Now on its sixth release, the Helvetic Mint’s unusual ‘Animal Skin’ series of oval silver coins has moved away from the exotic for 2017 and gone with the familiar domestic cat. The series debuted in 2012 with the Blue Iguana, a coin that experienced some decent appreciation at the time, and the series went on to feature the Crocodile, House Fly, Tortoise and Green Tree Python in subsequent years.
Known for their ability in the field of high-relief numismatics, the Helvetic Mint has employed the technique here, but not to a huge degree. That’s a wise choice we think given the realistic subject matter, something hard to depict with ultra high-relief strikes. The series main feature is to strike the coin to replicate the feel of the skin of the animal being featured, although in the case of the housefly coin it was the insects compound eye that was the main focus.
The eye remains important this year as the coin features a holographic treatment to them. Cats have compelling eyes and it was an inspired decision to make them the focal point of the coin, particularly as the feel of cat fur is never going to reproduce very well on struck silver like the reptile skin of many past issues in this series. The reverse face is a simple close-up of a cats face, completely free of distracting inscriptions and printed using a technique called 5C which takes the standard CMYK printing and then adds a lacquer.
The obverse is a standard Niue one with the border elongated to fit the oval coin format. All inscriptions are fitted within a surrounding border as is usually the case. The coin comes encapsulated inside a box with a certificate of authenticity. The whole thing is wrapped inside a themed outer shipper box. Mintage remains at just 700 pieces and these usually sell for around the €100/US$100 mark. A coin we feel has great appeal for cat lovers and there are huge numbers of those.