Fairy Tales returns with the less than charming tale of Snow White and a poison apple, with Numiscollect’s latest

Torture, murder, sadism, revenge, child endangerment, spite and lashings of evil. These are all elements of what passed for a kids book back in 19th century Germany, and a blockbuster animated movie in the 20th. Like many of the seemingly elegant and charming tales in the collections of the Brothers Grimm (the name should’ve tipped us off…), the underlying reality is quite a bit less cheery than Disney would have us believe.

Snow WHite is no exception, of course, and one of the more widely known of the several hundred tales compiled by the Grimm’s. Distilling the entire story down to a single 50 mm wide silver coin is no mean feat, but Numiscollect have done a top job doing exactly that. Princess? – CHECK. Wicked witch? – CHECK, Poison apple? – CHECK. Seven dwarfs> – HI HO! The scene encompasses all the required elements and there’s no confusion about what is being pictured. A bit of colour to focus the attention on the titular character, sits well on the antique finish, although we’re a little surprised the apple wasn’t coloured. The witches face is fantastic, complete with the obligatory wart (is that Mackenzie Crook…?) I wasn’t sure on first examination, but the more I look at this coin, the more I see and the more I like it. A terrific job by the artist.

The common obverse returns, and unlike the other Cook Islands issued Asian Mythology series, has some extensive decoration to liven things up a bit. The fairy, stars and cast of characters circumnavigating the obverse are a beautiful touch, enhanced by an excellent choice of font for the inscriptions. Clearly a lot of thought has been expended on a face often devoid of it.

This is the second issue in the series, following Little Red Riding Hood (image lower down) and is a three-ounce 0.999 one. Plenty of Smartminted high relief on offer and you know the strike will be first class, so if you love the subject, you’ll be unlikely to find better elsewhere. Shipped in a box with a C.O.A. Snow White will hopefully ship sometime in February 2021. Pre-orders are available now.


At the beginning of the story, a queen sits sewing at an open window during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white snow on the black windowsill. Then, she says to herself, “How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony.” Sometime later, the queen gives birth to a baby daughter whom she names Snow White, but the queen dies in childbirth a short while later.

A year later, Snow White’s father, the king, marries again. His new wife is very beautiful, but she is a vain and wicked woman who practices witchcraft. The new queen possesses a magic mirror, which she asks every morning, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” The mirror always tells the queen that she is the fairest. The queen is always pleased with that response because the magic mirror never lies. But when Snow White is seven years old, her fairness surpasses that of her stepmother. When the queen asks her mirror, it tells her that Snow White is the fairest.

This gives the queen a great shock. She becomes envious, and from that moment on, her heart turns against Snow White, whom the queen grows to hate increasingly with time. Eventually, the angry queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the forest to be killed. As proof that Snow White is dead, the queen demands that he returns with her heart, which she will consume in order to become immortal. The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest, but after raising his dagger, he finds himself unable to kill her when Snow White learns of her stepmother’s evil plan and tearfully begs, “Spare me this mockery of justice! I will run away into the forest and never come home again!” After seeing the tears in the princess’s eyes, the huntsman reluctantly agrees to spare Snow White and brings the queen the heart of a wild animal instead.

After wandering through the forest for hours, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage belonging to a group of seven dwarfs. Since no one is at home, she eats some of the tiny meals, drinks some of their wine, and then tests all the beds. Finally, the last bed is comfortable enough for her, and she falls asleep. When the dwarfs return home, they immediately become aware that there has been a burglar in their house, because everything in their home is in disorder. Prowling about frantically, they head upstairs and discover the sleeping Snow White. She wakes up and explains to them about her stepmother’s attempt to kill her, and the dwarfs take pity on her and let her stay with them in exchange for a job as a housemaid. They warn her to be careful when alone at home and to let no one in while they are working in the mountains.

Ten years later, Snow White grows into a beautiful young maiden. Meanwhile, the queen, who believes she had gotten rid of Snow White a decade earlier, asks her mirror once again: “Magic mirror on the wall, who now is the fairest one of all?” The mirror tells her that not only is Snow White still the fairest in the land, but she is also currently hiding with the dwarfs. The queen is furious when she learns that Snow White used her wits to fake her death by tricking the huntsman, and decides to kill the girl herself. First, she appears at the dwarfs’ cottage, disguised as an old peddler, and offers Snow White colorful, silky laced bodices as a present. The queen laces her up so tightly that Snow White faints or collapses; the dwarfs return just in time, and Snow White revives when the dwarfs loosen the laces.

Next, the queen dresses up as a comb seller and convinces Snow White to take a beautiful comb as a present; she strokes Snow White’s hair with the poisoned comb. The girl is overcome by the poison from the comb, but she is again revived by the dwarfs when they remove the comb from her hair. Finally, the queen disguises herself as a farmer’s wife and offers Snow White a poisoned apple. Snow White is hesitant to accept it, so the queen cuts the apple in half, eating the white (harmless) half and giving the red poisoned half to Snow White; the girl eagerly takes a bite and then falls into a coma or appearing to be dead, causing the Queen to think she has finally triumphed. This time, the dwarfs are unable to revive Snow White, and, assuming that the queen has finally killed her, they place her in a glass casket as a funeral for her.

The next day, a prince stumbles upon a seemingly-dead Snow White lying in her glass coffin during a hunting trip. After hearing her story from the Seven Dwarfs, the prince is allowed to take Snow White to her proper resting place back at her father’s castle. All of a sudden, while Snow White is being transported, one of the prince’s servants trips and loses his balance. This dislodges the piece of the poisoned apple from Snow White’s throat, magically reviving her. The Prince is overjoyed with this miracle, and he declares his love for the now alive and well Snow White, who, surprised to meet him face to face, humbly accepts his marriage proposal. The prince invites everyone in the land to their wedding, except for Snow White’s stepmother.

The queen, believing herself finally to be rid of Snow White after ten years, again asks her magic mirror who is the fairest in the land. The mirror says that there is a bride of a prince, who is yet fairer than she. The queen decides to visit the wedding and investigate. Once she arrives, the Queen becomes frozen with rage and fear when she finds out that the prince’s bride is her stepdaughter, Snow White herself. The furious Queen tries to sow chaos and attempts to kill her again, but the prince recognizes her as a threat to Snow White when he learns the truth from his bride. As a punishment for the attempted murder of Snow White, the prince orders the Queen to wear a pair of red-hot iron slippers and to dance in them until she drops dead. With the evil Queen finally defeated and dead, Snow White’s wedding to the prince peacefully continues. (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $20 CID (Cook Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief, colour
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes