Ancient gods have spawned a healthy new selection of numismatics over the last couple of years, featuring deities worshipped in ancient times. Fortunately in those polytheistic times, there were no shortage of gods and thus no shortage of subjects for new coins. Equally fortunately, most of them are resplendent with striking imagery and fascinating stories of their origins and adventures. First choices are usually the Roman or Greek gods, but we think the Norse gods are far more interesting, and it seems many mints agree. One of the bigger sets of coins featuring Norse mythology, the nine-coin Norse Gods series debuted in September 2015 with a pair depicting the two big guns, Odin and Thor. The second pair arrived in November of the same year and featured two lesser deities, Hel and Tyr. February 2016 saw some more high profile Asgardians, Heimdall and Loki, and a seventh, Frigg, debuted in May.
Following the trend for antique finish and high-relief, these are two-ounce (62.2g) fine silver coins, and far more classical in design than the Perth Mints Gods & Goddesses of Olympus ranges. They certainly don’t enjoy the Max Relief of the superb Legends of Asgard series from the Choice Mint, but these are impressive designs regardless , and shaping up to be a really excellent set. Unlike the Choice Mint coins, whose range of subjects will encompass not just the gods, but also the many facets of Norse mythology, this series is concentrating only on the main pantheon of gods, of which there are numerous characters.
The coins are chunky beasts, choosing to keep the diameter at a standard 38.6mm and using the extra metal to greatly increase the thickness of the clean rimmed coin. We’re not great fans of this and would rather see some of that extra metal used to extend the diameter to 45mm or more, but that’s a minor criticism at best. Like many high-relief coins, there appears to be a slight concavity to the reverse side, thus enhancing the effect. The artwork is attractive, for us especially so on the Thor coin, and the written inscriptions are well integrated into the design, consistent and not excessive. Overall, we’re impressed with this series, the art design being different enough to the other coins in this genre to warrant a second look on that point alone.
Struck by the masters at BH Mayer in Germany, undoubtedly one of the very best mints in the world from both a quality and a technical point, there are few qualms on quality and collectors will find little to complain about. It looks like all nine coins will have been released in under a year, so while each coin is cheaper than the average for this burgeoning genre, the condensed release schedule still commands a sizeable investment over a relatively short period, more than double pretty much every other competing series. Selling for around the €100 mark, they’re pretty good value given the pedigree and limited mintage, and deserve to be far more popular, something the recent appearance of the set at the Royal Canadian Mint will do a lot to rectify. At the time of writing two coins are yet to break cover, but we’ll add them as time goes on.