capsule only. The Tiffany coins deserve something cool to display them in, maybe something along the lines of a custom Nimbus frame. Even the Perth Mint can do that for a €60 coin. For 2014 the coins now come in custom packaging for the 10th anniversary and this is to continue moving forward. There’s also a simply stunning 1kg monster version that is just glorious to look at and with just 99 minted, only the very lucky will grab one. This has again continued and has become a regular release every year since.
If the series is out of reach, the Tiffanys have spurred the release of new ranges of similarly styled coins, with both the Mint of Polands Crystal Arts coins, and the Mineral Arts range being superb ranges in their own right. These also are quickly appreciating but offer are far more sensible entry into the market. For some however, there’s no substitute for this hugely impressive original series.