With everything that’s been going on in the world, it’s no surprise that the coin world hasn’t been spared, and we’d not have been surprised in the slightest if Scottsdale Mint had decided to eschew its annual bullion jaunt around eight Caribbean nations. Late, but unbowed, the first in the mints third Caribbean cruise has now launched, and as before, it’s Antigua & Barbuda kicking it off.

This nations theme has been its old history of rum running – the smuggling of cheap booze into heavily taxed America. By cheap, we actually mean stolen, so the Royal Navy got involved and started drinking it as well. Whatever the actual finer points are, it’s been a fine theme for this entrant in the eight coin series, and this years goes all in on the ship, dropping the barrels from the design (rum, not gun…).

The same four formats as in previous years, all a troy ounce in weight. A gold and a silver pure bullion coin, and the same pairing in proof form with colour highlights. It’s obviously a successful formula for them. Mintages of the bullion variants stay the same, but the proof coins have dropped to 500 silver and 100 gold (from 2,500 silver and 500 gold).

It’s good to see the series back, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next seven designs that will make up the 2020 EC8 program. We’ve been collating this series or some time in our comprehensive Bullion Coin Profile, so head on over there for the full details of this series.We’ll add this one in due course.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The relationship between Rum and the Caribbean can be traced back to 1493 when Columbus first visited Antigua. Keen on the tropical climate and virgin soil, he decided it was the perfect place to offload his cargo of sugar cane trimmings from the Canary Islands. For nearly 150 years, locals cultivated the plant for molasses, honey, and sugarcane juice.  In 1632 the English colonized Antigua and Barbuda and brought with them their fermentation and distillation abilities – dramatically altering the intended use of the sugar cane plant.

Like any frontier, alcohol had to be imported and was expensive as a result. The invention of rum and the subsequent demand for this cheaper and abundant libation turned sugar cane into the island’s staple crop nearly overnight. Rum became so profitable that other cash crops like tobacco, indigo, and ginger were replaced with sugar; the new economic backbone of the islands.

The first large sugar estate was established in 1674, and competition for rum sales – as well as the security that armed ships provided – quickly heated up.  The Caribbean island governors concocted a plan to offer discounts on rum to the Royal Navy in hopes of gaining their protection from the pirates of the Caribbean.  As it were, pirates were making a killing – literally and figuratively – by capturing the prized cargo of lesser vessels and running the spoils (rum) to the heavily taxed colonies in North America and West Indies.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 East Caribbean $2 East Caribbean $10 East Caribbean $10 East Caribbean
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIAMETER 38.6 mm 38.6 mm 38.6 mm 38.6 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated Proof Brilliant uncirculated Proof
MODIFICATIONS None Colour None Colour
MINTAGE 25,000 500 2,500 100
BOX / C.O.A. No / No Yes / Yes Certi-Lock Yes / Yes
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