Mint of Poland applies it’s signature coin format to the memory of Leonardo Da Vinci, 500 years on

One of histories greatest minds, Leonardo Da Vinci may have been a Renaissance period genius, but he’s as well known and respected today as he ever was. Think about that for a moment – a  sixteenth century artist/inventor from a provincial city in Italy is still so widely known half a millennium later that his name would be recognised almost anywhere you spoke it aloud. Such were the man’s works in the world of art and science, that his influence is visible to this day.

There are plenty of Leonardo coins on the market, the new inventions set from the Czech Mint is a good example, but they have tended to be proof finish coins, often with some colour. The Mint of Poland and AllCollect did issue an extraordinary dimensional coin depicting his works some three years ago, but at 6½ ounces in weight, it wasn’t what you would describe as particularly affordable. This time the mint has taken their popular 2oz, antique-finished, ultra-high relief format – the one employed for their hit ancient mythology series – and used it to commemorative five centuries since Leonardo died.

The coin looks outstanding (as usual, we only have renders at present), and takes a portrait of Leonardo as its main focus, but with sculpted images of some of his inventions, and of his amazing anatomical studies. It wouldn’t be a Da Vinci coin without a nod to his ultra-famous art and to that end the mint has embedded a piece of walnut in the reverse face, upon which is a digital colour picture of ‘Lady with an Ermine’. This 1490 painting is actually on display at the National Museum, Krakow, in Poland. Like the coin, the painting is on a piece of walnut, and actually has Leonardo’s fingerprints still in the paint.

The obverse face is simpler in execution, but equally effective. The Vitruvian Man is a legendary piece of work and is beautifully reproduced. Both faces of the coin have reproduced hand-written script from Leonardo’s notes. As regular readers will know, we love this style of coin and nobody does it better than the Mennica Polska. This is different from the usual mythology based issue, and all the better for it. The frame packaging will suit the coin perfectly and the 500 mintage will keep availability sensible. Quite superb, we look forward to seeing the finished article.


Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, 15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank, his genius epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Leonardo was, and is, renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings have survived. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded.

Today, Leonardo is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived.


DENOMINATION 2,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.20 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, coloured walnut insert
BOX / COA Yes / Yes