Hokusai’s iconic ‘Great Wave Off Kanagawa’ artwork returns to coins with PMC’s mighty Bi-Metal Max, copper-cored format

Easily one of the most famous works of art in the world, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Japanese woodcut artist, Hokusai, has become an icon, not just of the art world, but of modern culture in general. It’s of little surprise that the work has found its way into the numismatic world, with Scottsdale Mint putting it on a bullion coin, and World Coin Appreciation issuing a highly affordable gilded copper coin. Nothing approaches the latest in Singaporean producer, Precious Metal Collectors, ‘Bi-Metal Max’ art range, however.

For those not familiar, Bi-Metal Max coins consist of a large (in this case 33.5 ounces) copper core, around which is a skin of fine silver, usually two-ounces. The end result is a comparatively affordable coin, with relatively huge dimensions. We think it works particularly well for artwork, where the enlarged canvas allows more of the subtle nuances of the original painting to be reproduced. While PMC have issued rectangular coins in this format and series, with Lady Godiva springing to mind, they’ve chosen to crop Hokusai’s work into a square, managing to keep all the main elements in place.

The obverse is in PMC’s newer style, aping the look of a banknote, but fully themed to the subject. We were less than keen originally, especially in gilded form, but we have warmed to it. There are two finishes again, one with an antique finish, the other gilded on both sides. They’re otherwise identical, so which you prefer is purely a matter of taste. Both are quite beautiful, with the high-relief frame working well. Each is nicely boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, and available to order now.


This piece of art is famous all around the world. One of the most recognizable examples of Japanese art in the world, and it has made woodblock famous as well. This piece is from a series that is called The Great Wave Comes, which was produced in 1830. Hokusai was already around 70 years old at the time of the release of this collection. Hokusai stated that he made sure that the fury and power of the waves in the series were clear. He wanted the tension and feeling of power that comes through the piece with ease. Woodblock printing is done through carving, and the texture and depth of this form of art are unique due to this process. One thinks of the colossal weight of the water as well as its movement and lightness at the same time.

This is one of the most deceptively simple pieces of art that have ever been made. Woodcut is perfectly suited for the minting process that is used in this piece. The painting is clear and vivid on the legal tender, with its ratio aspect that is loyal to the original piece. The texture of the woodblock and the relief work perfectly together. The piece displays the drama, the colour, and the movement of the wave just like in the original piece of art. This piece appears like the original in every way, with the benefit of the solid texture and design of the relief process. The Great Wave was practically custom-made for this kind of representation, and the relation between the two creation processes makes a happy marriage that creates a beautiful art piece. The frame surrounding the original is also rendered perfectly in the final product.

DENOMINATION 10,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 10,000 Francs CFA (Chad)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver / 0.999 copper 0.999 silver / 0.999 copper
WEIGHT 62.2 grams / 33.5 oz 62.2 grams / 33.5 oz
DIMENSIONS 120.0 x 120.0 mm 120.0 x 120.0 mm
FINISH Antiqued Gilded
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, colour High-relief, colour
MINTAGE 500 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes