AgAuShoot: Olympian Cultural Heritage celebrated on Greek minigold coin

We’ve been fortunate to borrow a coin that I’ve loved the look of since first seeing it, and thanks to Minted-UK have managed to use for an AgAuShoot. There are lots of coins released that have beautiful designs, but just fly under the radar for various reasons. The Bank of Greece is a prime example, despite releasing some quite superb designs over the years. Drawing on the depths of Greek history and culture matched by few others, they’ve repeatedly launched some very desirable coins.

This coin is similar to one of the fastest growing formats of the moment, the minigold. Struck in 0.5 grams of fine gold and with a diameter usually at 11mm, these are a cheap way into gold coin collecting, although the value compared to the spot price isn’t great. The Bank of Greece went with a format twice the size at a gram in weight, this resulting in a diameter of 14 mm.

A beautiful design, this new minigold+ coin looks at Greek cultural heritage, specifically in this case the ancient Olympiad. Believed to have been first held in 776 BC, the Olympic Games were held between the Greek city states of the time and were a series of athletic competitions. In 393AD, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I supressed the games under a campaign to make Christianity the state religion of the empire.

The reverse face depicts a pair of naked Greek athletes running  in competition. The look is very much in the ancient style, like that used to decorate pottery of the period. The face is kept nice and clean with only a single inscription, the Greek for Olympia 2016, infringing on the main artwork. On the obverse side we have a variant of the standard Greek design. The centre depicts the emblem of Greece, with some surrounding text and the denomination. Around that is a wreath of olive leaves, also known as Kotinos, the prize of champions.

Coming in a nice quality wooden box, this is my favourite Olympic design of the year and a great addition to the minigold market. Thanks to Minted-UK for the loan of the coin, and for adding to their discount code for a short period of time. If you want one, head on over and enter the code AGAUNEWS07 at checkout for 7% off.

COIN IMAGES

MINTS DESCRIPTION

UNESCO-listed since 1989, Olympia is one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, with its Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera (Heraion), palaestra and gymnasium. It was already a centre of worship to Olympian Zeus in the 11th century BC and became the venue of the Olympic Games in the 8th century BC, with the sacred truce providing the participants safe passage to the games.

The so-called “treasuries”, erected to house the votive offerings of the various city-states, attest to the prestige that Olympia enjoyed throughout the Greek world, from Sicily and Magna Graecia to Northern Africa and ancient Byzantium. Participation in the Games was at first reserved only to Greeks, but in the Roman era was opened up to all the nations of the empire, turning the Olympics into a truly international event. With the modern revival of the Games in 1896, Olympia has become a universal symbol of fair play, sportsmanship and peaceful co-existence.

Coin designed by M. Antonatou.

ADDITIONAL IMAGES

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
€50 EURO 0.9999 GOLD 1.00 g 14.00 mm PROOF 1,500 YES / YES

MINT LINK

BANK OF GREECE