A stunning ‘The Oreads’ coin adds to Celestial Beauty, one of Mint XXI’s longest running silver series

Talented producer, Mint XXI, is one that has garnered a reputation for artistic excellence in the numismatic world, issuing some quite extraordinary designs over the last few years. One of their flagship series is also one of their oldest. Celestial Beauty takes some of the beautiful, and famous works of art, and gives them a numismatic makeover, complete with high-relief. To date, there have been nine unique designs, plus a pair of one-kilo variants of two of those.

The latest is from a piece by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a French painter who worked primarily in the second half of the nineteenth century< producing over 800 works in his career. Bouguereau used themes from ancient mythology, but reimagined in a more modern style, focused particularly around the female form, often naked. The last coin in the series, Nymphs & Satyr, was also a work by this artist, but here we have Les Oréades, a painting completed in 1902, just three years before his death aged 79.

This superb work is done in the Neoclassical style, and depicts the Orestiads, creatures led by the Greek Moon goddess, Artemis. They are depicted here in a group ascending skywards, under the watchful gaze of three Satyrs on the ground.

The mint has done a great job encapsulating the work, losing remarkably little in the transition from 2m+ rectangular painting, to 65 mm diameter coin, and gaining a sense of depth even the original work lacks. It helps that the only inscription on the reverse face is the title of the work, and Mint XXI have eschewed colour in favour of an elegant antique finish. It’s a very attractive coin.

The obverse has a common overall look, but is still custom to every release, mainly through the border pattern, and the item in the centre. Here, we have an appropriate Greek meander border pattern, and in the centre is a cicada, associated with resurrection and ecstasy in Greek mythology. Again, a fine looking design, especially for an obverse.

This is a five-ounce silver coin, with a mintage of 500, that is presented boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity. A genuinely beautiful coin, and proof that even after so many releases, the series is still in top form. Available to order now. We should have one of Coin Series Profiles up that covers Celestial Beauty sometime in the next few weeks.


5,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 155.5 g of 0.999 silver 65.0 mm Antique 500