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, CIT Coin Invest, known to most simply as, 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.
Each 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, as each release sells out rapidly at the mint. 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. 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.
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 the silver content is only a small percentage of the coin cost.
Initially sold just encapsulated with a certificate, for the anniversary release in 2014, CIT finally stepped up and provided some very high quality packaging for their flagship range. Fortunately, this has remained to this day. In 2014 we also saw a new addition that again, is still released today – the 1kg version. These are quite simply stunning pieces of numismatic art, carrying a hefty price-tag and limited to just 99 pieces. There don’t appear to be any plans to re-issue pre-2014 coins in this new supersized format at present.
A flagship series, not just for CIT, but for the industry as a whole, these beautiful coins have improved through time as minting technology has improved. Early coins are considerably simpler than the latest smartminted examples, yet remain very desirable issues – a testament to the core design. Sadly, the 2020 World Money Fair in Berlin saw the series end, although the issuing of a very limited (50 pieces) five-ounce gold coin was a nice touch. Hopefully, the concept will return in a different form.
UPDATE: As a final tribute to the range, CIT have issued limited runs of 3oz proof versions of the 2020 Isfahan design, and a 5oz black proof coin of the same design. See more on page 3