Yes, happy New Year 2014. But what is 2014 for numismatics?
2014 is... 50 years since the greatest American coinage reform In 1964, the price of the silver in American coins was quickly reaching face value. The US government tried to freeze the price of silver, but the economy had to get moving. So, the government instead decided to remove silver from American coins. This caused a coin shortage, as the old silver coins were removed from circulation by speculators. The only coin in which silver stayed was the half dollar, though the silver content was reduced to 40% (from the normal 90%).
2014 is... 100 years since the beginning of WWI WWI was one of the worst wars in human history. It also left behind a long numismatic trail. One of the opening events of WWI was Germany invading Belgium. The Germans produced a very interesting occupation coin series for Belgium. Another effect on numismatics was the shortage of silver in Germany. This meant that Germany's grand commemorative series had to be slowed down. In addition, mintages were cut, which resulted in many rarities. The final event that I will mention is the fascinating story of the Tabora emergency coinage. During WWI, the last German East African coins were made in a makeshift mint (actually a railroad station) in Tabora. Many of the lower denominations have die cracks, attesting to the harsh conditions at the mint. The most famous coin produced there was the beautiful and rare "Tabora sovereign".
2014 is... 200 years since the first restoration of the Bourbon dynasty Napoleon was a military genius who conquered much of Europe. However, by the 1810's, it was clear that his reign wouldn't last forever. At the battle of Leipzig, he was defeated and exiled to Elba. Napoleon was replaced with King Louis XVIII, heir to the fallen Bourbon dynasty. His coronation resulted in new coins for France, with King Louis's portrait on the obverse, and some Fleur-de-Lis on the reverse (a symbol not used under Napoleon).
2014 is... 75 years since the beginning of WWII WWII was certainly a historic war for numismatics. Germany invaded most of Europe, and occupation coinage was produced for much of the occupied countries. In France, aluminum coins were produced by he Vichy regime. Belgium and the Netherlands produced zinc coins with Germanic designs. In Czechoslovakia, Germany created two puppet states: "Bohemia and Moravia" and Slovakia. Bohemia and Moravia made zinc coins with Czechoslovakian designs, while Slovakia made a distinctive series which included silver commemoratives. Denmark and Poland restruck their prewar coins. However, one the most interesting stories is that of Croatia. Croatia was invaded by Italy at the beginning of the war. One and two kune coins were produced. Almost he entire mintage of the one kuna coins was destroyed, and the mintage for the 2 kune was very low. There were also many patterns produced.