Hannibal and Alexander the Great launch the Mint of Poland’s new ancient commanders series

Along with their multiple high-end ranges of coins themed around the ancient world, usually distributed by smaller third-parties, the Mint of Poland also produces several smaller ranges that is handles itself. Despite their less ambitious specification and design, there have been some beautiful coins released in this very popular genre. A good example is the Janus coin from last year that used a faux-handstrike shape to depict the Roman god.

That size and shape of coin is back for the mints new Commanders series. Using the same 16.70 gram silver format with no rim and an antique finish, these ape the more expensive series without the cost that those routinely command, and they appear to do so while maintaining a good level of design. We only have these distinctly average art renders at the moment, but we can easily imagine these looking great in reality (we’ll push for better images).

Two designs have been announced and they’ve certainly picked some giants of the ancient world. Alexander the Great and the scourge of Rome, Hannibal Barca, are brilliant choices to kick off the series. The design of both coins centres around a portrait of the historical figure, with a period decorative element in the background. The obverse face carries some imagery that you would associate with the figure. Set into each coin is a semi-precious stone. Alexander sports a yellow cats-eye stone that is cleverly integrated into the design on both sides (the solitary stone passes through the coin), while Hannibal goes with an orange cornelian stone (a rust-coloured variant of chalcedony), similarly well styled into the imagery.

Both coins have a mintage of just 500 pieces each, quite low for a coin of this weight, and each comes presented in a latex ‘floating frame’ with custom artwork. All told, these are potentially great looking issues that should be available at considerably more wallet-friendly prices than the premium 2oz ranges. We look forward to seeing the finished articles.


Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon[a] and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.

During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philip’s assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father’s pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.

Alexander endeavoured to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea” and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi: Alexander’s surviving generals and heirs. (Wikipedia)


Hannibal Barca (247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War (264–241 BC). His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair; all also commanded Carthaginian armies.

Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the western Mediterranean Basin, triggered by the emergence of the Roman Republic as a great power after it had established its supremacy over Italy. Although Rome had won the First Punic War, revanchism prevailed in Carthage, symbolised by the alleged pledge that Hannibal made to his father never to be a friend of Rome. The Second Punic War broke out in 218 after Hannibal’s attack on Saguntum, an ally of Rome in Hispania. He then made his famous military exploit of carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants. In his first few years in Italy, he won a succession of dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae. He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent’s respective strengths and weaknesses, and to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal’s well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer several Italian cities allied to Rome. Hannibal occupied most of southern Italy for 15 years, but could not win a decisive victory, as the Romans led by Fabius Maximus avoided confrontation with him, instead waging a war of attrition. A counter-invasion of North Africa led by Scipio Africanus forced him to return to Carthage. Scipio had studied Hannibal’s tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and he finally defeated Rome’s nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having previously driven Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula.

After the war, Hannibal successfully ran for the office of sufet. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome; however, those reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and in Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III the Great in his war against Rome. Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome’s terms, and Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans and committed suicide by poisoning himself. (Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION 500 CFA Francs (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 16.70 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Shaped, inset stone
MINTAGE 999 each
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes