Continuing our catching up on new releases in the bullion world is a new one from the Democratic Republic of Congo with a subject that will always get my attention – DINOSAURS! There have been some fine prehistoric themed coins over the last few years, demonstrating a noticeable jump from back in 2013/14 when the few designs we saw were often quite terrible. Now, even the bullion coins, like the superb series from the South African Mint, are quite excellent by comparison.

This new issue is similar in concept to bullion ranges like the Somali Elephant, World Wildlife, and Somali Leopard, but seems to be a bit more detailed than those. The design is an enhanced version of one employed earlier this year on a 0.5g minigold coin with the same name, but incorporates a neat scaled timeline in the border that goes from the Triassic period, through to the end of these giant beasts at the end of the Cretaceous.

The main art comprises a cool picture of one of those incredible predators, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the most powerful in the history of this planet, feeding on a Triceratops that it has either brought down, or stumbled across. A small herd of these huge prey animals sits in the background, no doubt looking to put as much distance as possible between them and the T-Rex. It was a great look on the minigold and remains a fine piece here.

The obverse, like all of these African nation issues, has the countries coat of arms in the centre. They all seem to have the effortless knack of looking perfect for the subject matter, and the one from the DRC is no exception. The coin is available in the popular one-ounce format only, struck in 0.9999 silver to a brilliant uncirculated finish. The mintage is a relatively tiny 10,000 pieces and is supplied encapsulated. Available to order now, with shipping later this month. We’ll try to borrow one to photograph, as we have a feeling the official images don’t do it justice.

TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Tyrannosaurus meaning “tyrant lizard”, from the Ancient Greek tyrannos, “tyrant”, and sauros, “lizard” is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning “king” in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is one of the most well-represented of the large theropods.

Tyrannosaurus lived throughout what is now western North America, on what was then an island continent known as Laramidia. Tyrannosaurus had a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 68 to 66 million years ago. It was the last known member of the tyrannosaurids, and among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to its large and powerful hind limbs, Tyrannosaurus fore limbs were short but unusually powerful for their size and had two clawed digits. The most complete specimen measures up to 12.3 m (40 ft) in length, up to 4 meters (13 ft) tall at the hips, and up to 6.8 metric tons (7.5 short tons) in weight. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it is still among the largest known land predators and is estimated to have exerted the largest bite force among all terrestrial animals.

By far the largest carnivore in its environment, Tyrannosaurus rex was most likely an apex predator, preying upon hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and possibly sauropods. Some experts, however, have suggested the dinosaur was primarily a scavenger. The question of whether Tyrannosaurus was an apex predator or a pure scavenger was among the longest ongoing debates in paleontology. It is accepted now that Tyrannosaurus rex acted as a predator, and scavenged as modern mammalian and avian predators do.

More than 50 specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex have been identified, some of which are nearly complete skeletons. Soft tissue and proteins have been reported in at least one of these specimens. The abundance of fossil material has allowed significant research into many aspects of its biology, including its life history and biomechanics. The feeding habits, physiology and potential speed of Tyrannosaurus rex are a few subjects of debate. (Source: Wikipedia)

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 20 Francs CFA
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.61 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 10,000
BOX / C.O.A. No / No
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