China’s epic Five Tiger Generals is the subject of an equally epic new silver coin series from Numiartis

The early signs of post-Covid19 (season 1) activity continue in the coin worldsancient world themed issues with the latest release from Numiartis. Producers, in collaboration with CIT/BH Mayer or the Mint of Poland, of some quite beautiful coins, including the Ares coin that arguably kicked off this new renaissance, a new debut is always something worth waiting for.

The latest coin features a subject we’ve seen before, but in a format that differs from the near ubiquitous two-ounce one that has come to popularise the genre since the Perth Mint launched Gods of Olympus over half a decade ago. Guan Yu is the first in a series called ‘Five Tiger Generals’, a theme from way back in China’s past that is still widely known today, and the big difference is an increase in weight to three ounces, as well as the employment of a ‘Black Proof’ finish in conjunction with the more traditional antiquing.

We’re fortunate to go live with images of an actual coin for a change, instead of the, admittedly pretty accurate ArtCAM renders. There’s no substitution for them, in our view, and you can see why. The coin looks quite exquisite, exhibiting tons of fine detail, despite some enhanced levels of high relief. The anatomy of horse and rider is outstanding, with an excellent use of perspective to enhance the sense of depth in the scene. Fortunately, they’ve kept the rimless style we like so much. The obverse, with its gilded Guandao’s (the bladed weapon said to have been invented by the General, hence the name), will likely be a common one to the series and is again, packed with Asian patterns, with Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy at the centre.

The coin will come boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, and has a mintage of 500 pieces. It should be available for pre-order soon, with shipping later this year. A gorgeous release with a subtly different artistic style from many of those that have come before – a bit more traditional, perhaps reflecting the use of BH Mayer for the strike. We’re looking forward to seeing this series evolve.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Five Tiger Generals

The Five Tiger Generals is a popular appellation in Chinese culture for the top five military commanders serving under one lord. Although the term does not appear in Chinese historical records and is not used officially, it has been heavily used in literature texts, folklore, as well as popular culture.

As a romanticized novel based on the history of the Three Kingdoms period, the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms refers Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Huang Zhong, Ma Chao and Zhao Yun as the “Five Tiger Generals” of Shu Han, one of the Three Kingdoms, led by warlord Liu Bei. In the literature, Liu Bei initially appointed Guan Yu as General Who Destroys Rebels and Lord of Hanshou, Zhang Fei as General Who Subdues Rebels and Lord of Xin, Huang Zhong as General Who Conquers the West, Ma Chao as General Who Pacifies the West, and Zhao Yun General Who Guards the West, and promoted them to “Five Tiger Generals” later.Guan Yu is one of Liu Bei’s strongest generals in the novel. Together with Zhang Fei, he started following Liu Bei’s leadership at a very early stage of Liu Bei’s career, at which time the Han dynasty was experiencing the large-scale Yellow Turban Rebellion. He joined a militia that was led by Liu Bei, funded by local business groups in Zhuo County. He impressed Liu Bei at their first meet-up due to his physical strength and outgoing personality, and quickly formed a brotherly relationship with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei. He rose from fighting Yellow Turbans, commanded Liu Bei’s navy, conquered Changsha, governed Jing Province, expanded Shu Han’s territory to Cao Wei-controlled Fancheng. Throughout his career, Guan Yu participated numerous battles against Cao Wei led by Cao Cao and Eastern Wu led by Sun Quan, and played a critical role in establishment of Shu Han. Due to the might of his arm and his chivalry, Guan Yu is divinized after his death, representing bravery, power, loyalty, righteousness, as well as brotherhood.
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
FINISH Antique, Black proof
MODIFICATIONS Ultra High-relief, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes