Czech Mint’s latest set of coins celebrating religious architecture highlights the French icon, Notre Dame

We all know the story of Notre Dame de Paris, thrust so tragically into the popular conciousness last year with a fire that almost destroyed the centuries old cathedral, and there have been a few beautiful coins issued celebrating the French icon over the last couple of years. Now the Czech Mint is adding its own to the mix and has chosen a four coin set in either half-ounce silver, or quarter ounce gold, both struck to a proof finish.

Each of the four designs by artist Petra Brodska looks at a different aspect of the buildings long history and cleverly mixes a foreground subject with a background close-up of part of the cathedrals structure. The first coin depicts an overview of the building looking from the rear, the second one of the many huge bells that occupy Notre Dames towers. The other pair of coins choose some of the French legends that have had association with the building in the past. Joan of Arc was beatified in the cathedral in 1909 – a potent symbol in French history – and Nopeon Bonaparte was crowned inside Notre Dame in 1804.

The common obverse carries an image of some of the structures internal Gothic arches, inside one of which sits the rarely used national emblem of Niue. It’s usually the case that Niue issues employ the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, but given Joan of Arc and Napoleon didn’t fare too well with the British, it’s probably for the best that she’s missing…

The Czech Mint does sets like these very well, and they universally have a high quality strike and some great artistic touches. The superb Leonardo Da Vinci set was a 2019 favourite of ours. Both the gold and silver sets have low mintages, and sell for €1977 and €185 Euro respectively. A very nice set for lovers of the beautiful building currently subject to the biggest renovation in its entire history.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was devastated by a fire in 2019 and the fate of the Mother of God left no one cold. The Czech Mint published a set of four silver coins that commemorate the rich history of the tabernacle in the heart of Paris to the occasion of the first anniversary of the devastating disaster.

The Temple of the Mother of God in Paris became the one of the bestsellers in the world in 2019. Victor Hugo’s novel is set in the 15th century and its main motif is the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which is linked to the fate of the main characters such as the unhappy hunchback Quasimodo. The heartbreaking story enchanted the masses right at the time of its first edition – in 1831 – and opened a public collection for reconstruction of the cathedral that was destroyed after the Great French Revolution. It resembled ruins rather than a temple whose history dates back almost seven centuries to the past. Rare statues were broken, organs destroyed, stained-glass windows glazed, masonry beaten and altars and bells made of precious metals melted … Thanks to patriotic efforts, however, the Parisian jewel was preserved for future generations. The cathedral that was destroyed by fire gained its modern appearance with a pointed tower (so-called sanctus) in the 19th century. Fortunately, French patriotism was shown in 2019 when hundreds of millions of euros were collected to renew the Notre-Dame Cathedral…

The reverse sides of the silver coins processed by the medal maker Petra Brodská, DiS. bear not only the cathedral itself, which is the most beautiful French Gothic building, but also its famous bells, whose melody amazed Quasimodo. Other coins are dedicated to important personalities associated with the Parisian temple. The first is Napoleon Bonaparte – an admired military leader who was crowned the French Emperor in the cathedral. The second is Joan of Arc – Virgin of Orleans, who was rehabilitated and beatified in the cathedral.

Since the coins are issued with a foreign license of the island of Niue, their common obverse side bears the necessary attributes of this foreign issuer – the state emblem, the nominal value of 1 DOLLAR (NZD), together with the year of the issue 2020 – incorporated into the broken arch of the cathedral.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 NZD (Niue) $10 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 16.0 grams x 4 7.78 grams x 4
DIMENSIONS 34.0 mm 22.0 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 400 300
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
CZECH MINT