Italy continues its silver Explorers Series with Christopher Columbus and his naval voyages

The Italian mint, IPZS, kick-started a new series of €10 silver coins last year, designed to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the world’s great explorers. The first issue was a fine look at Marco Polo and his epic travels through Asia. A 22.0 gram sterling 0.925 silver coin with a 5,000 mintage and a proof finish, this is a core format in Italy.

No changes to that format for the second coin in the series, although it has employed some gilding for the first time. The design is clearly in the same style on the reverse face, comprising a bust of the man, with some stylised visual objects in the background – in this case a navigational instrument. We love the obverse face more, however. The little planet Earth with a map of his voyage of discovery on it, is a neat base for a depiction of the three ships that made the voyage – the caravels La Nina (‘The Girl’) and La Pinta (‘The Painted’), and the carrack, Santa Maria. A very pretty design, in our view.

Columbus is a name known throughout the world, even if the reasons for it are not fully grounded in fact (America had been visited centuries before, for example). Whatever the actual history, there’s certainly no questioning the bravery of the expeditions themselves. The coin is an excellent release. Available from 16 September, it sells for €65.00, which is €10.00 up on the 2018 issue, although that one was a clean strike. Boxed, with a certificate of authenticity.


REVERSE: portrait of Christopher Columbus, a painting attributed to Ridolfi del Ghirlandaio, held at the Galata Sea Museum in Genoa. In the background, a golden dial, instrument used to measure the angular height of a celestial body in relation to the horizon. On the left, the inscription “REPUBBLICA ITALIANA”; on the right, the name of the designer “U. PERNAZZA”

OBVERSE: the three golden caravels sailing around the world inspired to a print made by Gustav Adolf Closs in 1892; within the globe, the route of Columbus’ first journey. Above, the inscription “CRISTOFORO COLOMBO” and the value “10 EURO”; on the right, “R” identifying the Mint of Rome; on the left, the year of issue “2019”.Columbus’ portrait is reproduced courtesy of the Institution for the Museums of Sea and Navigation of Genoa

COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 22.0 grams
BOX / COA Yes / Yes