Despite predominantly sticking with licenced properties these days, like Disney and Star Wars, the New Zealand Mint does keep some nice regular series on the go at the same time. Done in the style of their Warriors of History and Battles That Changed History ranges of silver coins, the mint’s latest series leaves factual history behind and saunters off into the popular numismatic subject of mythology.
Called Mythical Dragons, this series will showcase some of the legendary creatures that have been so pervasive with their presence through the lore of so many old cultures and civilisations. It’s been speculated that dragons have appeared in the legends of so many cultures through the discovery and faulty attribution of fossils to these creatures. It’s very easy to see a Protoceratops skull, or a Megalodon tooth, or a raptor claw and believe they must have come from some fantastic behemoth . We know better now, but back then, legends were born.
The first of them is the Red Dragon. Now proudly sitting on the Welsh flag, it’s first literary association with Wales was in the Historia Brittonum, written around AD 829. Said to have been King Arthur’s battle standard, the dragon was also used by the English Tudor monarchs in their coat-of-arms. Even as recently as today, the Red Dragon has a place in the heraldry of the British Isles, and is one of the Queen’s Beasts.
The coin weighs in at two-ounces of 0.999 silver and is antique finished. Like the aforementioned series, the reverse face has an element of the artwork picked out in some good quality colouring. In this case, and for obvious reasons, it’s the dragon that gets the treatment. The background artwork is kept seperate from the dragons with a clear delineation – a marked change from he Warriors and the Battles series. The obverse is a pretty standard one, with just the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surroundeded by coin spec inscriptions.
Packaging looks great. We like the little book-style boxes this mint has used before and the one used here looks better than ever, having a medieval leather-bound look. Just 2,000 of these will be minted and each comes supplied with a serialised certificate of authenticity. Available now.