Not only one of the most iconic paintings by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, but one of the most revered works of art in history, The Last Supper is a huge mural sited in a Milanese convent, that has been reproduced, parodied, reinterpretated and used for inspiration for centuries. It’s appeared on coins before, but for its 500th birthday, a special coin is required and AllCollect have done the honours.
Struck in a kilogram of fine 0.999 silver, the German producer has chosen the rectangular format to reproduce the rectangular original. It seems obvious enough, but you’d be surprised how often this work has been cropped to fit a round piece of metal. This way, we get to see it as the master meant it to be seen. It’s a classic work, with a fine sense of depth and perspective that was uncommon up to this period. The coin does a fantastic job with the reproduction, managing to completely avoid that ‘computer-render’ feel for something with an entirely hand-sculpted look.
The obverse plays off the artists habit of making notes written backwards. The reason he did this is unclear. He wrote normally when done for someone else to read, but his own notes were done in the reverse style. It may have been nothing more than a way to write without getting the ink on his hands or smudging his handwriting. The reverse text lists Da Vinci’s most famous works of art, along with their dates of creation, all in a facsimile of his original handwriting. A small ‘coin’ circle holds the Samoan issue details, including the ubiquitous effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. That’s an appropriate touch as the British Royal Collection holds over 600 pieces of the maestros work, much having be acquired during the reign of Charles II, when it was around 150 years old.
AllCollect have a reputation for some very high quality presentation, and this issue is no exception. A classically styled metal bound wooden box does a fine job of giving this package that special feeling, so if you’re an admirer of Leonardo and his work, you’re looking at one of the best releases we’ve seen in this anniversary year. It’s been a good year for Leonardo coins, in direct contrast to the appalling lack of effort the worlds mints invested in the bi-millennial commemorations of the death of Roman Emperor Augustus back in 2014. Available to pre-order now.