Irregular Postings on Coin Collecting & Numismatics - Both Canonical & Conanical

A Scion Society of The Baker Street Irregulars

Numismatists Do Not Fear Change

Gibraltar Marks The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1995)

Gibraltar Marks The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1995)

Gibraltar Set
1994 Gibraltar 100th Anniversary of the Return of Sherlock Holmes Designs of the 8 Coin Set

Just ask any fan of the world’s first consulting detective. Sherlock Holmes lives! He is alive and well, considering his age, and settled comfortably in Sussex raising bees. If this were not true, why then would the Baker Street Irregulars have celebrated his birthday Jan. 6?

To these devotees, Holmes turns 140 and his birthday dinner has been an Irregulars tradition since 1934. Toasts are proposed and glasses raised in honor of the occasion, but this year there is something more. For the first time, legal tender coins are available. The coins salute the Centennial of the Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes first ventured into the public eye in 1887 as the lead character in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Study in Scarlet. Holmes, along with his biographer, Dr. Watson, were well-received by the public. There were demands for more adventures. Too many to suit Conan Doyle, who preferred to write historical novels. In 1891, Conan Doyle believed he had found a solution to his self-created dilemma when he wrote The Final Problem. He tried to finish Holmes by having him fall into the broiling caldron of the waters of Reichenbach Falls in the mountains of Switzerland.

The world demanded his return. Conan Doyle obliged and in 1894 brought Holmes back for more adventures and he continues to live to this day in the hearts and minds of mystery fans.

To commemorate the centennial of Holmes’ return, the government of Gibraltar authorized an issue of eight legal tender, one crown coins. By tradition, each piece displays a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch of Britain’s smallest crown colony, on the obverse.

On the other side appears scenes from some of the most popular of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Empty House, The Final Problem and The Three Garridebs.

There also are three scenes from 221-B Baker St., Holmes’ legendary residence: The final coin in the eight-piece series relates directly to Gibraltar. This coin depicts the mystery ship Mary Celeste. Found adrift without crew, the ship was brought into Gibraltar. Her mystery was popularized by Arthur Conan Doyle in Cornhill Magazine in 1884.

The Gibraltar coin series is available in three different fabrics: gold, pure silver and cupro-nickel. The cupro-nickel and .999 fine silver coins are standard silver-dollar size. The gold piece is somewhat smaller and contains one-fifth ounce of .999 gold. Prices range from $6.95 for a cupro-nickel specimen to $175 each for a gold coin.

Originally published by the Los Angeles Time Syndicate – January 8, 1995


A prolific writer, Edward C. Rochette¬†has authored several numismatic books, including The Romance of Coin Collecting, Medallic Portraits of John F. Kennedy and Making Money: Rogues and Rascals Who’ve Made Their Own. For many years, he wrote a weekly coin column nationally syndicated by the Los Angeles Times and a monthly column for COINage magazine, and penned his monthly column The Other Side of the Coin for the ANA’s The Numismatist magazine.

2 Responses to Gibraltar Marks The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1995)