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Royal Dutch Mint Issues Augmented Reality Coin
By Lisa Bellavin
August 05, 2013

In 2011, the Royal Dutch Mint created the world’s first coin containing a QR (Quick Response) code, for which it won the 2013 Coin of the Year award at the World Money Fair in Berlin, sponsored by Krause Publications. In 2012, the Mint continued its preeminence in the field of numismatic technology by issuing a 5 Florin coin on behalf of the Central Bank of Aruba, which is touted as the world’s first coin with augmented reality technology. The coin is partially colorized and features the nation’s symbol, the Aruban Burrowing Owl, lovingly called the ‘Shoco’ by the island’s inhabitants. An extra layer of information is applied to the coin that when scanned by a smart phone, allows objects to appear on the phone’s screen.

The Shoco is a small owl, which exists only in Aruba. It is a rare small bird of prey standing only twenty centimeters high, which digs holes underground for nesting. The bird has remarkable long legs and big yellow eyes. It hunts both day and night, and its diet consists of insects, small rodents, lizards and small birds.

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Unfortunately the owl is currently threatened by tourism and invasive species. It is estimated only 200 pairs of Owls exist in the wild today. The people of Aruba are very proud of their Shoco and its picture can be found on many items, such as banknotes and stamps. On January 23, 2012 the Shoco was declared the national symbol of Aruba.

In 2012, the Mint created a Minted Photo Image (MPI) technique for the coin, which imbeds a code within its surface that can be recognized by a smart phone. To access the coin’s inherent technology, the user will need to download a free app called Layer onto their smart phone. The coin can then be scanned by the phone’s camera and invisible technology imbedded in the coin will cause the world of the Shoco to come to life for the user on the screen.

Each coin comes fitted with a presentation box and has a Certificate of Authenticity containing further information about the Shoco and a user’s guide to the Augmented Reality feature.

• Metal: .925 Silver
• Weight: 11.90 g
• Diameter: 29 mm
• Quality: Proof
• Face value: 5 Florin
• Mintage: 2,500

For more information, visit the Mint online at

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