Numiscollect replicate the incredible early 16th century Aztec Calendar on their latest silver coin

One of the most intriguing civilisations of the last millenia, the Aztec Empire wasn’t a particularly long-lasting one. Starting as an alliance of three city states called Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan, the Aztecs ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until 1521. It wasn’t long after its formation that Tenochtitlan became dominant, and the Aztec Empire was effectively ruled from there.  The whole thing was crushed by Hernan Cortes and his group of conquistadores with their native allies. Tenochtitlan is situated in the centre of what is now Mexico City.

In the few years following the defeat of the Aztecs, a large calendar stone was buried in the Zocalo, the main square of the capital. Rediscovered in late 1790, it was mounted to the outside of Mexico City Cathedral, where it remained for the next 95 years. Now residing in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, this is no trinket and clearly of importance to the Aztecs. Its size alone indicates great significance.

How big is it? At 3.58 metres in diameter, 0.98 metres thick, and weighing almost 22 tonnes, its production must have been difficult, but you certainly couldn’t tell from the exquisite finished article. If it were formed in silver, it would weigh just shy of 104 tonnes – in gold, over 190 tonnes. The surface of the stone is a depiction of the central elements of Mexica cosmonogy

The coin itself is a pretty faithful representation of the original relic and seems to show an extraordinary amount of detail. While the coin has a weight of three ounces, it has benefitted from smartmintings prowess, and so manages to finish up with a healthy 65 mm diameter. Obviously, that’s enabled Numiscollect to pack in as much of the Calendar Stone as possible, which they’ve proceeded to do.

Fans of the Libertad and the Bank of Mexico’s own calendar coin, of which there are plenty, which will find much to love here. It’s a cut above on the quality front, as most smartminted stuff is, and the isolating of the inscriptions on the reverse into a border is the right thing to do. The obverse is quite clever, although not as successful. A large question mark holds a pattern of symbols from various old cultures and it sits on a background that looks a little like the patterns you would find in a Zen garden. The series title is inscribed in an arc along the lines of the concentric rings, with the coin inscriptions located in a border like the one on the reverse.

We’ve yet to see packaging, but it will come in a box and with a certificate of authenticity. Just 333 of these will be minted and it should ship in the first half of December. Price seems to be around the €400 mark. A fine looking piece and the first in a new series called Archaeology and Symbolism. Looks like one to watch.

AZTEC CALENDAR STONE

The four squares that surround the central deity represent the four previous suns or eras, which preceded the present era, 4 Movement (Nahuatl: Nahui Ōllin). The Aztecs changed the order of the suns and introduced a fifth sun named 4 Movement after they seized power over the central highlands.[8] Each era ended with the destruction of the world and humanity, which were then recreated in the next era.

CENTRE

In the center of the monolith is the face of the solar deity, Tonatiuh, which appears inside the glyph for "movement" (Nahuatl: Ōllin), the name of the current era. The central figure is shown holding a human heart in each of his clawed hands, and his tongue is represented by a stone sacrificial knife (Tecpatl).

4 WIND

The top left square shows 4 Wind (Nahuatl: Nahui Ehēcatl), the date on which, after 364 years, hurricane winds destroyed the earth, and humans were turned into monkeys.

4 JAGUAR

The top right square represents 4 Jaguar (Nahuatl: Nahui Ōcēlotl), the day on which the first era ended, after having lasted 676 years, due to the appearance of monsters that devoured all of humanity.

4 RAIN

The bottom left square shows 4 Rain (Nahuatl: Nahui Quiyahuitl). This era lasted 312 years, before being destroyed by a rain of fire, which transformed humanity into turkeys.

4 WATER

The bottom right square represents 4 Water (Nahuatl: Nahui Atl), an era that lasted 676 years and ended when the world was flooded and all the humans were turned into fish.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 Cook Islands
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 65.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Smartminted
MINTAGE 333
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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NUMISCOLLECT
By |2018-09-27T16:09:56+00:00September 27th, 2018|Categories: Culture, History, Silver, Cook Islands, Numiscollect|0 Comments

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