Coins with Religious Themes

by blackspanielgallery

There are coins with religious themes. They are few, compared with the number of coins, but can be found and appreciated.

In our current society having a religious theme on a coin is unusual, given the trend to remove God from society. However, a few countries have recently issued coins with religious themes.

I recall this not to always have been the case. I was born in 1947, and my uncle had brought several foreign coins home from World War II. Most of these coins were French or German, but one from South America, I believe Argentina, had a beautiful image of Mary. At that time, it was possible to find a circulating coin with a religious theme.

Holy Helpers

Some nations still issue religious themed coins, but usually not circulating coins.  Commemorative coins may have a religious theme.  One of the first series of commemorative coins I became aware of is the Holy Helpers series, a five-coin series from Belarus that were issued in 2008.  The coins are silver, and each coin is embellished with four colorful stones as appropriate to an image consistent with the Eastern Orthodox religion.

 

The religion of Belarus is primarily Eastern Orthodoxy, so the four men and one woman depicted are Orthodox saints.  Is there a difference in Orthodoxy saints and Roman Catholic saints?  Well, the way the Roman Catholic Church canonizes saints is a rigorous process, and has been so for about a millennium.  But, in the early days for just over a millennium things were different.  A bishop or even a priest could simply declare a person a saint if the person lived a good, virtuous life.  When the new rules were established, the process was updated, and many of the old “saints” did not receive retroactive canonization.  They were not grandfathered in.  Since the Orthodox had split before this their declaration of sainthood remained with the old tradition, so there is now some overlapping saints and some that belong to only one of these two religions. 

 

If a person is not counted as a saint by either religion, it does not mean the person is not a saint in the true sense of being in Heaven.

Orthodox Saints Coins

VINTAGE ARCHBISHOP SERAFIM OF ATHENS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH 1ST...

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Orthodox Christian Icon coin St. Sergius of Radonezh Belorussi...

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The Wonders of Jesus Christ Coin Series

The Wonders of Jesus Christ coin series is a set of rectangular coins.  It is a series of silver coins beautifully colorized that were issued by the Principality of Andorra in 2013.  These coins cover the highlights of the New Testament from the Wedding Feast at Canna to the Resurrection.

 

Andorra is a principality that is primarily Roman Catholic. 

 

Andorra mints commemorative coins in dinars, it’s now obsolete currency.  While Andorra used euros, it was not granted the right to mint euros when it adopted the currency, so it mints commemorative coins in dinars.  This is probably because it is not a member of the European Union.

Wonders of Jesus Christ Coins

Andorra

Andorra The Wonders of Jesus Christ 40 Diners clored 8 silver ...

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The Rasing of Lazarus The Wonders of Jesus Christ Proof Silver...

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Healing the Blind The Wonders of Jesus Proof Silver Coin 5 din...

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Feeding the Mulititude The Wonders of Jesus Christ Silver Coin...

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Windows of Heaven Coin Series

One lengthy series of coins is the windows of Heaven coin series, which features stained glass inserted in cutouts in the coins.  The coins are silver, and the cutouts are the shape of the window represented.  Most are elongated straight on three sides with a curvature representing beams meeting at the top.  However, some are round if the shape of the window is round.

 

The windows depicted are from many old churches, and while many of these churches are Roman Catholic, not all are.  As an example, Westminster is among the churches.

 

This series is from Cook Islands. 

Windows of Heaven Coin

2013 COOK ISLANDS 10$ WINDOWS OF HEAVEN CHARTRES SILVER COIN S...

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2011 Windows of Heaven $10 Notre Dame De Paris 50 grams Silver...

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Cook Islands 10 Dollars 2013 Windows of Heaven Milan Cathedral...

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2012 Windows of Heaven $10 St. Isaac's Cathedral 50 grams Silv...

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Holy Windows Coin Series

The Holy Windows coin series is a series similar to the Windows of Heaven series above, except instead of being round coins these are diamond shaped.  The issuing country is the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific.

 

These coins also have stained glass inset into cavities in the coins, and represent some of the most ornate stained glass windows found in churches and cathedrals.

Palau 2012 10$ SAINT PATRICK CATHEDRAL New York Holy Windows S...

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Palau 2012 $10 Sacred Art Holy Windows - Brasilia Cathedral 50...

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2011 Palau $10 Silver Proof Coin Sacred Art Holy Window Basili...

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Palau St. Patrick's Cathedral $10 2011 Sacred Art Holy Windows...

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Guardian Angels Coin Series

In 2017, and continuing in 2018, the Austrian mint issued a four-coin series titled Guardian Angels.  These coins feature Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. 

 

Michael, the protecting angel, defended Heaven itself.  Gabriel, the revealing angel, carried messages.  Raphael, the healing angel, is mentioned in Revelations as the angel who carries prayers to God’s throne.  Uriel, not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, is the illuminating angel.  While other angels are mentioned in the Bible, it should be noted the Roman Catholic Church officially recognizes only the first three, but does not deny others.  The reason, I have read, is the Catholic Church limits the number of recognized angels to try to eliminate angel worship, since worship is reserved for God.  Apparently, there was such a movement some years ago.

The Seven Virtues Coin Series

In 2012 the Principality of Andorra issued a seven-coin series on the seven virtues.  Each virtue has its own coin.  These coins are shaped like church windows, and colorized beautifully, but differ from the stained glass coins above in that there is only an image of a window on each coin.

