PALAU, 20 dollars, 2017,Obverse: colored head of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting as a mosaic, Reverse: arms, REPUBLIC OF PALAU GREAT MICROMOSAIC PASSION, $20 GMP, Edge: plain with stamped number 428 / 499, colorized silver, 65mm, 93.3g, 3 ozT, case and certificate, small nick in case, small nick in certificate, coin is gem Proof

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The Palau government has found it worth its while to make a lot of art coins for collectors in the 21st century.

The Palau islands were settled by people from Southeast Asia. The colonial succession was Spain (1885), Germany (1899), Japan (1919), and USA (1947). Independence came in 1994 when they voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia.

Coin collectors tend to be geographically oriented. If they are not patriotically collecting the coins of only their own country, or sentimentally some other country, then perhaps they will collect a region. The Pacific islands that start with Borneo and progress eastward to Hawaii and Easter Island are culturally very varied and spread across an expanse of water three times the size of Asia. Size of these islands ranges from Australia to Nauru. Population of Indonesia 1/4 billion, Tonga 100,000. Coins were made in Indonesia 1000 years ago if not earlier.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.