Mint of Poland sneaks around the Medieval Middle East with its new Assassins silver coin
There are no shortage of ultra-cool and very high quality high-relief coins from the Mint of Poland that are themed around ancient times, so many in fact that we feel one of our new Thematic Guides coming on, but most look at the fantastical parts of the cultures of the times. This new series takes an alternative path by choosing something very specific to tell a story about. In this case, the mint is delving into the shadowy world of the Assassins.
What better place to start than the people that gave us the word ‘assassin’ in the first place. The Nizari Ismaili of the time were a Shia Islamic sect based in Syria, who employed a small army of acolytes using asymmetrical warfare to fulfil their objectives. They did this by killing individual enemies, usually important people, and they often made the ‘hit’ as public as possible, just to instil fear. Until finally destroyed by the Mongol Horde, the Nizari Order kept more powerful enemies at bay for centuries.
The coin spec will be familiar to all by now. A 2oz, fine-silver, rimless, ultra high relief, and antique finished coin has become the de facto format of choice. As usual, we only have ArtCAM renders at present, but we remain completely unconcerned about the transition from this to finished article, as previous issues have managed it with great success. The coin looks quite outstanding. The trio of fida’i (the group that carried out the attacks) look suitably menacing and the gilded finish to the swords is a neat touch. The fortress of Alamut in the Elbrus Mountains, the political centre of the sect from 1090-1256, is depicted in the background, and it all sits inside an attractive border.
The obverse face has the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II in the middle, but it’s placed in a Middle-Eastern style window, surrounded by Arabic-style tracery and a couple of period swords. The Mint of Poland has done more to spice up the obverse face of their Niue issues than anyone and we hope that continues. We haven’t seen packaging yet, but it’s usually of a good quality, if unadventurous, and contains a certificate of authenticity.
While the mintage is set at 999 pieces, we’re being told that 500 were pre-sold outside of the coin market, so we’re back to just 499 for general sale. Hard to see this coin as anything other than a hit. The subject is a rare one on coins, the design is exemplary, and the finished strike will likely put it in the top tier with its counterparts. Shipping in early September, the coin is being distributed by the Mint of Gdansk, but will likely be available in all the usual places. As we normally try to do, we’ll revisit when we get actual coin images.
WHO WERE THE ASSASSINS?
Assassins is the name given to the Nizari Ismailis in the mountains of Persia and Syria between about 1090 to 1275. The name was not used by the Nizaris themselves, but was given to them by their opponents in Syria. Nizarism formed in the late 11th century after a split within Ismailism, a branch of Shia Islam.
Based on texts from Alamut, their grand master Hassan-i Sabbah tended to call his disciples Asāsiyyūn (أساسيون, meaning “people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]”), but some foreign travellers like Marco Polo misunderstood the name as deriving from the term hashish.
The Nizaris posed a strategic threat to Sunni Seljuq authority by capturing and inhabiting several mountain fortresses throughout Persia and later Syria, under the leadership of Hassan-i Sabbah. Asymmetric warfare, psychological warfare, and surgical strikes were often a tactic of the assassins, drawing their opponents into submission rather than risk killing them. While “Assassins” typically refers to the entire sect, only a group of acolytes known as the fida’i actually engaged in conflict. Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, and over the course of 300 years they successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans, and Crusader leaders.
During the rule of Imam Rukn-ud-Din Khurshah, the Nizari state declined internally, and was eventually destroyed as the Imam surrendered the castles to the invading Mongols. The Mongols destroyed and eliminated their Order. Mentions of Assassins were preserved within European sources – such as the writings of Marco Polo – where they are depicted as trained killers, responsible for the systematic elimination of opposing figures. The word “assassin” has been used ever since to describe a hired or professional killer, leading to the related term “assassination”, which denotes any action involving murder of a high-profile target for political reasons.
