7 Largest Coins in the World

The world’s No.1 is as heavy as a car. Presenting the biggest coins in the world.

When the Royal Mint minted a massive £10,000 coin in 2021, it got me wondering what the biggest coins in the world were. So, I reached into my bag of tricks and I came up with this; the seven most massive, very valuable coins in the world.

Note, I am only including circular metal coins with a denomination.

This may sound a little obvious yet there is a ‘massive coin’ from Sweden minted in 1644 which I would call a copper slab with hallmarks imprinted on it, and there are Rai Stones on the Micronesian Islands up to 3.6m (12ft) in diameter which served as a form of money, and therefore have been termed ‘coins’ by some, but not moi.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the seven biggest coins (by diameter), starting from seventh:

7: Queen’s Beasts Coin 

The newest coin in this list, minted in 2021 (theguardian.com)

The Queen’s Beasts Coin was minted in 2021 by the UK’s Royal Mint (RM) and is an outstanding piece of craftsmanship.

This gold coin is 20cm (7.9in) in diameter and weighs 10kg (22lbs). Unsurprisingly, it is the largest coin minted in the RM’s 1,100-year history.

It is meant as the final piece of a larger collection on the theme of heraldic beasts.

When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953, 10 stone statues lined the Queen’s route to Westminster, including; a lion, griffin, falcon, bull, yale, greyhound, dragon, unicorn and a horse.

The RM subsequently made these beasts the theme of said coin collection.

With one side showing the side profile of Her Majesty’s head, the other side of the coin has another side-head profile beautifully surrounded by engravings of the 10 beasts in stunning detail.

This whopper set a new standard in coin minting. It took 400 hours to craft. They spent four days alone polishing it.

It is a £10,000 denomination coin, yet its real value is somewhere not far below the million-pound mark, so don’t forget which pocket you left it in.

6: 1000-Mohur Jahangir Coin

…to the oldest in the list, minted in 1639. A wonderful piece of craftsmanship without the state-of-the-art tools of modern mints (twitter.com)

A number of historical records tell of giant coins being forged by ancient empires.

Coins said to weigh over four kilos were minted in the Abbasid Empire, for example, and a very hefty coin was gifted by a Mughal Emperor to his court jester, but one that he bore a hole through the middle for his jester to slip his head through and bear it on his shoulders.

It was heavy enough for this poor-not-poor jester to be quite helpless and the man even had the nerve to complain out loud. That’s gratitude! Pffft.

None of these coins survived history, except one.

The fourth Mughal Emperor Jahangir minted the 1000-mohur Jahangir gold coin in 1639 weighing in at just under 12kg (26.5lbs) and with a 20.3cm (8in) diameter.

The inscription on the coin is in Persian. In the centre is the emperor’s name and title and surrounding the circular core are two couplets meticulously set on the coin with all the rules of calligraphy faithfully observed.

Considering it was made without modern minting technology, it is a fantastic piece of craftsmanship.

It is owned by Mukarram Jah, the Nizam of Hyderabad and was valued at 10 million US dollars in 1987, so who knows what its value is now.

5: Vienna Philharmonic Coin

This coin commemorates one of the world’s most famous orchestras (aguanews.com)

The 15 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra coins were made to mark the 15th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic bullion coin.

They were minted in 2004 by the Austrian Mint. They each have a diameter of 37cm (14.6in), 2cm (.8in) thickness, and are 31kg (68.3lbs) of 24-carat gold.

Dubbed ‘Big Phil’, these priceless discs are inscribed with the image of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s famous hall on one side and instruments on the other, plus the coins’ 100,000 Euro face-value. Their true value was put at 1.1 million Euros each in 2014.

4: Big Maple Leaf Coin

Don’t lift it alone; that is 100kg of gold coin (nbcnews.com)

The Big Maple Leaf Coin hails from Canada, and isn’t a unique piece — six were forged in all. Just 5 remain after one was whisked away in 2017, however.

A gang of thieves made off with one of the coins on loan to the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany. Although the cops did track down the thieves eventually, not so the coin; it is believed to have been melted down for its gold.

Minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007. These giant doubloons are 50cm (19.7in) in diameter, 2.8cm (1.1in) thick and weigh a back-breaking 100kg (220lbs). They are made from 99% pure gold.

As a member of the British Commonwealth, these Canadian giants have the customary side profile of Queen Elizabeth II’s head on one side and three elegantly stylised maple leaves on the other.

Like the 1 Tonne Gold Kangaroo Coin, (see below) it is a million-dollar denomination, yet it was valued at four million US dollars in 2007.

3: ‘100 Years of The Koruna’ Coin

130 kilos and 100 million crowns (eprogram.cz)

This gargantuan gold coin was commissioned to celebrate the Czech Republic’s currency reaching its 100 year anniversary.

