Creatures of Greek Mythology, the New Zealand Mints off-centre look at the world of ancient gods that has captured the coin collectors imagination of late, continues its rapid release run with the fifth launch in just nine months. Several other series from the mint have experienced condensed launch cycles, a relatively new approach with positives and negatives, but it must work for them. From Cerberus, through the Centaur, Minotaur, and Gorgon, we now alight on the Cyclops, the one-eyed giant.

With ancient gods being the chosen subject of most coins in this genre, the Auckland-based mint chose to focus this series on the supporting cast, the menagerie of creatures brought to life by the fertile imaginations and fears of ancient writers and poets. Eschewing the antique finish so prevalent amongst these coins, and going with a more classical style of art than the more modernist approach taken by some others, Creatures of Greek Mythology is certainly a little different. The artwork on this new Cyclopes coin again depicts a classic scene, the blinding of Polyphemus by the hero Odysseus and his men. Unspoilt by intrusive inscriptions, it works well. The obverse is the usual Niue effort, the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

Looking like an ancient Greek money pouch, The faux suede bag presentation is certainly different, opening up to form a flat disc upon which is printed the Certificate of Authenticity, with a small slit pouch to hold the coin. We like it – it adds to the character of the package. As before the coin is $80.00 USD from the NZ Mint webstore and from dealers worldwide.

 

MINTS DESCRIPTION

In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes were a race of giants, each with a single eye in the centre of their forehead.

Having been imprisoned by the Titans, the Cyclopes were released by the God Zeus. As a reward for this favour, they crafted Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder.

In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus was trapped in the cave of a Cyclops named Polyphemus, who consumed many of his men. Odysseus tricked Polyphemus into becoming intoxicated, telling him that his name was ‘Nobody’. While in this state, he blinded him with a red hot poker. Polyphemus’ calls for help from ‘Nobody’ were ignored. The next day Odysseus escaped by clinging to the belly of Polyphemus’ sheep as they were released to graze. As he sailed away, Odysseus called out his name, leading to Polyphemus asking his father Poseidon to avenge this wrong.

The coin design shows an engraved illustration of the single-eyed lawless giant, known as Cyclops, being blinded by Odysseus and his men.

The Creatures of Greek Mythology – Cyclopes 1 oz Silver coin is packaged in a brown, faux-suede soft drawstring bag, styled after ancient Greek money pouches. The coin sits in an especially designed pocket within the money pouch and the Certificate of Authenticity is printed on the inside of the packaging. This highly collectible silver coin has a worldwide Limited Mintage of only 2,000 coins.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$2 NEW ZEALAND 0.999 SILVER 31.1 g 40.00 mm PROOF 2,000 YES / YES
NEW ZEALAND MINT