The Eiffel Tower in Paris, despite its popularity, hasn’t been an overly used subject in the modern coin world. The Monnaie de Paris has featured it, of course, and the British Pobjoy Mint produced an unusual piece actually shaped like the monument back in 2014, but in general, it doesn’t appear anywhere near as often as you would think. MDM are rectifying that somewhat with an interesting new piece.
The German dealer/producer has always catered for the more esoteric and higher-end part of the coin market, and this is no exception. A five-ounce proof silver coin doesn’t say high-end because of its weight, but a large glass window in the centre and a relatively huge 100 mm diameter indicate this isn’t your run-of-the-mill bullion variant.
The glass inlay in the centre depicts a pretty cool view angling upward of the tower and the reverse face strike carries it on in silver to fill the acreage on offer. A neat privy mark featuring a pair of ‘t’s indicates that the coin is part of the new Translucent Treasures range, and the serial number is inscribed here as well. It’s unlikely the edge would have been thick enough to hold the serial number as it does on many other coins, due to the metal being employed for maximising the diameter over the thickness. A mass of tiny fleur-de-lyes – a traditional French symbol – is repeated all over the background field. There’s little doubt this coin has a French subject…
The obverse also lets you see the image in the window, of course, but the surrounding metal is used in a more traditional way to display the effigy of Big Liz, and the inscribed issue details. Packaging consists of a round wooden box with a window in the hinged lid and a light under the coin to make viewing it super-easy and effective. Clearly a well thought out item, and a certificate of authenticity is enclosed. The mintage is set at 500.
Something quite elegant, particularly the reverse face. A fine celebration of the 130th anniversary of the world’s biggest Meccano set. It should be up for pre-order soon and while we’ve yet to see dealer prices, we’d expect it to sell around the €350-400 mark.
THE EIFFEL TOWER
The Eiffel Tower is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Constructed from 1887–1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.
The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris. Its base is square, measuring 125 metres (410 ft) on each side. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. Due to the addition of a broadcasting aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Excluding transmitters, the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest free-standing structure in France after the Millau Viaduct.
The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground – the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually accessible only by lift.