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Riot's in Tibet - Coins of Peace
March 17, 2008

Tibet in Turmoil

A peaceful protest by a group of Buddhist monks in Lhasa, Tibet, was blocked Monday by People's Army personnel resulting in a violent week-long uprising. Fires, tear gas, rocks flying through the air and cannons being fired has been the norm as years of oppression by the Chinese government has Tibetans boiling over in their long term struggle to regain independence.

The exiled Tibet government, lead by the worlds most well known living religious leader, the Dalai Lama, once again called for peaceful demonstrations and dialog, but the Chinese government has blocked most news of the riots or pleas from mainland Chinese television and continues it's repression with Tibet under marshal law with new curfews in place this week.

Numismatics has honored countless world leaders known for their forceful leadership or military acumen on coins from any number of countries throughout the world. The long enduring peace proponents of the 20th Century are a bit harder to find on coins, but they are still around for us to seek out and collect. The Dalai Lama's portrait, for instance, can be found on this lovely 1996 100 Dollar gold coin from Liberia, KM#252.

Mahatma Gandhi is featured on the Rupee and 10 Rupee coins of India from 1969. Chad honored Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy with with a 100 Francs and a 200 Francs respectively, in their 1970 commemorative series. Pope John Paul II has been honored on many gold and silver issues of Poland, as well as a few other countries to which he paid visits over the years. Nelson Mandela has been commemorated on at least one Liberian coin. These are just the few that come directly to mind. I am sure there are many I'm forgetting.

Building a collection of Peace Encouraging World Leaders could be an exciting numismatic challenge and a great way to subtly voice an endorsement of their methods. Which coins do you think of when considering a collection along these lines?

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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