The Nizari were acknowledged and feared by the Crusaders. The stories of the Assassins were further embellished by Marco Polo. European orientalist historians in the 19th century – such as Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall – also referred to the Nizari in their works and tended to write about the Nizari based on accounts by medieval Sunni Arab and Persian authors. (Source: Wikipedia)
|DENOMINATION||$2 NZD (Niue)|
|MODIFICATIONS||Ultra high-relief, gilding|
|BOX / COA||Yes / Yes|
Hope mintage of 999 will reduce their (Mint of Poland products) crazy prices
Well, for sure the bubble is starting to pop on the stuff from the MoP. Their prices are absurd. Although both the Chariot and these have had a starting price that was low 245.00, and it stayed down there for awhile. Unlike the other stuff, which stated at 290 or higher, and now they’re hitting the pooper!! A good example is the Dragon Red Coral…started at 300.00, and some were sold far below that price…they better get their ducks in a row, or the law of karma will kick their arse!!
Why no article on the Chariot?
I think the price correction was always coming. The way some issues have risen is simply unsustainable and will do long term damage to the market. A lot of collectors won’t buy one coin in a series if they can’t get them all and a lot have gone to speculators. I have zero problem with these and other issues debuting at €250-300 – the market will decide if they’re worth it. These are intricate and ultra high quality coins, but I’m not impressed to see that €300 coin selling for €600 a month later.
It’s hard to blame the dealers. It’s a tough market and tons of coins end up being discounted. A high profit on one coin doesn’t mean a high profit all over. I’d always caution collectors to be sensible and I really try not to offer financial predictions on coins. Let the product speak for itself and buy what you like.
As for the Chariot coin, will be up over the weekend. I’m trying not to turn into the marketing arm of the Mint of Poland… 😉
I think that dealers make mistake when they push prices up.
No, not because of karma. They will sell these coins at a high price, sooner or later.
Consider simple math.
Let me have 50 popular coins, and I can sell them in a month with a revenue of $50 for each. Thus, I earned $2500 in a month.
Or I can raise the price on them and sell them in six months with a revenue of $200 each. So I earn $10,000 in six months, that is, less than $1,700 per month.
If I was a dealer, I would prefer to sell them quickly, and invest the profit further, in other coins, immediately. You can save 3-5 coins, wait for “good times”, and sell them at crazy price, but doing so with all the coins is not profitable.
And their current behavior on the market is more like mine: in order to reduce the cost of my collection, I buy several popular coins, and wait for them to jump – so I managed to quickly buy, for example, Zhao Yun, for 400-500 euros, and I know I can sell it today for 700, and six months later for 1000.
Yes, I am a “flipper” (or how it’s called), but otherwise I will not be able to buy the coins I like.
This is my opinion.
Well said, Bob. Looks like you know what you’re talking about 🙂
Great discussion! Really appreciate sharing your thoughts Mik and Superjeka. I think it’s much needed. And Mik, I agree with you…the MoP is just pumping these issues!! Absolutely astounding…and they’re nice…most of them anyway!! They just came out with Prometheus: https://www.powercoin.it/en/mennica-polska-poland-mint/4056-prometheus-ancient-myths-2-oz-silver-coin-5-niue-2019.html the 3rd in the series. These are all starting to blend. :-)) .
Some of the issues are doing really well, and some not so good. And the problem I had is, they were pricing these things out of the gate at ridiculous levels (dragon – red coral, Anubis, etc..) and now they’re flopping…and people aren’t happy. On the one hand, a pure collector isn’t worried about price, they love the artwork…true, BUT, everyone wants to see their investment into beautiful art to go up in value too!
And I agree with you Mik, I don’t think having the Ares coin (as an example) selling at 2k is good for the series. I don’t think that is true market price. It is the ‘true manipulated price’!! I know folks who are holding 40 pieces of Ares!! Another holding 20. What happens if those flood the market? And to your point, collectors want 1 of each! They walk away if they can’t get each piece in the set. I know I will. Or I’ll soak up #2, and #3 and just flip them…because I’m not getting #1! It’s sucks. I lucked out on the smart-mosaic pieces: venus, mona lisa, and girl…got good prices (300 – 400)…since I’m a collector and I’m not selling that set anyway, price doesn’t really matter to me – BUT, I like it appreciating in value. It’s nice that it has appreciated…but those are for posterity.
