Coins in Modern Olympic Games | The Royal Mint

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History of Coins in Modern Olympic Games

Coins – an Olympic Tradition – Ancient & ModernHelsinki 1952 Games 500 markkaa coin

The relationship between the Olympic Games and coin production is one which spans back to the original Games in Ancient Greece and right up to the present day. It was believed by the Ancient Greeks that the circulation of commemorative coins was a method through which members of the general public – that perhaps were unable to witness the Games – could still enjoy and be involved in the sporting events. The tradition was introduced to the Modern Olympic era by the Mint of Finland for the Helsinki 1952 Games, with the issue of a 500 markkaa coin. The practice was neglected for the next 12 years, until the 1964 Tokyo Games were commemorated in their 100 and 1000 Yen coins.

Reaching the Next Level

The number of coins designed to celebrate the Games began to increase steadily from the 1972 Munich Games, until 1980 when Moscow really took this to the level of significance that it holds today. The hosts of the Olympic Games have mostly continued to produce coins in increasing numbers ever since. This has led to Olympic Games commemorative coins becoming an exciting challenge for coin collectors.

Coins at the Winter Olympic Games

The Winter Olympic Games began in 1924, but it was not until 40 years later that the first coins were manufactured to commemorate them. It was Austria that started the trend, and it has steadily grown in popularity over the last few decades. As opposed to waiting four years for new Olympic coin issues, with the inclusion of the Winter Games collectors now have an occasion to celebrate every two years!

The Royal Mint’s London 2012 Collection

The Royal Mint continues to build on this tradition with their current range of coins that offers something for everyone to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Whether building a collection of 50p coins from loose change, or investing in the stunning London 2012 gold kilo coin, these will certainly be prized memorabilia for years to come. The collection is proving immensely popular, so be sure not to miss these desirable items - browse and buy from the full range of products by viewing our London 2012 Collection.