The old Czechoslovak state was founded just after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. This fledgling state launched its shiny new currency called the Czech Crown (Koruna) a year later. 100 years on and a bumper era of economic success with this currency to show for it, the Czech Mint chose to splurge on a chunky, gold commemorative coin.

The ‘100 Years of The Koruna’ Coin is 53.5cm (21in) in diameter and 4.7cm (1.9in) thick. And with a weight of 130kg (287lbs) they should include a forklift in the price for any prospective buyer.

This mesmeric piece depicts the birth of the Czechoslovak Koruna among ears of wheat on one side and, in homage to the famed One-Crown coin that first went into circulation in 1922, the Czech lion is shown onto its reverse side.

With a 100 million-crown denomination, this equalled a $4.6 million valuation in 2019.

2: Ivory Coast Silver Elephant Coin

The Largest silver coin in the world (cointelevision.com)

In 2nd place is the one entry in this list not forged from gold, yet it’s still an impressive piece as the largest silver coin on Earth.

Issued by The Ivory Coast in Africa but manufactured by Geiger Edelmetalle, this set of 15 coins was minted in 2016 to champion the preservation of the continent’s iconic megafauna such as the African Elephant.

Although every coin measures 65cm (26in) and 54kg (120lb) in diameter and weight respectively, the 99% pure silver coins are handcrafted, meaning each is unique from the others in the set.

The front of each coin features the African Bush Elephant standing tall, along with the French phrase “Le Monde Animal En Peril,” translating to ‘The Animal World In Peril.’ The reverse side displays the Ivory Coast coat of arms and gives the nominal value of 1,000,000 Francs (although their true values are many times higher.)

A proportion of the profits from each coin were allocated to conservation projects that protect endangered species in the Ivory Coast republic.

1: One Tonne Gold Kangaroo Coin

The largest coin on the planet (coinnews.net)

The Perth Mint in Australia produced this absolute monster of a paperweight, the One Tonne Gold Kangaroo Coin — The world’s largest coin!

Minted in 2012, it has a diameter of 80cm (31.5in), is 12cm (4.7in) deep and is 1000kg (2,200lbs) of pure gold.

With a face-value of a million dollars, this giant coin was actually valued at 53 million dollars when it was unveiled.

It was made to be the showpiece of the Perth Mint ‘Australian Kangaroo Gold Bullion Coin Series‘ and is a triumph of coin minting.

On one side is Queen Elizabeth II’s side profile with ‘ELIZABETH II’, ‘AUSTRALIA’ and ‘1 MILLION DOLLARS’ inscribed around the edge, and the other side features a bounding red kangaroo surrounded by stylised rays of sunlight and bordered by the inscription ‘AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO’, ‘1 TONNE’, ‘9999 GOLD’ and ‘2012’.

It is legal tender, but please don’t try taking it down to your local corner shop to buy a bottle of milk; they won’t thank you for the cash in change they’ll need. Besides… it weighs an absolute tonne! (grabs coat)

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Chris Foster, The Millionaire in So Much Debt, He Committed Familicide

The story of Chris Foster, the man who committed familicide rather than face the bailiffs

One of the most unsettling crimes you’ll ever read about; on the 26th of August 2008, Chris Foster murdered his wife and teenage daughter and set his house on fire before killing himself.

What went so wrong for the once-successful millionaire that he killed his family? Was he evil, or is our obsession with money the true root of this sad saga?

It was in Maesbrook village this tale unfolded, a tranquil, richly green locale in England where city slickers who make their fortunes on the mean streets of Birmingham retreat to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Expensive cars and grand houses are everywhere in this well-to-do Shropshire village, as a result.

Into this environment Chris Foster, with his wife Jill and daughter Kirstie, fitted right in.

Ulvashield – Chris’s Eureka Invention

Chris had been an ordinary salesman from Burnley until he had a eureka moment in 1988.

Inspired by the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion of that year, Chris seized upon an idea to invent a new oil rig sealant. By 1996 he had invented and patented a product he called ‘Ulvashield’ complete with a five-star safety rating.

Orders began pouring in and the fortunes of Chris’s newly formed company skyrocketed. Flush with success, it wasn’t long before he started living and dressing like the millionaire he’d become.

Millionaire Businessman

And he was clearly a very materialistic man. Chris dressed well and liked nice holidays. Soon after moving his family into the village, a fleet of cars came through the gateway of his new home, Osbaston House — Porcshes, an Aston Martin, and a 4X4 for Jill.

He bought horses for Kirstie and spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a gun collection which he loved to shoot as an avid member of the local shooting club.

He always looked the part; a flash, successful millionaire.

But that was the first nail in his coffin; Chris spent money like it would never run out… Except soon it did.

Although the man was clearly smart in that he had invented a great product, that didn’t make him a great businessman. A judge later described Christopher as “bereft of the basic instincts of commercial morality” and “not to be trusted”.

