World Exclusive look: ‘Max Relief’ Odin coin launches Choice Mint & Legends of Asgard series

At long last it’s time for the big reveal and our World Exclusive first look at the first all-new issue from an all-new mint, and it’s been well worth the wait. With the classic gods of antiquity always being a hugely popular subject for numismatics, back to ancient times in fact, this coin has an audience from day one. Throw in beautiful artwork and a groundbreaking depth of strike and we think that when you’ve reached the bottom of this article, you’ll agree that this one is quite special.

Struck in three ounces of fine silver with an antique finish, Odin kicks off a the Legends of Asgard series from a name we’re sure you’ll be hearing a lot more of, the Choice Mint. We’ve seen the Olympian gods on coins of late from a few mints, but the Norse gods are arguably a more interesting bunch, and with Marvel Comics movies enjoying staggering success recently, with their depictions of Thor, Loki and Odin amongst others, it’s a great time to get them on some coins. Starting with the big daddy himself is a wise decision.

Issued for Tokelau, the coin is struck in what Choice calls ‘Max Relief‘ because they believe that comparing the strike of this coin with a standard ultra-high relief (UHR) coin is not realistic. They’re right. Not having a coin in hand we can’t measure the difference between the coins highs and lows, but with UHR coins topping out at under 2mm, this looks double that at least. An initial glance over the images has you wondering how that depth is even possible, approaching that of some of the many amazing Brass medallions issued in China by the Shanghai Mint which are actually cast, not struck. We discuss the coin itself throughout the article, but suffice to say we think this one is very special indeed. Integrity is important to us here and if we write it, we believe it. A very cool design, far different to the Perth Mints very stylistic and opinion-dividing Gods of Olympus coins, this classically styled piece is like nothing else out there. It’s a credit to the guys at Choice that they’ve launched with such an ambitious piece and pulled it off in style.

Packaged in a high-quality wooden box with an enclosed and numbered Certificate of Authenticity, the number on the COA is also laser etched into the rim of the coin, still quite a rare thing, but a nice touch we’d like to see more of. Limited to just 1,500 pieces and available from a select group of dealers, the coin is going to be a popular beast in our view. Available to order very soon, hopefully in the next week or so, this isn’t a coin that you’ll have to wait ages for as the Choice Mint made the decision to announce close to the availability date. It’s refreshing to see a mint do so much right for a change. Brilliant stuff. Well done guys.

Over the weekend we’ll post up an exclusive discount code for 4% off from one of the dealers selling it, and we’ll post up any from the others also if they wish.

A video of the coin spinning is about as good a look at a coin you’re going to get short of having one in your hand, and they guys at Artisan have done a fine job again. Compared to the line art put out by many, often months in advance, Choice are to be commended for not revealing the coin until they were a reality.

Keep your eye out for some really cool touches. The interlocking triangle symbol above Odin’s head (1:03) isn’t simply hinted at, it’s achieved. The feet on the steps convey depth and perspective (0:40), and this is definitely a coin to view in directional light that casts shadows and makes the design really come alive.

As you can see, it’s an amzingly impressive achievement and a fine choice of subject. Odin is seated and holding his famous spear called Gungnir, told in legend as fashioned by dwarves and so well balanced that it wouldn’t miss a target no matter the skill of the thrower. Either side of him are his ravens Huginn and Muninn who bring Odin news of what is happening in Midgard, and at his feet are his two wolves, Geri and Freki. Only Odin’s eight-legged flying horse, Sleipnir is missing, understandable given that beast could fill a coin on its own.

EARLY ARTWORK SAMPLES

THE CHOICE MINT

The Choice Mint is an all-new coin producer based in the United States and run by the guys that also run Choice Bullion, a well respected American coin dealer. There’s very clearly a desire there to be the best and to push boundaries. The debut coin you see here is all the more remarkable for being the first issue from the fledgling company and we’d be very surprised if future releases didn’t surpass even the high standards set here.

This isn’t all they have planned either, with other non-Legends coin series currently being designed we’ve got lots to look forward to and predict that on the evidence in front of us here, that these guys will become respected as serious players in very short order indeed.

Their new website is currently a little light, as you’d expect, but it will fill out in coming weeks.

