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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 12, March 19, 2006, Article 24

MORE ON LIVING PEOPLE ON COINS

Pete Smith writes: "I am a big fan of Laetitia Casta, an
indication that I have other interests besides numismatics.
However, I believe it is incorrect to refer to her as a living
person portrayed on coins. She is a professional model and is
not named on the French coins.

In America we might look to the example of RandyíL Teton, the
model for the Sacagawea dollar. No one mentions her as a living
person on an American coin. I suspect there may be many other
examples of models used to create the image on coins and paper
money."

Dr. Kerry Rodgers writes: "Dear fellow inmates - I donít think
you are really trying hard enough when it comes to living non-heads
of state (HoS) on money.  I had regarded the first E-Sylum article
as a gently ironic comment, but was prompted by the second to
treat the subject for real.

Can we just stick to coins for the moment, and leave aside those
who are clearly alive and not an HoS, but are related to or married
to a one, such as Prince Charles, along with his siblings, children,
nieces and nephews? If you agree, then the name Neil Armstrong might
strike a chord.  You can find him on numerous coins, as you can
Young, Crippen, Schirra, Eisele, Cunningham, Cernan, Stafford,
Kerwin, Weitz and others from the NASA team.

I donít have time to check who are still alive of this lot but
Neil certainly was when I last caught him on telly.

Living film actors proliferate as subjects and are rapidly becoming
passť. Lord of the Rings and the Big Ape were mentioned by earlier
correspondents. You can now add the cast of Narnia.  But the
films-on-coins thing was kicked off some years back by Harry Potter
while most of the main officers and some of the crew of the USS
Enterprise Mk I & II have been around for many years, although one
or two have now beamed-up for the last time. Anything that will
make money for the mints is the name of the game these days.

To this end, there are numerous sports stars.  I am not a
sports-jock and wouldnít recognise many faces, let alone most of
the names.  However, when it comes to coins, I am aware the living
legends of tennis feature as well as Formula One stars. And I
believe a guy called Pele who once played the beautiful game may
be out there somewhere.  Is Greg Louganis still alive?
He was on a couple of coins back in 1988.

And does the Dali Lama count as an HoS these days?  If not,
does Christ qualify?  Are we talking temporal or spiritual HoS
here?

I have only an hour to spare and donít have the latest SCWC to
hand, but a more careful reading should produce many more
examples. I would expect this to prove to be the case among
readers who have a detailed knowledge of cultures that are not
of European origin and/or do not have an English-speaking heritage.

I have avoided citing the coins of the countries involved in my
quick survey. I prefer to challenge readers to locate these items
by way of a quiz of my own. You donít have to confine your research
to the coins of Liberia, Marshall Islands, Isle of Man, Cook
Islands, Gibraltar and Niue, Congo but they are a good place
to start.

I would respectfully suggest the author of the original Forbes
article was a little short on research.  Perhaps the question
would have been better confined to paper money but even that
is beginning to lose its edge when it comes to non HOSs.
It is sad to see old traditions die."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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