Czech Mint starts a golden journey through the Seven Wonders with the Great Pyramids of Giza

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World have been cause for conjecture and wonderment for hundreds, in some cases thousands of years. Structures that have long since crumbled to dust are still part of popular discourse today, so its no surprise to see them show up in numismatic circles on a fairly regular basis.

Latest to feature these magnificent examples of ancient civilisations is the Czech Mint, with a new seven coin series of gold coins. To launch the series, the mint has chosen the one remaining wonder still around today – the Great Pyramid of Giza. This giant structure, weighing an estimated six million tons, was a tomb for the Pharoah Khufu, designed to protect his remains so that he could live again in the Afterlife. It didn’t work, of course, with the tomb raided and emptied soon after, long before the New Kingdom.

The coin is a simple, but surprisingly effective look at the pyramids on the plain of Giza. They’re depicted in isolation, but in a way that hints at the layout, and gives the coin a subtle illusion of depth. It’s a standard proof strike and has a clean background field. The obverse carries the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that’s used for all Czech Mint Niue issues, but is surrounded with a compartmentalised concentric ring of images of the wonders. A very nice touch, but we have no close up image yet (you can see it on the blistercard image below)

The main coin format here is the 1 oz proof, which comes neatly presented and has a 200 mintage. Of more interest here is the tenth of an ounce version. Eminently more affordable, the smaller coin can be purchased in two ways. The easiest and most obvious is singly, presented in a themed blistercard. Some 200 of these will be available. In an odd touch, you can also buy them ten at a time on a card and there will be 80 of these, making the total mintage of the smallest variant 1,000 pieces. A good start to a series and one we’ll be keeping an eye on future releases, The next coin will launch in November, and depict the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The ancient Egyptians believed in the life after death and built magnificent tombs for their pharaohs to allow them to touch the heavens. The Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for King Khufu two and a half thousand BC, is the largest and most impressive of them. The gigantic pyramid was built of two million stone blocks, each weighing over two tons. The pyramid was 147 meters high, therefore, it was the highest building in the world until the Middle Ages, and each side of its base measured 230 meters. Thousands of stonemasons, carpenters and ordinary workers have worked on it without knowledge of iron and more complex technologies for three decades in order to honor their god…

The ancient Greeks traveled to the tombs of Egyptian rulers like today’s tourists. The pyramids were a mystery for them, as they were two thousand years older than the second oldest of the world’s wonders – the Semiramidine hanging gardens. The pyramids then paradoxically became the only one of the seven wonders that has been preserved to this day. The Arabic saying states that everything in the world is afraid of time, but time is afraid of pyramids. Khufu’s Great Pyramid, which was built of two million two-ton stone blocks, is the largest and most impressive of the gigantic pyramids. The complex, which stands in the city of Giza on the banks of the Nile, included a mysterious sphinx statue and three smaller pyramids that served as the tombs of Khufu’s wives…

REVERSE: processed by the medal maker Petra Brodská, DiS., presents the Great Pyramid in its current form, which reveals the individual stone steps (the building was originally lined with white polished limestone, which reflected the sun’s rays). In the background there is another smaller tomb and in the foreground there is a detail of building blocks supplemented with an English inscription THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA.

OBVERSE: The obverse side, which is common to the whole cycle, then presents all
seven wonders of the world – the Egyptian pyramids, the hanging gardens
of Semiramis, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Feidius’ statue of Zeus
at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and
the Lighthouse of Alexandria. As the coins of the Czech Mint are licensed by the island of Niue, their obverse sides bear a portrait and name of Queen Elizabeth II, a nominal value of 50 DOLLARS (NZD) and the year of issue 2021.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue) $50 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 3.11 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 16.0 mm 37.0 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 200, 800 (10 X 80) 200
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
CZECH MINT