Love them or hate them (I’m guessing that split is about 10:90!), credit cards have become an indelible part of modern culture. Indeed, the rush away from cash continues unabated. The cards are now everywhere, complete with custom designs, multiple levels of ownership, and outrageous interest rates. It wasn’t always this way.
The first ‘modern’ card appeared from ‘Diners Club’ in 1950, ostensibly just to combine several different credit systems into a single card. It started with 200 users and 14 New York City restaurants. Within a year, it had grown to 42,000 users in collaboration with 330 businesses. The explosion in use continued until it is estimated that today, some 75% of adults use one of the myriad credit cards on offer at least once per month.
Art Mint are one of those coin producers that seem to come up with off the wall ideas for new issues, so who better to mark seventy years since the little plastic cards sprung to life? The most striking thing about their new release, is the decision not to depict the card on a coin, but to make a coin that mimics a card. Formed in approx. 1.5 ounces of fine silver, the coin is exactly the same size as the industry standard credit card and includes everything you would expect – a gold datachip, a magnetic strip and a signature bar with the coin serial number. Even the 16-digit number is struck into the coin to be in relief on one side and incused on the other, just like a real plastic card. The number marks the beginning of the card anniversary, the date today, the timespan, and the mintage – a cool touch. Rather than a bank logo, the Queen’s effigy is used.
It’s an extremely clever homage to a staple of the modern world. We might not always like them, in fact debit cards are now far more popular, but they represent a facet of our lives and an anniversary like this is worth marking in a nuismatic, something that will be around far longer than a piece of plastic. Two variants are on offer, both well presented with a Certificate of Authenticity. The matt silver coin will have a mintage of 500 pieces, and there’s an additional 200 pieces that keep the matt finish, but are gilded all over. Additionally, 100 of the 500 silver coins will be exclusive to Rome-based dealer, Powercoin, and will sport their own logo, and a further 100 of the 500 will be exclusive to Canadian dealer Coin Shoppe, sporting their logo. Available to order now, they will ship in December. An unusual release that maintains Art Mints reputation for doing things a little differently. We like them for that…