Regular collectors of commemorative coins are well aware of the huge number of issues released annually for the Chinese Lunar Calendar. While there’s been a small consolidation over the last couple of years , it remains a busy marketplace with numerous series competing for attention. While there are lots of different approaches to making an issue stand out in the crowd (inserts, colour, gilding, etc.), there’s always been a fairly standardised basic design language for them.
New kid on the block, Artisan Coins, have decided to take a different approach. The basic premise – a cycle of twelve popular animals in a set sequence – has been kept, but with a twist. Eschewing the usual Asian influences, or the alternative realistic style, Ominous Lunars has gone dark and scary, offering something different in a genre crying out for it.
We’re a little late with this one, but it’s a 2018 Year of the Dog coin and the first in the series. If you’re going to pick an ominous dog for a coin like this, the famous Hound of the Baskervilles from the classic Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is surely the top choice. The design is pretty cool and favours the brutal over the subtle in its depiction. An ultra-high-relief strike in an ounce of silver, the rimless coin is typical Mint of Poland, who worked with Artisan on this issue, and their involvement is pretty much a guarantee of quality. The obverse has the national emblem of Chad at its centre, surrounded by twelve claws representing the lunar animal sequence.