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.