Now on its third incarnation, Egyptian Symbols is a superb series of high-end silver coins taking iconic elements of Ancient Egypt as its subject. Produced by Numiartis in conjunction with CIT, they’re also responsible for the Mythical Creatures series like the Vampire, and also the brilliant Ares coin that will surely be mixing it up as one of the best releases of 2017. This years Egyptian coin is employing CIT’s outstanding SmartMinting technology for the first time and the results speak for themselves.
Like the previous two, the 2016 coin is struck in three ounces of fine silver and has an antique finish. The subject of this coin has long expanded past Egyptology and entered popular culture, Winged Isis. The design is, in our opinion, beautiful. A combination of aesthetic design, technical excellence and quality finish, this is a new high for a series already at the top of the game. The reverse depicts Winged Isis on a stone pedestal replete with hieroglyphics. In the background are walls of symbols akin to a large temple or tomb. A border carries the series and coin name, along with the date and a selection of hieroglyphics common to all the coins. SmartMinting has been employed to facilitate levels of high-relief not previously attained, giving the artwork an impressive depth of perspective. The gilded Isis figure has been given a black colour wash to simulate aging and it works perfectly.
The obverse has the same border as the reverse and the same emblem of Palau present on earlier coins, along with the denomination. The main design on this face is new, but does contain elements common to prior releases.The pyramids, columns and Egyptian figures are all here again and look better than ever.
The coin comes in a fine wooden box with a themed outer shipper and an enclosed certificate of authenticity. Each of the first two coins had a companion piece released afterwards, a 0.5g minigold coin carrying similar reverse face artwork and we’ve no reason to believe that won’t be the case again. As we said at the beginning, these are higher-end coins, occupying a space alongside issues by such others as Art Mint, for example. As such expect a price around $395.00. Not the cheapest, but definitely one of the finest releases of the year so far and one that will be difficult to top. Available to order shortly, the coin will ship in July. Previous coins were the Ankh and the Eye of Horus.
THE GODDESS ISIS
Isis is an ancient Egyptian goddess, associated with the earlier goddess Hathor, who became the most popular and enduring of all the Egyptian deities. Her name comes from the Egyptian Eset, (“the seat”) which referred to her stability and also the throne of Egypt as she was considered the mother of every pharaoh through the king’s association with Horus, Isis’ son. Her symbols are the scorpion (who kept her safe when she was in hiding), the kite (a kind of falcon whose shape she assumed in bringing her husband back to life), the empty throne, and the sistrum. She is regularly portrayed as the selfless, giving, mother, wife, and protectress, who places other’s interests and well-being ahead of her own. She was also known as Weret-Kekau (“the Great Magic”) for her power and Mut-Netjer, “Mother of the Gods” but was known by many names depending on which role she was fulfilling at the moment. As the goddess who brought the yearly inundation of the Nile which fertilized the land she was Sati, for example, and as the goddess who created and preserved life she was Ankhet, and so on.
In time, she became so popular that all gods were considered mere aspects of Isis and she was the only Egyptian deity worshiped by everyone in the country. She and her husband and son replaced the Theban Triad of Amon, Mut, and Khons, who had been the most popular trinity of gods in Egypt. Osiris, Isis, and Horus are referred to as the Abydos Triad. Her cult began in the Nile Delta and her most important sanctuary was there at the shrine of Behbeit El-Hagar, but worship of Isis eventually spread to all parts of Egypt. Both men and women served Isis as clergy and no doubt rituals concerning her worship were conducted along the lines of other deities: a temple was built as her earthly home which housed her statue and this image was reverently cared for by the priests and priestesses. The people of Egypt were encouraged to visit the temple to leave offerings and make supplications but no one except the high priest or priestess was allowed into the sanctuary where the statue of the goddess resided.
She is depicted in some stories and inscriptions as a homeless woman, an old woman, a wife searching for and mourning her lost husband, a mother mourning a missing child, a woman fighting for her family, and all of these stories identified her with the common people of Egypt and their darkest moments; because of this, Isis became the goddess of all the people of Egypt, male and female, royal and common, alike. Along with her husband Osiris, he taught humans the arts of agriculture and medicine and instituted the practice of marriage.
Eventually, she became associated with the sea and was a protectress of sailors and merchants who wore talismans honoring her and invoked her aid in times of trouble (attested to by archaeological evidence). Unlike the other gods of Egypt, Isis transcended national borders and was worshiped by the Greeks and the Romans who believed in her as the supreme deity who created the world. Her cult in Rome was the greatest rival to the young religion of Christianity, which drew upon the image of Isis and the child-god Horus for the depiction of the Madonna with the Christ child. Her cult would remain one of the most popular in the ancient Mediterranean until Christianity triumphed over the pagan faiths in the 4th-6th centuries CE, and worship of Isis was outlawed along with that of the other pagan gods.