The White Horse is the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in an impressive new coin series
If anyone in the numismatic world can be said to be ‘on a roll’, it’s the Mennica Polska. It should be obvious to all that the quality of modern coins has never been higher, but even taking that into account, the Mint of Poland has been producing some quite outstanding designs over the last few years. First and foremost amongst their releases have been the numerous ancient and mythologically themed issues. Despite how crowded the genre has become and despite that the mint is responsible for helping make it so, we constantly look forward to the next one from this hugely talented producer.
One of the most powerful of mythological constructs, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is the perfect choice for a limited series. Full of potent imagery and an apocalyptic story – always popular in these days of The Walking Dead – the subject has huge potential. Based on this first issue, we’re pleased to see the mint has managed to realise it. No surprises on the specification, of course. The two-ounce, rimless, ultra-high relief silver coin has almost become de rigueur in the genre, but remember that it’s popular because it works so well, while remaining relatively affordable. Coins of this size can maintain a decent diameter while allowing very high levels of relief. The renders we have here indicate that this new release won’t be short of deep relief. We’re usually suspicious of CGI renders, but the Mint of Poland has demonstrated a huge ability to strike a coin that exceeds expectations raised by them.
The reverse design has one of the best depictions of a mounted warrior we’ve yet seen on a coin. The pose of the horse in particular is quite stunning. Everywhere you look on the coin there are more things to see, with literally no negative space anywhere. The bow, boot and wrist-guard of ‘Conquest’ are highlighted with gilding, but the rest is antique-finished, along with the obverse. As for the obverse, it looks to be a common one for the series and continues this mints practice of incorporating the required effigy and inscriptions on a ‘mini-coin’ motif while allowing the rest of this face to carry a themed design. The one here of the four horses against a background of conflict looks excellent.
Packaging will likely be similar to that used by other issues of this type from the mint – namely a wooden box with an outer shipper sleeve. A certificate of authenticity will be included and the number will match that inscribed on the edge of the coin. A quite outstanding issue at first glance and one we can’t wait to see in person. As we stated earlier, a four-coin series and they will be released at the rate of one per year. This genre really is filled with quality, and The White Horse is at the top of the class. Distributed by Canadian dealer Coin Shoppe, it should be available to order any time now from them, or from several of our sponsors.
“Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
THE FOUR HORSEMEN
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to John of Patmos, at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses.
Though theologians and popular culture differ on the first Horseman, the four riders are often seen as symbolizing Conquest or Pestilence (and less frequently, the Christ or the Antichrist), War, Famine, and Death. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the Four Horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.
One reading ties the Four Horsemen to the history of the Roman Empire subsequent to the era in which the Book of Revelation was written. That is, they are a symbolic prophecy of the subsequent history of the Empire.
Based on the above passage from Revelation 6:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB), a common translation into English, the rider of the White Horse (sometimes referred to as the White Rider) is generally referred to as “Conquest”. The name could also be construed as “Victory”, as in the translation found in the Jerusalem Bible (the Greek words are derived from the verb νικάω, to conquer or vanquish). He carries a bow, and wears a victor’s crown. The White Rider has also been called “Pestilence”, particularly in popular culture, but only over the last couple of centuries.
Irenaeus, an influential Christian theologian of the 2nd century, was among the first to interpret this Horseman as Christ himself, his white horse representing the successful spread of the gospel. Various scholars have since supported this notion, citing the later appearance, in Revelation 19, of Christ mounted on a white horse, appearing as The Word of God. Furthermore, earlier in the New Testament, the Book of Mark indicates that the advance of the gospel may indeed precede and foretell the apocalypse. The color white also tends to represent righteousness in the Bible, and Christ is in other instances portrayed as a conqueror.
However, opposing interpretations argue that the first of the Four Horsemen is probably not the horseman of Revelation 19. They are described in significantly different ways, and Christ’s role as the Lamb who opens the seven seals makes it unlikely that he would also be one of the forces released by the seals.
Besides Christ, the Horseman could represent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was understood to have come upon the Apostles at Pentecost after Jesus’ departure from Earth. The appearance of the Lion in Revelation 5 shows the triumphant arrival of Jesus in Heaven, and the first Horseman could represent the sending of the Holy Spirit by Jesus and the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Other interpretations relying on comparative religious research ascribe the first Horseman as guiding for “the right path”; Mahabharata Lord Krishna was a charioteer to Arjuna by riding on white horses, while Arjuna himself was an archer. (Source: Wikipedia)
|DENOMINATION||$5 NZD (Niue)|
|MODIFICATIONS||Gilded highlights, ultra high relief|
|BOX / COA||Yes / Yes|
Awesome coin;the horses seem alive &moving. Captures the intensity & drama of the event in 2 oz of pure siver no less!
Just received “White Horse” in hand. Stunning & dramatic-on a par with Poseidon & Ares. One of the best of this genre.
Looks to me like you’re building an incredible collection.
In no small part due to your highlighting new releases in timely fashion & your excellent profile series. In U.S., info on world coins is hard to find if you can even find it,so Agaunews is a valuable & informative resource. Plus,your accurate & creative coin descriptions are just plain fun to read Mik;thanks.