He’s killed a lion and a hydra, now Hercules has a beef with the Ceryneian Hind in Niue’s latest coin

One of those ideas that seems custom made for a coin series, the Twelve Labours of Hercules is a rousing tale of daring, adventure and slaughter that typifies the ancient world at its most imaginative. Hercules himself has been a character that many leaders throughout history have claimed lineage to, in the hopes that they’ll seem a bit more than the average citizen. Unfortunately for them, the stories encompass quests that by their very nature led to the phrase Herculean task to describe a massive undertaking, so living up to the legend has eluded them.

Today sees the third of the twelve-coin series make an appearance, and it carries a style that doesn’t stray from the one that has served it so well with the first two coins. The Ceryneian Hind was alleged to be so fast that it could outrun an arrow. With Hercules having already proven his ability to render a fearsome beast deceased, Eurystheus tried to be a smartass and have Hercules capture the rapid animal instead. He did so of course, but let it go afterwards to appease the goddess Artemis.

The coin depicts the Greek hero wrestling the Hind to the ground and as you would expect, there’ a ton of high-relief detail in this one and hardly a flat space on the whole of the reverse face. Antique-finished and rimless, it falls to the gilded antlers of the hind to draw the eye into the action. The obverse remains the common one that does a great job of laying out the series. Each issue has the specific ‘cameo’ gilded to match the reverse face. It’s a neat way to follow the progress of the series.

A wooden box in a themed sleeve, with an enclosed Certificate of Authenticity, make up the presentation. The mintage of this one is capped at 500 pieces again, and it should ship around April time. The series continues to be exclusively distributed by two dealers, Coin Shoppe in Canada and Magikos Coins in Poland. It will be sold at a whole raft of the usual dealers from there. An other fine release in a series that should grow into something special when complete. We’ve added it to our huge roundup of the Mint of Poland mythology series.

THE TWELVE LABOURS OF HERCULES

Hercules was married to Megara, the daughter of King Kreo of Thebes, and together they had five children. Unfortunately, the goddess Hera drove Hercules insane in a fit of jealousy and he killed his wife and children.

Driven mad by Hera (queen of the gods), Hercules slew his son, daughter, and wife Megara. After recovering his sanity, Hercules deeply regretted his actions; he was purified by King Thespius, then traveled to Delphi to inquire how he could atone for his actions. Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, advised him to go to Tiryns and serve his cousin King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labours Eurystheus might set him; in return, he would be rewarded with immortality. Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. Eventually, he placed himself at Eurystheus’s disposal.

Eurystheus originally ordered Hercules to perform ten labours. Hercules accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus refused to recognize two: the slaying of the Lernaean Hydra, as Hercules’ nephew and charioteer Iolaus had helped him; and the cleansing of the Augeas, because Hercules accepted payment for the labour. Eurystheus set two more tasks (fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus), which Hercules also performed, bringing the total number of tasks to twelve.

01 – Slay the Nemean lion.

02 – Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.

03 – Capture the Ceryneian Hind.

04 – Capture the Erymanthian Boar.

05 – Clean the Augean stables in a single day.

06 – Slay the Stymphalian birds.

07 – Capture the Cretan Bull.

08 – Steal the Mares of Diomedes.

09 – Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta.

10 – Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.

11 – Steal the apples of the Hesperides.

12 – Capture and bring back Cerberus.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIAMETER 45.00 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Gilding
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes (also on coin rim)
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