After a fine debut last year, Numiartis, responsible for the CIT-produced Mythical Creatures coins, the Werewolf and the Vampire, have launched a follow-up coin to their superb Egyptian Symbols: Ankh release. With the recent proliferation of coins depicting ancient historical/mythical subjects, there’s a clear demand for the genre, but this is one of those releases like the Mesopotamia coin from the Mint of Poland thats sits closer to the art-architectural Tiffany Art series than to the various Odin-style coins generating headlines.

The first coin was a particular favourite, even if the price it debuted at was quite high, and depicted some really excellent detailing and design on both the reverse and obverse sides. It was always going to take a great coin to maintain that standard, and thankfully Numiartis have delivered. Themed around much of the exquisite iconography that so characterised Ancient Egyptian society, the pool of subjects for this series is both deep and rich. This second coin chooses one of the most recognisable of those symbols, the Eye of Horus. Like the 2014 coin, pyramids feature on both faces, surrounded by gods and monuments into what are again, very pleasing compositions. Free of unnecessary adornment, only the symbol itself has some selective colouring and gilding, not in any way onbtrusive or deleterious to the design.

Struck in 0.999 silver, the 93.3g coin we saw at the World Money Fair came in a beautiful premium box with an outer shipper and an enclosed certificate of authenticity. There’s also a small display inside the box that will hold one of the little 0.5g gold versions of the design, although we’ve yet to confirm the new 2015 coin (a little late we know) comes so equipped. We’ve yet to see the new half-gram gold, but last years was a good accompaniment.

As we said of last years release, the coin certainly isn’t a cheap one. At almost €400, it’s at the very high end of the genre, and even for a 3oz coin with a 999 mintage it’s pushing the value boundary quite hard. It does remain one of the finest examples of its type however. Avaiilable to pre-order now, it should be shipping in the next couple of weeks.

THE EYE OF HORUS

Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god who was usually depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner or peregrine falcon. His right eye was associated with the sun god, Ra. The eye symbol represents the marking around the eye of the falcon, including the “teardrop” marking sometimes found below the eye. The mirror image, or left eye, sometimes represented the moon and the god Djehuti (Thoth).

In one myth, when Set and Horus were fighting for the throne after Osiris’s death, Set gouged out Horus’s left eye. The majority of the eye was restored by either Hathor or Thoth (with the last portion possibly being supplied magically). When Horus’s eye was recovered, he offered it to his father, Osiris, in hopes of restoring his life. Hence, the eye of Horus was often used to symbolise sacrifice, healing, restoration, and protection.

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health. The eye is personified in the goddess Wadjet. It is also known as ”The Eye of Ra”.

The name Wadjet is derived from “wadj” meaning “green”, hence “the green one”, and was known to the Greeks and Romans as “uraeus” from the Egyptian “iaret” meaning “risen one” from the image of a cobra rising up in protection. Wadjet was one of the earliest of Egyptian deities who later became associated with other goddesses such as Bast, Sekhmet, Mut, and Hathor. She was the tutelary deity of Lower Egypt and the major Delta shrine the “per-nu” was under her protection. Hathor is also depicted with this eye.

Funerary amulets were often made in the shape of the Eye of Horus. The Wadjet or Eye of Horus is “the central element” of seven “gold, faience, carnelian and lapis lazuli” bracelets found on the mummy of Shoshenq II. The Wedjat “was intended to protect the pharaoh [here] in the afterlife” and to ward off evil. Ancient Egyptian and Middle-Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 PALAU 0.999 SILVER 93.3 g 55.0 mm ANTIQUE 999 YES / YES
INTERCOINS BERLIN