LEGENDS OF ASGARD

There are to be several coins  in the series, all in the same style. Note that the series isn’t called Gods of Asgard, but Legends, thus opening up a whole raft of characters that aren’t of the select few gods that make up the pantheon in Asgard.

Three coin sets have proven very popular as the desire to get a set is overwhelming amongst collectors. Those that can’t get a set will often not buy any of them at all, so balancing the series size is critically important. It’s fair to say that Choice have got it right with Legends of Asgard. If these appreciate on the secondary market as we suspect they likely will, keeping the collection of a set both practical and realistic will be the key to the long-term success of the series. The competitive price we understand these will sell at (to be confirmed) and groundbreaking strike, will stoke initial demand and our own advice is not to hang around if you want one.

MAX RELIEF

The coin market is absolutely awash with acronyms and invented phrases that have no real merit. We all know what a high-relief strike is, and recent issues from some mints lik the Helvetic for example, have justified the use of the term Ultra High Relief.

What Choice have here is clearly far beyond what we’ve come to know as Ultra High-relief, which generally tops out at sub-2mm in difference between the peaks and troughs of a coin strike. Take a look at the video and you’ll realise the depth of relief on this coin is closer to a traditional cast medallion from China than an ultra-modern struck numismatic. As a result, the Choice Mint has termed the phrase Max Relief, and it’s hard to deny them the suitability of the term. I’d previously not have thought this depth of strike possible on a silver coin, but can’t be more pleased to see it can be done, and to such a high standard.

ARTISTS PLASTER SCULPTS

Despite the move to technological methods of coin design pioneered by such luminaries as the Mint of Poland with some of their incredible designs, that is far from the most appropriate method to use in many cases. For a technical piece like the Fortuna Redux, Pyramids of Egypt, or Seven Wonders coins, the high-tech approach is critical to achieve the ultra-fine tolerances needed to make them work cohesively.

Legends of Asgard is all about art, and the artist has used the method that yields the finest result, sculpting the design in plaster. There’s a natural flow to designs done this way – a lack of regimentality that is utterly crucial to bringing classic art to life. It’s a laborious, but highly effective method, and is sill used extensively to create some of the finest designs around. The Helvetic Mint uses the same method for it’s ultra high relief coins where like this coin, CAD-based systems would struggle. The artist has done an incredible job bringing their drawn art to three-dimensional life.

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WHO IS ODIN?

Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. Odin continued into the modern period to be acknowledged in rural folklore in all Germanic regions. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions historically inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, and the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages, including English.

In Anglo-Saxon England Odin held a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, and he is frequently referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples. While forms of his name appear frequently throughout the Germanic record, narratives regarding Odin are primarily found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland, primarily around the 13th century, texts which make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology.

In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear, Gungnir, and wearing a black or blue cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions— the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and Odin rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the god Baldr with Frigg, and is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, Odin frequently seeks knowledge in some manner and in disguise (most famously by obtaining the Mead of Poetry), at times makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, and takes part in both the creation of the world by way of the slaying of the primordial being Ymir and the gift of life to the first two humans, Ask and Embla. Odin has a particular association with Yule, and mankind’s knowledge of both the runes and poetry is also attributed to Odin. (Source: Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$10 TOKELAU 0.999 SILVER 93.3 g 50.00 mm ANTIQUE 1,500 YES / YES
By |2017-04-25T22:23:02+00:00August 22nd, 2015|Categories: Culture, Silver, Choice Mint, Tokelau|3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Brian Lowrance August 22, 2015 at 17:33 - Reply

    Fabulous coin! Can’t wait to get my hands on one. Never seen anything like it.
    Great work guys.

    -BL

  2. SilverSiren August 22, 2015 at 20:49 - Reply

    Of the 3 drawings you showed I like the one in the center where he is standing the best, I think they should have gone with that design because odin, wolves and crows look more “ready for action” plus Odin looks more appropriately attired. Norse Gods dressed more like Vikings than Greeks (Hellenistic Toga, REALLY?!) Still a very cool looking coin!

  3. John August 25, 2015 at 06:20 - Reply

    So interesting article and so unique coin!
    my final price is $174.62 using discount code AGAU4ODIN at http://Www.FirstCoinCompany.com
    Thank you so much for the discount!

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