Commemorative coins are coins that were issued to commemorate some particular event or issue. Most world commemorative coins were issued from the 1960s onward, although there are numerous examples of commemorative coins of earlier date. Such coins have a distinct design with reference to the occasion on which they were issued.
History of Commemorative Coins
Throughout history, specially in the early times, old coins have been used to tell stories of glory and achievements of various states. For example, Romans issued coins that had war scenes highlighting the victory of their forces against enemies, or some motif that depicted subjugation of foes. In medieval times, coins were largely issued to mark the coronation of a monarch. In Europe, and in India during the Mughal Period, coins were often scattered among the subjects of a kingdom to gain their patronage. These were referred to as 'largesse' coins. Issuance of such coins continued in Europe till the 19th and 20th century, although in more recent times, this practice has been stopped. Early commemorative coins were valuable because, more often than not, they were made from precious metals. However, after the World Wars and economic crisis that all nations faced, commemorative coins emerged into two distinct classes. While some of them continued to be minted on precious metals, some commemorative coins started being made from base metals that were meant to be used in circulation as other currencies.
The non-circulating commemorative coins started to be treasured by numismatists, not only for the patterns and intricate designs that were engraved on them, but also for the fact that they were not available for general use. These coins, often made from precious metals like silver and gold, are often used by the state as a source of revenue. This is specially true with the third world countries that mint these coins for foreign markets. Commemorative coins have also been used by countries to fund special projects. A good example of this is the 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program of the US, the proceeds of which go to the American Eagle Foundation of Tennessee that works for the conservation of the Bald Eagle - the national emblem of the country.
If you are a genuine coin collector, you have to have commemorative coins. They not only give pleasure to you as a hobbyist, but will add to your unique collection.