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Turning Up the Numismatic Volume

By Mark Harvey - June 28, 2023

What brings together modern coins, a modern holiday, and maybe a touch of “Modern Love”? That’s a lot of “m”s, but the answer brings us one more: music. World Music Day, also known as Make Music Day, began in Paris, France, on June 21, 1982. Since then, it’s reported that the celebration has grown to be observed in about 120 countries worldwide. Singers, bands, composers, and even songs themselves have been featured on coins for many years. For this piece, we’ll be focusing on artists you’re likely to come across just going through your radio presets.

2020 David Bowie Proof Gold £100. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

At the risk of arranging this record collection autobiographically like Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, the first singer I was likely aware of on this list, thanks in large part to 1986’s Labyrinth, is none other than David Bowie. Influencing generations in music, artistry, and fashion it’s no surprise that he would be honored in Great Britain’s Music Legends series. Available in both uncirculated and proof formats, the coin showcases the recognizable lighting bolt fans are most likely to associate with the artwork of “Aladdin Sane” or “Rebel Rebel.”

2020 Queen Proof Gold £100. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

If there’s one band that’s become almost inseparable from David Bowie, it’s Queen. Even today, 40+ years after the song’s original release, it would be pretty easy to come across “Under Pressure” even on the shortest of drives. I may even be willing to wager that it would be difficult to go 24 hours without hearing the iconic sounds of Queen. Between radio, television shows and commercials, movies, and even live sporting events, you’re sure to hear something from their amazing catalog.

1996 Gibraltar Elvis Presley Crown. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

What would a list of music coins be without the King of Rock and Roll? Fittingly portrayed on a 1 Crown denomination, Elvis is celebrated in perhaps an unexpected way with this piece, which you can see commemorates the “centenary of the cinema.” A quick peek at the Internet Movie Database ( reveals 31 acting credits for Elvis Presley beginning with Love Me Tender in 1956 and ending at the 1969 film Change of Habit.

1995 Jamaica Bob Marley $50. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

There are few artists that are as synonymous with a genre as Bob Marley. Even those who cannot name another reggae act still probably recognize songs like “One Love” or “Jamming” right away. You may find yourself wondering what exactly the “OM” seen after his name stands for. According to the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica’s Honors and Awards System, “The honour of the Order of Merit (OM), ranked third in order of precedence, may be conferred upon any citizen of Jamaica or distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (an honorary member) who has achieved eminent international distinction in the field of science, the arts, literature or any other endeavour.”

2018 Australia AC/DC 45 Years of Thunder Proof $5. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Our final act just might have the coolest array of designs available, and I’m not just saying that as a fan who first discovered them listening to a live album on a Sony Discman some 30 years ago during a school field trip. With colorized coins, a piece made to look like a vinyl record, and the guitar pick-shaped proof above, AC/DC’s decades of “High Voltage” rock are celebrated by the band’s home country of Australia.

These are just a few of the options available to audiophiles, and we would encourage you to see if your favorite band or singer might be immortalized on currency. For those about to rock – and collect – we salute you.


  • “Jamaican Honors and Awards System.” Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Article provided by PCGS at
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