Or should that be “Get Your Money for Nothing” (sorry Mark Knopfler)?
The tour legacy continues! The London Mint Office has issued a commemorative Official Elton John Coin to mark the end of Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.
The best bit? It is offered FREE plus £2.50 postage. You can only buy one per household.
Seeing the promotion pushed on Facebook, I ordered the silver coin version for free a few weeks ago, although a gold version is available at £19.99. Not being familiar with the company I wanted to trial this service. The package landed on my doorstep this week. So here’s my personal review.
It comes packed well in a gatefold sleeve so that you can open it up and revel at some of Elton’s landmark achievements.
The coin is in a plastic pouch and neatly stowed in the top pocket of the gatefold. There are spaces for four more coins. They are also larger pockets than the Silver coin, so we must assume the coins will be larger, or that they come in some special pouch. So, that is space for the gold version of the silver coin which I didn’t buy, as well as for a further series of three gold other Elton image coins, each of them priced at £39.95 plus £3.95 postage. You are offered the priority to purchase these if you bought the silver/gold one. It is touted as the first-ever Elton John coin collection. Please note that is 3 x £39.95 if you go along with this monthly subscription. Buying the first coin, as I did, carries no obligation to buy more.
From a strictly collectable point of view, the only gold ones I really like are the first one, the Chicken outfit from Elton’s The Muppet Show appearance in 1977, and my favourite, the middle one, where Elton “prays” at the piano altar during the 1975 Dodger Stadium gig, perhaps one of the top ten Elton live photos of all time. The other gold coin looks quite chaste for my liking! All three are from the 1970s.
As they claim it is the first-ever, you get the impression that they might do justice to some of Elton’s later looks, like the Lord Choc Ice suit he wore for the 400,000 free concert in Central Park, New York in September 1980! His 1984 Boater hat from Wembley Stadium, or the Tina Turner look from 1986 Leather Jackets Tour. Or how about the Mozart look from Melbourne 1988. And we haven’t even started on the 1990s yet! So could this be To Be Continued?
Certainly, never say never.
Is it a good investment?
This is a collectable. While there is no guarantee of its investment value as determined by coin industry experts, there is no doubt that the 500,000 issue of the Gibraltar silver coin should create some interest among Elton fans, even now that touring is over. Perhaps given fans are now in legacy mode, it might even help. But whether it produces a premium value among Elton fans, remains to be seen.
Now who is London Mint? Well, as one who has been interested in postage stamps (can you remember my efforts to release a perfectly legal Hercules 50th birthday stamp collection for Elton via Localpost UK in 1997?) you will understand my keenness to ensure that this series scrubs up as ours did. And later led to the issue of the Elton John UK postage stamps in 2019. Trivia – in the past only dead non-monarchs could appear on Royal Mail stamps. Witness Peter Sellers only appeared after he died. That is why we worked with Localpost under the Telecommunications Act of 1984. But this rule was relaxed a few years ago and now you can be alive too!
As coin experts will tell you, the official producer of British coins for circulation is the Royal Mint. They are owned by His Majesty’s Treasury and have been going since 1,100 years. So, since Saxon times. What is more, the Royal Mint already beat them to it, with a collectable Elton coin produced in 2020 and widely promoted through Rocket Club at the time. As more than one variety was released, the second in a fetching multi-colour look, it is debateable whether London Mint’s is the first-ever such coin collection. But it is certainly the first time that an Elton coin collection has included four unique designs. And it is the first during the reign of King Charles III.
London Mint was launched as a company in 2006 and peculiarly uses a .org web suffix rather than co.uk. They are since 2016 owned by the same company who owns the Norwegian Mint that produces coins for Norway and several other nations.
The advertising says the coin has been minted with the permission of Elton John, and so bears the official “E” logo on the advertising. There is no suggestion that any of the proceeds from the sale of this coin will be presented to a charitable cause, such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, although the marketing pays tribute to EJAF. When Royal Mint issued their 5 pound uncirculated coin they contributed to the Elton John UK Charitable Foundation and held an auction to raise additional funds for this worthy cause, as Elton John World reported extensively at the time. It is peculiar that Elton’s management would give permission for this latest issue so soon after the Royal Mint.
The new coin also claims to be legal tender. But as London Mint also work with other jurisdictions, such as Gibraltar, it is unclear whose legal tender they mean. On the back of the coin that I received it says Gibraltar and Half Crown. In terms of denomination, Crowns went out when the UK decimalised its currency in 1971. With collectables you may find that retailers have no obligation or desire to accept such a coin, which, along with acceptance by an English court of law in payment of a fine, is the generally regarded basis for evaluating the LEGAL tenderability of a coin.
Finally, what are the coins really made of? Here the company is very clear. Base metal. The gold coins “have been richly-layered in pure 24-carat Fairmined gold.” As it says in their marketing letter. That means gold-plated to you and me. They are not solid gold. You would not find a coin cheaply if solid gold.
So is there a catch? Well, if you want a super collectable then no, this is great! I’m tempted by the gold series too. But if you want an investment, please consult a numismatist first!
It is also unclear how many gold coins are being pressed, but we might assume that if 500K of the silver, then not less than the same for the others that complete the gatefold series. Upon following the purchase process, the company states that the first gold coin is limited to 49,999.
But if you buy the silver coin and hold your purse strings firmly, how can you go wrong for the price of a coffee?
There is no doubt that the coin is a super collectable, which London Mint proudly advertise as their “Gift to the Nation”. We are certainly thrilled that they have produced this coin series.
A free coin of 500K and you only paid for the packaging and the post? Smartly delivered? Yes, it is worth having something that heralds the end of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. For the rest? You’re at your own crossroads.