Chris’s Downfall

Despite appearances, Chris couldn’t afford his lavish lifestyle and his financial struggles were causing untold stress (caledoniankitty.co.uk)

By 2005, Chris’s extravagant lifestyle had outstripped his earnings and he had racked up debts of £2.8 million.

To maintain his non-stop splurging Chris was happy to cut a few corners; he breached the contract he had with the suppliers of Ulvashield by finding a new, cheaper supplier. But the manufacturers took legal action against him for damages, and the wheels of his downfall were set in motion.

By 2007, his company was liquidated.

It’s unclear how much his family knew about their circumstances now that Chris had no income, but friends remained completely in the dark whilst the man kept up a façade of affluence, continuing with social gatherings and bragging to friends that he had a multi-million-pound business deal in the pipeline.

Behind Chris’s big smile and warm handshake, however, his mind entered a dark, dark place. Now that he had no business to attend to only his 15-acre property could occupy his time. Chris pottered around, keeping the grounds of his house immaculate, even moving his tractor from spot to spot such was his restlessness.

As he tinkered away, his thoughts dwelled increasingly on his predicament and his fears of the unbearable shame that would come once the stark truth of his failings was exposed. The Summer of 2008 had been exceptionally wet and grey. One imagines it did nothing to keep the dark clouds off his mind.

It’s likely Chris started to plan his end, and that of his wife and daughter’s, as that bleak Summer waned with the coming of August. Chris by now had no less than 20 bank accounts overdrawn and didn’t even own his home anymore.

Then the day came he’d been dreading; the housekeeper he still employed found a letter attached to the gate. It was from the bailiffs informing him that they were coming to repossess all his possessions within a week. She later recalled how Chris had looked distressed but said nothing.

The Murders

Relaxed and smiling: Chris, Jill and Kirstie on their last day alive (telegraph.co.uk)

On the day this sad saga ended the Fosters were invited to a friend’s barbeque and clay pigeon shoot. Chris spent his last day on earth enjoying the hobby he loved.

It’s chilling to note that none of the guests that night noticed any red flags with Chris, who seemed in particularly good spirits. It is a paradox that a suicidal person can be the happiest they have been in a long time knowing the end is nigh. A photo of the family shows all three smiling at the camera and looking relaxed.

One can only wonder what the mood amongst the Fosters was like that night, on the drive home, and getting ready for bed.

Was Chris quiet or chatty? Did Jill and Kirsty detect an air that something was off? Was there an air of foreboding?

Around 11.30pm Chris told his daughter to go to bed.

Around 3am Chris, 50 years old, shot his wife Jill, 49, in the back of the head. He then went into his daughter’s room and shot Kirstie, 15, in the back of the head too.

He went on to kill all the family pets; the four dogs, three horses; even the ducks and chickens.

Chris then doused the house, the stables and his cars in heating oil to set them alight.

He also made sure to block the driveway with a horsebox and shoot out the tires in order to prevent first responders from quickly extinguishing the fire. The man was so bitter he wanted his creditors, the people who’d supposedly put him in this predicament, to get absolutely nothing out of him.

As the fire took hold, it filled the house with smoke and Chris went to rejoin his wife. He succumbed to smoke inhalation.

It took three days for firefighters to extinguish the fire and allow the investigators to begin their grim task of sifting through the mangled wreckage of Chris Foster’s life.

Is ‘Money Evil’ …or Was Chris?

The chilling tragedy shocked the nation and commentators inevitably tried to make sense of what had happened.

A once successful man was so ashamed of his business failings, he destroyed everything he loved and owned before ending his life. Why?

In the days after, amongst the cards and flowers left by the gateway was a note saying ‘Money is the root to all evil.’

It seemed to sum up the sentiments of many bereaved. Here was an average man who achieved something special; he invented something so great it made him a millionaire, and he shouldn’t have had to worry about money ever again.

Yet instead, it hooked him onto the vice-like trappings of materialism and vanity. Marketing and media make us covet fast cars, swanky clothes and everything else in between, so once Chris got a taste of the good life he was addicted like a heroin addict no matter how much debt he got into, until his creditors hounded him into a corner he couldn’t escape.

Chris appeared to be a loving father and husband, and one friend described him as ‘down to earth’, ‘open’ and ‘warm’. Yet, was he such a nice guy?

Many described Chris as ‘warm’ and ‘friendly’. Yet, others who knew him better called him a ‘narcissist’ and ‘highly controlling’ (mirror.co.uk)

Well, Chris was described by others variously as a ‘schoolboy bully’ a ‘narcissist’ and ‘highly controlling’ who was known to have hit his wife at least once. Some commentators suggested Chris’s murder spree was the last act of control over his family, to deny them a future free of his domination.

Whatever the truth, the sad Foster family saga is testament to Capitalism’s fickle fortunes and reminds us of the maxim: ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall’.

Chris Foster, the big man with a big smile, fell very hard indeed.

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