2016 dated COTY Best Crown is Best Mistake in the Series

Collectors love a good mistake.  The Krause nominators made a whopper of a mistake and no one in the broader panel of judges caught it.  In fact, the coin received the plurality of votes to win the category of best crown.

50 Euro silver Van Cleef & Arpels

The winner of the 2016 dated coin in the “Best Crown” category is the 50 Euro silver Van Cleef & Arpels 110th Anniversary commemorative.  It is part of a series of coins struck each year to honor a French company.

While the design of the coin is indisputably attractive, the problem with the coin in this category is that it violates the rules of the category established by Krause and followed for the last 35 years.

The rule for “Best Crown Coin” requires a coin “with all-around appeal, both from an aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.  Consideration should be given also to the unique theme which the coin reflects, and how the coin fits historically into the “crown” definition, including a minimum size requirement of 37mm and a maximum size of 45mm.”

While the large 50mm coin is aesthetically pleasing, it’s mintage of only 500 does not suggest that has much of a market—until being awarded “Best Crown Coin” by Krause.  A five-ounce silver coin like this is generally more collector oriented with a specialty market within the collector base.

However, since the Van Cleef & Arpels commemorative became part of the series of Krause Coin of the year coins, they have all but disappeared from the market.  For those who collect only the “Best Crown” coins, the 2016 Best Crown is an interesting anomaly increasing its appeal.

Popularity, sales, and circulation are not issues that the Krause judges consider for the “Best Crown” category.  The problem with this coin winning the “best crown” award is that it does not reflect the historical tradition of the “crown” either in weight or size.  The rule is quite strict that a crown cannot exceed 45mm.  This coin is 50mm and weighs a whopping 163.8 grams—yes, “grams,” not “grains.”  That is 5.8 ounces!  To make matters worse, it has a “mother of pearl insert.”

The 50 Euro Van Cleef & Arpel commemorative is part of the series of Paris Mint coins that celebrate the tradition of French craftsmanship mixing metal and diamonds.  This issue celebrates the 110th anniversary of Van Cleef & Arpels.  The design is a “pattern inspired by nature or the imagination such as birds, flowers, or fairies…tributes to craft skills and to the tradition of jewelry making,” according to APMEX.

The Paris mint made a 10 Euro scalloped version of this coin design.  It weighed in at 22.2 g and it is 40mm.  Arguably even this coin does not meet the definition of “Best Crown.”  The coin is scalloped!  However, one might have argued that if holed coins like the Australian Dollar and Dump could be called a “crown,” why not a scalloped coin?

The discussion and debate about this coin are likely to continue when the nominating committee meets in Wisconsin to discuss the nominations for 2017 dated coins.  However, the discussion about what many believe to be a “mistake” will likely result in the implementation of a better set of checks and balances during the nomination process.

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