Olympic coins are often minted by the host country of the Olympic Games (or Olympic Winter Games) as a means of raising revenue to finance the Games. This practice follows that done by nations that produce Olympic Stamps. However, while Olympic Stamps date back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, Olympic Coins were first minted by the host nation in 1952 when Finland minted a single 500 Markka Finnish coin to raise revenue for the Helsinki Olympics. The next issuance of Olympic coins, and the first for an Olympic Winter Games, occurred in 1964 for Innsbruck, when Austria struck a commemorative 50 Schilling coin for the event. In 1964, Japan produced two coins – 100¥ and 1,000¥. In 1972, Munich produced the first large-scale series of Olympic coins, with six coins of differing designs, although all were for 10 DM. Montréal (1976) put the Olympic coin practice into overdrive with a series of 28 silver coins, and the first gold Olympic coins, both valued at $100 (Canadian). Since Tokyo and Innsbruck in 1964, every Organizing Committee, with the exception of Grenoble in 1968, has had revenue produced from the sale of Olympic coins in their home nation. The most prolific nation to date has been Australia for the 2000 Sydney Games, with 59 coins in their series.
In addition, many other nations also now produce Olympic-related coins, often honoring some of their Olympic Heroes. Between 1992-96, in honor of the 1996 centennial of the modern Olympic Games, the IOC oversaw the production of an international commemorative coin program. The series was struck as follows: 1992 – Royal Canadian Mint; 1993 – Royal Australian Mint; 1994 – Monnaie de Paris; 1995 – Münze Österrich; and 1996 – Banknote Printing Works, the Bank of Greece. There have also been several books produced concerning Olympic coins. The first notable one was Coins of the Modern Olympic Games by Michele Menard (self-published in 1991), which dealt only with coins produced by host nations, and is listed as Volume 1. Volume 2 was to deal with coins produced by non-host nations, but never appeared. In 1994, Victor Gadoury also self-published the book Olympic Medals and Coins, 510 BC – 1994. This book covered medals and coins, and had information on coins of the Ancient Olympic Games, and coins produced since 1952 by both host nations and non-host nations.