Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The sport of ice hockey has been the topic of a number of coins and medals over the years. A coin would be an item with a legal tender value assigned to it and issued by a country. A medal constitutes pretty much anything else. The coins issued by Pinnacle in 1996-97 depicting players of the National Hockey League would be an example of a medal.
Coins can be circulating or non-circulating. The Canadian 2007 ice hockey 25 cent coin issued in rolls by the Royal Canadian Mint for the 2010 Olympic Games is a circulating coin. The 1991 $200 gold coin also issued by Canada would be an example of a non-circulating coin. It has an assigned value of $200, but the intention was to sell the item to collectors, not have stores accepting them in exchange for goods or services.
In 1960-61 Sherriff Foods began issuing plastic coins in their desserts. That set consists of 120 coins showing players of the different teams of the NHL. You will see these advertised as coins even though they are promotional medals. These items remain very popular collectors’ items today and are undoubtedly the inspiration behind the issue of many other medals by companies such as Coca Cola and Duracell batteries.
Looking at the success of hockey card collecting, many companies have taken that idea to include medals. The Katch metal products of the mid to late 1990s and the 1996 hockey greats coin collections are fine examples of this.
Teams have also issued their own medals. Most were used as giveaways to attendees of certain hockey games. The Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild have all issued such items.
Municipalities have even issued coin type items as items referred to as trade dollars. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Calgary, Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta and Quebec, Quebec have all issued quality examples of these depicting certain players on theirs respective hockey teams.
Are these items worth collecting? If you enjoy them, the answer is a resounding yes. Some are scarcer than others, so do your research before buying them. Many are very common and easy to find while others will be a more challenging. This combination makes the collecting of hockey coins and medals very rewarding. Good luck in your search!