These days, I’m not collecting any modern series…a) too many b) 1st is typically out of my price range c) they never tell you how many in a series – successful they’ll make 1000 – not successful, maybe 1 – #terrible hedging strategy!! I collect the stuff from 1600, 1700, 1800…since they can’t make more of them! And the profit I gain from flipping, just like superjeka mentions…goes into coins I’m collecting…and sadly not the modern stuff, because I think it is in the ‘tulip phase.’ And it is starting to show, sadly!! I think the Chariot, Prometheus, and Assassins were priced fairly: $245.00. Anyway, thanks for the conversation…and thanks for all you do Mik!! Exceptional work!!! GREAT JOB!!
This is true from you Mik: “These are intricate and ultra high quality coins, but I’m not impressed to see that €300 coin selling for €600 a month later.”
Hi Mik. What does it mean that 500 were sold outside the coin market? Are they saying they were sent to some rich Saudi? I’m only a little tongue and cheek. Any ideas? Thanks.
Just that 500 of them were allocated to ‘interested organisations’. Could be anything from games (Assassins Creed is huge), to a shadowy guild of killers 😉
It’s best to collect coins you love & want to have in your collection. That way, if it’s a hit or a flop, you’ll still enjoy having them. Also, if you collect wisely, many of these issues will appreciate over time, so the longer view may mean a flop today may become very valuable years from now. If you’re looking to sell quickly & make a profit, then maybe not & you”re just speculating which carries risk of losing money. These designs have never been done before & the new technology has allowed for creation of many beautiful & unique coins. Years from now, these trailblazers will be highly appreciated & probably sought after, in my humble opinion. But, if not,I love having them! It’s nice if they go up in value, but the true beauties are still true beauties whether they appreciate or not. I guess time will tell. But they’re so much fun to have & collect.
Very well put. Buy what you like. People collect all sorts of stuff and these are no different. I think there’s an unrealistic expectation of profit simply because of the precious metal connection, but people forget that on one of these, for example, the metal value barely hits 10%, unlike a bullion coin where its closer to 90%.
This is a form of art in more esoteric examples like this, and a record of history in many others, such as those released by national mints, as a reflection of the times.
Just order one Nizari pc from First Coin COmpany https://firstcoincompany.com/S/new-products/niue-island-nizaris-series-assassins-5-silver-coin-antique-finish-2019-ultra-high-relief-gold-plated-2-oz
However price has increased…
Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing all your insights! Mik, Assassins creed for sure is a huge hit…and who knows, maybe the Saudis wanted them for their family. Lol.
Harry, wonderful insights! Thanks for sharing. And you are correct. Appreciate the beauty of these art pieces. I love how they are trying to minimize the queen on the reverse – to the best of their ability. Some of us are tired of seeing that face – especially those of us from the US. I think they’ve done a good job with the design of both sides. I see they just came out the Prometheus too. Whoa! Lol
Thanks John. Yes I bought from FCC as well, and i was wondering when he was going to start increasing his price, especially considering Power Coin was selling out of them at $377.00 US dollars. Lol
Bob,You’re quite the character. I love your posts-a real breath of fresh air. P.S Really really tired of seeing the queen’s face.
You might see a few more without the old girls arrest photo on the back. The coat of arms obverse that the NZ Mint is using on its Legendary Tales coins is a first step.
Price is still the best in the main distributor page, I even asked for a discount and got it.
Just beautiful issue I think the price will raise up in every store soon.
Well, FCC just upped their price to $399.00. Lol. That’s quite a jump from $249.00. I hope many took advantage of the sale price. TCS is at $297.00. And Power Coin $377.00. Also The Coin Shoppe has the Prometheus for $252.00 (which is the lowest I’ve seen). Just say’n.
Mik, I see what you are saying on the Legendary Tales. I don’t like the obverse. LOL. But, I can see how the Poland Mint can push the envelope not having to show the Queens Face. It is getting old seeing her on all these marvelous pieces. HOWEVER, I will say I don’t mind the queen’s face the way it is displayed on the Assassins piece or the Red Horse (of 4 horsemen fame) or even the latest Prometheus. It’s just when it’s the only thing on the reverse…drives me a little batty. Honestly, I think I’d rather have the queens face…albeit minimized, verses what is on the reverse of the legendary tales. Or course the queen’s face gives it ‘legitimacy’ as a monetary coin…I know the emblem on the reverse of the Legendary does too…but, something about it…
Is there any news about the second release of this series?