Witness the cold hard gaze of the Gorgons stare with Art Mint’s beautiful new Medusa coin

One of the most distinctive figures in ancient mythology, the tragic figures of Medusa and the Gorgons have been the subject of countless pieces of art over the last couple of millenia, as well as appearing in numerous books, movies and tv shows in the modern age. There’s very little that looks like Medusa, and she remains one of the greatest and most inventive creations of the ancient world.

There have only been a few Medusa coins in the past, most notably Numiartis’ fine efforNumiartis’ fine effort, but they tend to portray Medusa as a character from the story. Art Mint seems to have taken a differnet path with this beautiful new Miroslav Hric designed coin, by portraying Medusa almost as you would imagine the ancients would have. Our first look at the coin immediately evokes a visit we made to Pompeii a few years ago, as the design and the Romanesque border around the edge look like something a citizen of the doomed town would have had attached to the front wall of their house, but made of stone, although lacking the coins subtle modern artistic touches.

Struck in three ounces of fine 0.999 silver, the design is clean and displays high levels of detail-packed relief. The Roman border pattern frames the best depiction of the Gorgon we’ve yet seen in numismatics. Very three-dimensional, it is, as we suggested earlier, something you can almost expect to see in a Roman villa. In each eye is a small (1.5mm) white diamond. We find that most coins that embed gems or Swarovski crystals in them are not improved by their incorporation, but like CIT’s superb Mongolian Wildlife ProtectionMongolian Wildlife Protection series, the placement in the eyes works to enhance the coin and gets a thumbs up here.

We’ll have obverse images soon, but expect it to be antique-finished like the reverse face. The coin will come in a neat wooden box with a serialised certificate of authenticity. Just 250 of these will be minted. A beautiful, classical coin that will start to ship in a couple of months time.

THE LEGEND OF THE GORGON, MEDUSA

Daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, Medusa was the most famous of the Gorgon sisters. Female, winged, ugly, and with hair formed of poisonous snakes, Medusa is one of the most iconic monsters in Greek mythology. The only one of the three Gorgon sisters to be mortal (the immortal others were Sthenno and Euryale), anyone who looked into her eyes was turned instantly to stone.

Said by Hesiod in his Theogeny to have lived on the island of Sarpedon, somehere near Cisthene,  Herodotus placed the Gorgons in Libya where he said the original myth began with the Berber religion. In the myth she was said to have been a beautiful, golden-haired maiden, a priestess of Athena living a life of celibacy. She was wooed by the god Poseidon and forgetting her vows, married him. Athena punished her by turning her hair into venomous snakes, her eyes into a blood-shot stare, and her skin into a harsh greenish parody of its former beauty.

Seeing herself, Medusa fled, to wander Africa, dreaded and shunned by all. She became a hateful creature that matched her looks, until killed by the Greek hero Perseus who beheaded her. Perseus used her head to turn his enemies into stone until he gave it to Athena to place on her shield.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 3,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) To be confirmed
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Two inset diamonds
MINTAGE 250
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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