It was less than two years ago that the fledgling Germania Mint burst onto the scene with its pretty Germania bullion round, and it wasn’t long after they moved into the numismatic realm with some fine proof and plated coins. Part of the Kurowski Group, they’ve developed an impressive talent for high quality gilding, colour and plating with various metals. Much of that expertise is on show with the Germania range.

The latest addition is also the start of a new series called Germania Beasts. The subject of this debut release is the dragon Fafnir, a tale from the Norse Saga’s, that also translated well into the old Germanic culture. Indeed, Fafnir was an integral part of the composer Wagner’s work. The character of Sigurd in the backstory below has his counterpart in Teutonic circles as Siegrfied.

The coin itself is a beauty, especially the 25,000 mintage one-ounce silver bullion round, which looks more extravagent than its more traditional rivals. Yes, we know the denomination is a faux one, but these are so close to the general coin market in every other respect, that we cover them here. The dragon on the reverse spirals around and when placed with the obverse of another coin above it, appears to flow from one face to the other. A nice touch that’s quite reminiscent of the South African Mints Big 5 bullion coin series. The Bicephalous Eagle that is a signature of the mints issues, is very well integrated into the obverse side. In our view, all the inscriptions on this one are perfectly placed to not impact the integrity of the overall design. A superb piece all round and, assuming premiums aren’t excessive, a no-brainer for the collector to pick up.

On the higher end front, there are two variants. The first, called Geminus, is a twin-pack of 1 oz rounds, one finished with a gilded dragon and ruthenium/palladium plating, the other with a reverse of that. This is a good way to see the two-coin, one image effect pretty well. Packaged in a gatefold box to make seeing this easy, just 500 sets will be produced. The second special is one employing a new finish called Chameleon, similar to the effect some automotive paints have, or even the old Mod suits of the Sixties, that ‘shimmers’ when moved. In addition, this one doubles up at 2oz in weight and has some impressive levels of high-relief. At 999 pieces, and beautifully presented in a themed acrylic frame with a pedestal, this looks to be a gorgeous and sinister piece – we love it.

We’ve been impressed in meeting them, just how much passion they have for the themed world they’re building in these numismatics. Germania had a history filled with powerful mythology and a very real history of beating back the seemingly unstoppable Roman Empire, so it’s a cool choice of theme and they’ve realised it impeccably to date, with their five ranges, including Germania, Allegories and now this one. Fafnir should start to ship around August time, barring any Covid-related delays.

UPDATED 11/07 – Geminus coin images revised to show both sides of both coins in the set

FAFNIR

In the Icelandic Volsunga Saga (late 13th century), Fáfnir is a dwarf with a powerful arm and fearless soul. He guards his father’s house of glittering gold and flashing gems. He is the strongest and most aggressive of the three brothers.

Regin recounts to Sigurd how Odin, Loki, and Hœnir were traveling when they came across Ótr, who had the likeness of an otter during the day. Loki killed the otter with a stone and the three Æsir skinned their catch. The gods came to Hreidmar’s dwelling that evening and were pleased to show off the otter’s skin. Hreidmar and his remaining two sons then seized the gods and held them captive while Loki was made to gather the ransom, which was to stuff the otter’s skin with gold and cover its outside with red gold. Loki fulfilled the task by gathering the cursed gold of Andvari as well as the ring, Andvaranaut, both of which were told to Loki as items that would bring about the death of whoever possessed them. Fáfnir then killed Hreidmar to get all the gold for himself. He became ill-natured and greedy and ventured into the wilderness to keep his fortune. He turned into a serpent or dragon in order to guard his treasure. Fáfnir breathed poison into the land around him so no one would go near him and his treasure, wreaking terror in the hearts of the people.

Regin plotted revenge so that he could get the treasure and sent his foster-son Sigurd to kill the dragon. Regin instructed Sigurd to dig a pit in which he could lie in wait under the trail Fáfnir used to get to a stream and there plunge his sword, Gram, into Fafnir’s heart as he crawls over the pit to the water. Regin then ran away in fear, leaving Sigurd to the task. As Sigurd dug, Odin appeared in the form of an old man with a long beard, advising the warrior to dig more trenches for the blood of Fafnir to run into, presumably so that Sigurd does not drown in the blood. The earth quaked and the ground nearby shook as Fafnir appeared, blowing poison into his path as he made his way to the stream. Sigurd, undaunted, stabbed Fafnir in the left shoulder as he crawled over the ditch he was lying in and succeeded in mortally wounding the dragon. As the creature lay there dying, he spoke to Sigurd and asked for his name, his parentage and who sent him on such a dangerous mission. Fafnir figured out that his own brother, Regin, plotted this, and predicted that Regin would also cause Sigurd’s death. Sigurd told Fafnir that he would go back to the dragon’s lair and take all his treasure. Fafnir warned Sigurd that all who possessed the gold would be fated to die, but Sigurd replied that all men must one day die anyway, and it is the dream of many men to be wealthy until that dying day, so he would take the gold without fear.

Regin then returned to Sigurd after Fafnir was slain. Corrupted by greed, Regin planned to kill Sigurd after Sigurd cook Fafnir’s heart for him to eat, and take all the treasure for himself. However, Sigurd, having tasted Fafnir’s blood while cooking the heart, gained knowledge of the speech of birds and learned of Regin’s impending attack from the Oðinnic (of Odin) birds’ discussion and killed Regin by cutting off his head with Gram. Sigurd then ate some of Fafnir’s heart and kept the remainder, which would later be given to Gudrun after their marriage. (Source: Wikipedia)

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Fafnir was wise and powerful and it’s the ancestor of today’s dragon image. The name of the dragon came to most European languages from Latin, which uses the word draco, derived from the Greek drakan – sharp-eyed. This lets us to believe the dragons were not only sinister but the very intelligent beasts.The mythology and legends are full of stories about dragons that are used to understand the world and teach important lessons. Fafnir is the dragon from Germanian mythology. He owned the great treasure of Andwari, which he fiercely defended. According to legends, consumption of his blood develops supernatural powers. Fafnir, as every dragon didn’t simply exist for his own sake but largely as a background for bold adventurers.

The coin design has been precisely planned and created by Natalia Danysz. The idea used in this project is very rare in Numismatic World before! Seemingly two separate displays compose integral part. The Fafnir’s visualisation has been created in the way, where two parts of its body placed on obverse and reverse of one coin create an image of a dragon’s body arranged in the infinity sign shape. To see this effect, coin needs to be flipped or two coins with Fafnir need to be placed, obverse & reverse, one above the other.

The integral part of coins from Germania series is the symbol of two-headed eagle. On Fafnir’s coins eagle is located on the reverse, encircled by dragon’s tail.

GEMINUS COIN 01

GEMINUS COIN 02

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION n/a n/a n/a
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver 0.9999 silver 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 2 x 31.1 grams 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.6 mm 38.6 mm 45.0 mm
FINISH B/Unc B/Unc B/Unc
MODIFICATIONS None Plating (multiple) High-relief
MINTAGE 25,000 500 999
BOX / C.O.A. No / No Yes / Yes Yes / Yes