Slipping out almost under the radar, the third in the New Zealand Mints Forgotten Cities series of bas-relief silver coins is up for order now and follows the debut coins  Machu Picchu, and the ancient city of Petra. This latest coin features Angkor, the ruined city in Cambodia that once stood as the capital of the ancient civilisation of the Khmer Empire, which was ascendant from the 9th to the 15th centuries. It grew so large and powerful that during the years 1010-1220, fully 0.1% of the population of the whole world actually lived within its boundaries.

The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonlé Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap city, in Siem Reap Province. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument.

In 2007, an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world, with an elaborate infrastructure system connecting an urban sprawl of at least 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi) to the well-known temples at its core. It was the site of vast cities that served all the needs of the Khmer people. Aside from a few old bridges, however, all of the remaining monuments are religious edifices. In Angkorian times, all non-religious buildings, including the residence of the king himself, were constructed of perishable materials, such as wood, “because only the gods had a right to residences made of stone.”(Source: Wikipedia)

The coin is struck in an almost highly stylistic bas-relief style, nicely done, and packaged in the New Zealand Mints book-style box. Hidden within the packaging is the latitude and longitude of the next coin to be released in the series, which may make it out this year, the first coin being launched last November, or it may not. Where it is also a mystery at present, but Europe has yet to be represented. We like these, much nicer in the hand than the images suggest, and hope the series is popular enough to continue. A fascinating subject. Selling at $85.00 USD, it’s priced around the norm for this spec of limited proof coin and apart from the mints own website, it will be available at the usual NZM dealers.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The ruins of the forgotten city of Angkor are located near modern-day Siem Reap city, hidden deep in the forests of northern Cambodia. The story starts in the 9th century, when two states in what is now modern-day Cambodia were united forming the Khmer Empire. In 1113 a phase of building commenced which included the great temple of Angkor Wat, built over the course of 30 years.

Times of internal conflict and external pressure followed, leading to a period of decline through the 13th and 14th centuries, before the city was sacked by invaders in 1431. As decades passed, the world’s largest preindustrial city was slowly abandoned and overgrown. The site was visited a handful of times by European travellers and missionaries, before French explorer Henri Mouhot chanced upon the forgotten city. His journal, published in 1863, captured the imagination of Europe, as readers were gripped by his vivid descriptions and exotic sketches.

Other expeditions followed, leading to a formalised restoration which was to carry on over the course of the 20th century. Today, visitors number around two million annually. The city has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of Cambodia.

 

COIN 1: MACHU PICCHU

COIN 2: PETRA, JORDAN

Fact: A complicated water management network was used to stabilize, store, and disperse water throughout the region. This offset the monsoon season, irrigated crops, and supported a population of up to one million people across an area larger than modern day New York City.

Search for clues of the next Forgotten Cities release hidden through your travel journal.

DESIGN: This proof quality coin captures the air of mystery of the forgotten city of Angkor. Recorded on the coin is the engraved latitude and longitude of this historic location. This features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

PACKAGING: The Forgotten Cities Angkor 1 oz Silver Coin is packaged in an impressive explorer-themed travel journal coin case, which holds the clue to the next coin release in this series; Find the Longitude and Latitude of the next Forgotten Cities release within the packaging! The Certificate of Authenticity is incorporated within the packaging.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$2 NIUE 0.999 SILVER 31.1 g 40.0 mm PROOF 2,000 YES / YES
NEW ZEALAND MINT