New kids on the block, Germania Mint, have already gotten off to a flying start with their pretty Germania and Allegories silver bullion rounds. Tapping into the desire for national personification, the mint chose to bring to the fore the legends and iconography of a region that had fought the Roman Empire some two millennia ago. To be clear, Germania is not modern Germany, but a region defined by the Romans that encompassed modern southern Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany (Germania Inferior), as well as Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France (Germania Superior).
Greater Germania was located to the north of these two Roman provinces and were never fully conquered. Indeed, the destruction of the three legions of Varus in the Teutoburg Forest in 9AD effectively ended the Empire’s expansion Northward. The Germanic warrior was described by Caesar in his memoirs as savage, uncivilised, nomadic, and a great threat to Rome. The Germania Mints new issue shows us why. We all know the legend of the Viking Berserker as they were repeatedly mentioned in Old Norse mythology, and were said to be warriors who fought in a trance-like fury. The name itself translates as “bear-coats”, and that’s exactly how the mint has chosen to depict their warrior. Even the Emperor Trajan had Dacian warriors depicted thus dressed on his famous decorated column from AD113.
Most mythology coins follow a specific format, and this new issue is no different. Two ounces of silver, rimless, high-relief and with an antique finish, this is both a relatively affordable format, and one that allows a good size and plenty of depth – both in evidence here. The depiction of the warrior is a good one, with plenty of background detail to ground him in reality. After all, Berserkers were historically a reality, which places them quite apart from most of the coins issued like this to date, which remain firmly grounded in fantasy. Interestingly, they are said to be a potential origin for the werewolf legend.
The obverse carries on with the iconography introduced with the Germania bullion coin. The bicephalous eagle is a fantastic symbol, and the axe reappears on this face as well. Unusually, both faces have gilded elements on them, and as this kind of work is the mint owners speciality, you can expect industry-leading levels of quality. The whole thing is presented in a box with a certificate of authenticity, and the mintage is set at 499 pieces. A neat companion piece to the bullion rounds and a refreshing change from the fantastical themes of other mints. Available from 19th August and on display at the ANA show for those lucky enough to be going.