Just in Time for Halloween: The Dracula Collection

The Real-Life Dracula: Prince Vlad & the Order of the Dragon

Since his first appearance in Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror novel, Dracula has been a fixture in the popular culture. The blood-sucking vampire has appeared in dozens of movies, including the iconic 1931 Bela Lugosi film, and has inspired countless imitations. While much has been embellished, the Dracula character is based on a real person—the Transylvanian prince Vlad III—and actual historical events.

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The Nobel Prize Comes to Belarus

Congratulations to Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. This is the first time the coveted award has gone to a native of Belarus.

In honor of Alexievich, we are today featuring this set of seven colorful banknotes from the former Soviet republic.

BELABN7SETThe set comprises Belarus 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 Rublei and 50 Kapeek, most of which show animals. For wholesale information on this remarkable set, click here.

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The Biblical Magi: A Set of Three Coins

Three wise men, kings from the East, follow the Star of Bethlehem to the manger where Mary lay with the baby Jesus, and present the newborn king with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The story is an indelible part of Christian culture that is renewed with every singing of “We Three Kings,” with every Nativity display on every lawn at Christmastime, with every celebration of Twelfth Night, which commemorates the day that the Magi arrived. Magi Box 3 coin set Continue reading

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Twilight of the Monarchies: A Collection of Eight Coins

Monarchy is the oldest known form of government. In Sumeria and Egypt, the ensi and pharaoh, respectively, ruled over their people with an iron fist; it was believed that these individuals were conduits to the gods, an idea that became known as the Divine Right of Kings. From the dawn of recorded history until recent memory, almost every civilization was ruled by a sovereign, whether king or queen, sultan or tsar, kaiser or khan, pasha or shah.

Parliamentary rule, the earliest form of democracy, appeared in Athens and Rome and elsewhere, but anti-monarchism did not begin in earnest until 1649, when the British Parliament overthrew King Charles I. Even then it took three centuries and countless false starts for republicanism to prevail.

After the Second World War, in the period historians refer to as the “short” twentieth century, many of the world’s monarchies fell. This remarkable collection features issues from some of the world’s last kings:

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Greece Wants to Cut its Bills in Half? It Wouldn’t be the First Time.

Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece, is faced with an impossible task: making good on its massive debt obligations, while also alleviating some of the drastic austerity measures imposed to generate the necessary revenue.

As the fate of the world economy rests uneasily on the finances of the Greeks, it’s worth noting that not quite a hundred years ago, Greece found itself in a similar financial pickle—and escaped in a brilliant fashion that would have made Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle proud.

Aristotle: no dummy.

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