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Art of the Day: Tuesday July 04, 2006

Industrial Transition Saarland World Coin Necklace, Germany, France

- by John Wik

This week's theme: Money

It is sought, earned, stolen, won, needed, wanted, despised and loved. It makes the world go round, changes everything, is the root of all evil. There is old money, new money, dirty money and found money. Bank it, invest it, spend it - can't live without it.

-Melissa Morton


Art: Industrial Transition Saarland World Coin Necklace, Germany, France by Artist John Wik
This coin has a really interesting history that to me symbolizes a transition from socio-political shenanigans and widespread waste of resources. I had never seen a coin like this before, but I love the mechanical design so I did some research and found this info on a web page devoted to coins from nations that no longer exist: "Saar is an important center for coal mining and heavy industry located in Germany along the French border. Most of its citizens consider themselves to be of German ancestry. Following World War II, France occupied the region and established Saarland as a separate nation, in an effort to cripple Germany's industrial base. Saarland was set up with strong economic ties with France and France assumed control of its foreign affairs. France even issued coins for Saarland. The coins were struck at the Paris mint and were the same size and composition as the contemporary French coins and could be interchanged with French coins within Saarland. Not long after the coins were issued, Saarland voted to reunite with Germany and this short-lived issue came to an end." (joelscoins.com) Very unusual coin and the history exemplifies what appeals to me about world coins - that history evolves and we evolve with it, leaving remnants of our culture as we progress. We can look back on our coins/currency and find much of what is most lovely and most frightening about human social structures. I've been collecting coins for almost 20 years and I still see new coins. They offer a glimpse into previously unknown aspects of world history and bring me closer to my fellow humans. Plus many of them are really cool!

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