Some of our favourite coins of the last few years have been those featuring meteorites. Always an interesting subject anyway, the combination of geological design and meteorite fragment has certainly gained its fanbase. Several producers have dabbled in the market, but the two big guns are CIT Coin Invest, who have been issuing these for over a decade, and more recently, the Mint of Poland.
The Mint of Poland, through Pela-Coins, have been issuing a very cool series of one-ounce silver coins with differing designs since 2014. Diablo Crater was a hit and was followed by equally popular Wolfe Creek, Popigai, Gosses Bluff, and Pingualuit Crater coins. Now it’s time for the sixth release and it’s back to the United States for one of Earth’s ancient impact craters, Upheaval Dome. Possibly over 150 million years old – remember, the one that possibly killed off the dinosaurs was ‘only’ 65 mya – , this is still nowhere near the oldest, with a recently discovered crater in Greenland of huge size (62 km across) being dated at over 3 BILLION years ago. Nevertheless, what Upheaval Dome lacks in ultimate age, it certainly makes up in drama. It resides within Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
This coin series has seen some changes in appearance over the six issues. Early coins had some light copper plating, Popigai was colour-antiqued, and Gosses Bluff was fully copper plated. This one is copper plated with unplated highlights. The mint chooses what looks best and as you can see from the images of the actual site, they’ve chosen well this year. As you’d expect, this is an ultra-high relief strike, which is something that is almost de rigueur for the correct look. A meteorite fragment sits in the centre, although this is from the Dalgety Down strike in Australia. Given that Upheaval Dome has only recently been confirmed as being from a strike instead of a salt dome, the lack of actual site material is understandable.
It’s a Niue Issue, so the effigy (by Ian Rank Broadley) sits in the centre of the obverse and has that neat textured border that the Mint of Poland is increasingly using for its Niue coins. All of this face is copper-plated. Packaging comprises the usual wooden box in a themed shipper sleeve, and a certificate of authenticity is included, of course. Just 666 of these will be minted and they should start shipping in December. We’ve great admirers of this series, although I’m biased as I did study geology many years ago. There are plenty of subjects for future coins – the Earth Impact Database currently lists 190 confirmed strikes…