One of the pioneers of ultra high relief (UHR) coin strikes and a company still pushing boundaries today, the Helvetic Mint has been producing this type of coin for many years now and amongst its many releases is its flagship Swiss Wildlife range. A series of one-ounce fine silver coins, Swiss Wildlife looks at some of the incredible fauna that inhabits this beautiful alpine country.
Struck in fine 0.999 silver and given an antique finish, each coin is rimless, allowing the design to spread right up to the edge of the coin. Combined with a complete lack of reverse-face inscriptions, the designs are uncluttered and given complete prominence, free of distraction. With designs crafted in a more traditional way, sculpted in plaster rather than CAD, they have a very organic, natural look.
Five issues are available, each with a 999 mintage limit. The designs are a good mix of animals; three mammals and two birds to date, all of them creatures you’d associate with this mountainous region of Europe, if not exclusively Switzerland. There’s clearly room for more issues in the range and we hope that’s the case. Two coins launched in 2014, two in 2015, with a single 2016 coin that didn’t debut until mid-2017 indicate a slowing of releases.
The obverse features exactly what you’d expect from a Niue Island issued coin – an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (by Raphael Maklouf for a change) surrounded by all the usual inscriptions. The coin comes supplied in one of the clever latex-skinned ‘floating frames’ as pioneered by Prinz with their Nimbus range. They’re a cool way to show a coin like this. Selling for around the €75 mark, the coins are decent value. A fine series – one taking a popular subject and presenting it in a different way.