Cameroon tackles the multi-armed, elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha for its second World Cultures coin

After our reveal of the beautiful Kapala Skull coin last September, followed by a first look at an actual coin just two months ago, we’re very fortunate to be able to bring you the second of the Mint of Poland’s ‘World Cultures’ coins. This series has a more open theme than many of this mints releases in the mythology genre, choosing to dip into cultures around the world rather than focus on a single pantheon, or story.

After starting in Tibet, the series has moved just a short hop across the subcontinent to India and has chosen the hugely distinctive deity, Ganesha, as a subject. Collectors of this mints many ancient mythology series will know what to expect. Rimless, ultra-high-relief, and two ounces of fine silver in weight, this has become the de facto specification for the genre, and one that allows a decent sized diameter (45mm), while maintaining impressive levels of relief.

Relief is clearly in abundance here. The many-armed, elephant-headed Ganesha is very dimensional, and exhibits tons of fine detail. Embedded in his head is a green agate crystal – a series signature as the Kapala coin had a blue one in a similar position. A patterned heart border frames the god and we’re particularly impressed by the overall design. If the Kapala coin is an indicator, a Black Proof background field with an antique finish elsewhere

We stated at the time that the Kapala coin obverse would be one common to the series, but we’re glad to say we were wrong. The design on this second coin is all new and heavily themed to match the culture represented on the reverse face. Also packed with detail and lots of great touches, it helps to lift the whole coin above the norm. In fact, that’s how we view the whole coin. We love the Greek/Roman/Egyptian stuff, of course, but it’s sometimes cool to cast a wider net at some of the less well known figures and the mint has hit the bullseye here. Shipping in late June, this is limited to 500 pieces and comes boxed with a C.O.A. Love it. We look forward, as always, to seeing actual finished coin images.

WHO IS GANESHA?

Found throughout the Indian subcontinent, the Hindu god Ganesha is also worshipped by Jains and Buddhists. This god has a very striking appearance and eschews the usual ‘beefed-up’ human morphology for something quite unique. Most noticeable is the elephants head, and this has been found in representations of Ganesha dating back well over 1,500 years. Unlike most Hindu deities, Ganesha has had many subtlety different looks (pose, number of heads, hands, what he’s carryng, etc.) and there are multiple origin stories, but the fundamentals remain the same.

The mint has chosen the most popular pot belly, four armed interpretation – one widely seen today. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits.

Quite an involved and ever changing deity – we’d recommend further reading as it’s impossible to cover it all here.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 2,000 Francs CFA
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique and Black Proof
MODIFICATIONS Ultra-high-relief, Green Agate inset
MINTAGE 500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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