Ammonites came in different sizes, so why not ammonite coins? Evolution of Life hits a kilo.

It was in mid-2015 that CIT Coin Invest showed off the first of its new prehistoric themed coins. Coming as quite a surprise at that years ANA show, it was called Evolution of Life and depicted a rose-gilded ammonite on a background that looked like a fossil matrix. Issued for Mongolia, it had a similar basic style to this producers hit Edangered Wildlife range, but did away with the Swarovski crystals, for obvious reasons given the fossil subject.

Just a year prior to that, CIT had taken their equally well regarded Tiffany Art coin, then having its tenth anniversary, and produced a stunning one-kilo version which has remained on the release schedule ever since. They don’t issue many kilo-class coins, but we’re glad that when they do one, it was the superb Evolution of Life which was chosen. This one is being handled by European producer AllCollect, but it’s a larger copy of the CIT-issued original.

Nothing in the last three years has diminished the design of this ammonite design. It’s a beautiful looking piece that we can only imagine will look exceptional at over thirty times the weight. With a diameter of 100 mm, every little piece of detail will be visible. You can probably tell that this was one of my favourite designs of the last few years, but this supersize version is sadly out of my league. The picture of the big and small coin together is an approximated mock-up I did and gives an indication of just how much bigger the new beast is.

The obverse is also a straight copy, although with a larger denomination, of course. We’ve not yet seen packaging, but both CIT and AllCollect treat their premium releases very well, so we’re not expecting a tarted-up old pizza box for its presentation. The mintage is just 99 pieces, and it should retail somewhere between €2,500-3,000. It should be available to pre-order shortly, but won’t ship until Jan/Feb next year.

AMMONITES

First appearing in the Devonian period and descended from an animal called a Bactrite, Ammonites roamed the seas of the earth from around 400 million years ago, and didn’t die out until around 65mya, a staggering period given the relatively infinitessimal time mankind has been around. At every one of the world major extinction events only a few species of ammonites survived, but they always bounced back until their luck finally ran out, along with the dinosaurs, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

Ammonites were predatory mollusks, very mobile and with tentacles. Very close in appearance to the still-living Nautilus, they were in fact more closely related to the octopi. Usually spiral in shape, although straight species aren’t rare, they remained buoyant using a siphuncle, basically a biological pump and siphon system. Each of the segments in the shell were a chamber that the animal resided in and the pattern of the edge of each chamber, called a a suture, is what marks out each species.

Many species probably carried ink sacs for defence, at least some were plankton feeders, and many were munched on by huge undersea reptiles called Mosasaurs. Fossils are plentiful and range from the tiny up to a colossal two meters in diameter! Some, especially in Europe, are so beautifully preserved that the original mother-of-pearl sheen is still fully intact. Others are less well preserved but show extraordinary internal detail with some having quite amazingly complex suture lines. Regardless, fossils are plentiful and make a great way to date rock formations.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 20,000 Togrog (Mongolia)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 1,000 grams
DIMENSIONS 100.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, partial rose gilding
MINTAGE 99
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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