One of our highlights from 2015 was a coin from Liechtensteins Coin Invest Trust that came from nowhere and became an instant hit. Called Evolution of Life, it was struck in fine silver to a high-relief, partly antiqued, and depicted a rose-gold plated ammonite fossil protruding from rock. Issued for Mongolia, like many of CIT’s best nature coins, it rapidly began to appreciate with many collectors, myself definitely included, eagerly awaiting the next one. As a producer that likes to experiment, CIT are clearly used to being emulated, but the Mint of Poland are the first to have jumped into the ring, surprising given they’re great innovators and experimenters in their own right.
This new Niue-issued coin is two-ounces in weight and the first in a new series called Evolution of Earth, a title almost guaranteed to draw comparison to the CIT effort. There are some fundamental differences outside of the doubling in weight. Instead of an antique-finish, the hit finish of the last couple of years, the mint has gone with a new darling of the numismatic world, Ruthenium plating, a metal giving a black finish and creating a fine contrast to the gold plating that’s been applied to the high-relief parts of the coin. The gilding extends to the coins edge, there’s no rim, and the obverse is fully ruthenium plated.
The design is attractive enough, choosing to represent the animal in a more lifelike pose than the fossilised look of the Ammonite coin, and is struck in a very high relief (up to 3.7mm), looking especially impressive due to the rest of the coin face being relatively flat. The trilobite is gilded and exhibits a fine level of detail. The background replicates an ancient seabed with several other ungilded creatures within. The rimless design and minimal inscriptions keep it all looking clean, our only negative being the trilobite appears to sit on, rather than in the design like CIT’s ammonite coin. The obverse carries over the seabed imprint, but in other regards is a typical Niue coin, carrying an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, in this case that by Ian Rank Broadley.
The packaging looks decent enough, typical for the Mint of Poland, and the mintage is set at 666 pieces, an odd number we can see no real reason for. The coin is up for pre-order at many dealers right now. It’s priced in the €200-250 ($220-270) range which is fairly typical. We look forward to the next one. In the meantime, this one has an absolutely fascinating subject and we cannot recommend enough that you find out more about these fantastic creatures, one of the most diverse in history, and which may have, in one form or another, been common on earth for almost 350 million years.