The Seven Virtues Coin Series

Andorra 10 diners Seven Virtues series Iustitia Art colored si...

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Andorra 10 diners Seven Virtues series Caritas Art colored sil...

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Andorra 2012 10 Dinar Seven Virtues “Fortitudo”Coin 31.1g

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2012 Andorra the Seven Holy Virtues Colored Window Shaped Silv...

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Biblical Art Coins

For many years, the Bank of Israel has issued new additions to the Biblical Art Coins series.  These coins depict stories from the Old Testament, which is known as the Torah to the Israelis. 

 

The silver coins in this series are a wealth of information. 

 

These coins are silver, and quite collectible.

Biblical Art Coins

Israel Mint Biblical Art Silver 3 Coin Proof Set .925 Jonah Sa...

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Israel 2012 Biblical Art Daniel in the Lions' Den 2 NIS Silver...

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2007/2008 Biblical Art "Wolf With the Lamb" PR Coin 1 NIS 13.9...

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Israel 2007 Biblical Art "Wolf and Lamb" Proof-Like Silver Coi...

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Old Testament Coins

Old Testament Bible stories have been captured in coins, and the images are fantastic. There are quite a few such coins in gold and silver, and these can be inspiring to view..

Eurostar Coins

The European Silver Programme, also called the Eurostar Programme and the European Silver Programme, started in 2004.  It is to have silver coins available to European collectors, and members of the European Union are allowed to participate or opt out annually.  Each year has a different theme.  In 2016 a five-year series on the Ages started within the series.  In 2018, the Baroque Age allowed participants to recognize art of that period, much of which is religious in nature.

 

Italy issued a coin honoring Veronica Wiping the Face of Jesus, and Malta issued a coin honoring the baptism of Jesus.  Technically, the coins depict the pieces of Baroque art.

Eurostar Silver Programme

The European Silver Programme is a program whereby European nations can offer silver coins that showcase their histories and cultures.

More Religious Coins and Images

Inspiring beauty of stained glass and renowned art can come from collectible coins with a religious image, especially when the religious image is brightly colored.

Final Thoughts

Many other coins depict religion.  The British have Saint George on the Sovereign which is the gold bullion coin, and the silver bullion Valiant.

 

Coins depicting art often appear, and occasionally the subject of that art is religious.

 

I know there are other examples, such as an oval shaped coin series of stained glass window coins. 

 

One problem I came across in looking up details for this article is a beautiful six-coin series.  The coins are plated in gold, and are arguably the most beautiful.  However, these coins claim to include relics.  The class of relic is not specified.  I am aware there are different classes of relics, and these are probably something like a piece of cloth that was touched to a physical relic, but I find buying and selling relics problematic.  I will not divulge the country, nor the series, since this is too close, and possibly over the line, with simony.  So, I will not promote these coins here.

 

This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting, and allow me to earn from qualifying purchases. As a Viglinks, an Ebay, and an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

The intro image is our image.

Updated: 06/12/2021, blackspanielgallery
 
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blackspanielgallery on 06/20/2021

Surprisingly, there are two. One is Mary, Imaculate Conception, and the other is Saint Catherine of Siena, according to WIKIPEDIA (Not an authorative source). I am uncertain if they are official, and doubt any would be added in today's society.

I recall Frank commenting on a past article regarding Saint George as Roman, and gave English saints he would prefer, such as Edward the Confessor.

Veronica on 06/20/2021

This is a fabulous article and it something I have never considered before. I had never thought about Saints on coins .

St George is the patron Saint of England so that would be why he's on a sovereign. Here's a question ...does the USA have a patron saint ?

blackspanielgallery on 06/12/2021

I suppose the confussion about euro commemorative coins comes from the fact Andorra uses its obsolete currency. Other countries use the euro for commemorative coins. But, Andorra did not join the European Union. It is a city-state between France and Spain, so it uses its neighbors' currency, but has no authrity to mint euros since it is not a menber of the EU. This is a unique situation.

blackspanielgallery on 06/12/2021

First, in the United States we have two sets of commemorative coins, the modern ones and those that ended in the 1950s, many being struck much earlier.
There are euro commemoratives, such as the Eurostar program. Austria mints many, and so does France. Spain mints some. Cryptocurrencies are not physical coins, so there is nothing possible there.
Commemorative coins are called ncc which stands for noncirculating commemotrative coins. They are not intended for use, although many are legal tender. They usually are issued in capsules which are capable of preventing much physical wear, and with air not circulating within the capsule environmental damage is less likely.
I suspect the relics are like one I have, given to me by one of my sisters. I have a piece of cloth that was touched to a relic of Blessed Selos, and since the class of relic is not identified I suspect it is a similar lower class relic, abthough I cannot be certain.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/12/2021

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
In particular, it fascinates me the different shapes that commemoratives assume. It also fascinates me how far back they go. Is there any such claim by any culture anywhere to producing the first non-circulating commemoratives?
Is it possible that alternatives, such as cryptocurrencies, and euros will evolve to issuing commemoratives?
Stained glass commemoratives sound beautiful, but how well would they survive environmental and temporal conditions?
It makes me wonder how the relics in question were obtained that they're being included in commemoratives.

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