‘Icons of Innovation’ bullion coin series from APMEX launches with the ‘father of modern science’, Galileo

It isn’t just the fictional world of H.P. Lovecraft thats getting the bullion coin treatment at APMEX as the US-based mega-‘dealer has also launched a very pretty new coin series based firmly in reality. ‘Icons of Inspiration’ will look at individuals that have stood tall in history, and who better to start with than an Italian scientist considered one of the greatest minds in history – Galileo Gallilei.

Gallileo is well known, even today, so a sensible choice for a coin, but that doesn’t guarantee success. What does is getting a top-level coin artist to do the design, and they’ve certainly done that with Joel Iskowitz. Outside of creating over 2,000 stamps for 40 different countries, Iskowitz is also a prolific and award-winning coin designer, spending many years at the United States Mint. His designs include several America the Beautiful coins, platinum American Eagle coins, and multiple gold First Spouse coins – indeed, over 50 coins and medals bear his work.

What he has done here is create a work that is well above the norm for a bullion coin. The image of Galileo at work, surrounded by his inventions and tools is absolutely outstanding. Fine detail abounds and the use of layered elements, even the orbiting planet ring in the background, is quite sublime. The obverse is equally brilliant. Said to be a muse, the female figure stands easily with others like Liberty, Britannia and Germania in inspiration and execution. We don’t normally expect much on the obverse of a bullion coin, so this came as a great surprise.

Issued for Niue, the coin comes in two formats. The 1oz 0.999 silver and a 1oz 0.9999 gold are classic fayre these days in the bullion market, and the low mintages of 10,000 and 100 pieces respectively are also not unusual, but nice numbers to see from a collectability perspective. A limited run of 100 proof silver coins is also on offer, 10 of which will have a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Iskowitz. The proof and the gold coin come boxed. A terrific first issue and a series that joins our top tier of ones to watch. Available now.


Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from Pisa. Galileo has been called the “father of observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of the scientific method”, and the “father of modern science”.[8]

Galileo studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, the principle of relativity, inertia, projectile motion and also worked in applied science and technology, describing the properties of pendulums and “hydrostatic balances”. He invented the thermoscope and various military compasses, and used the telescope for scientific observations of celestial objects. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the observation of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, the observation of Saturn’s rings, and the analysis of sunspots.

Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism met with opposition from within the Catholic Church and from some astronomers. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture”.

Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated both the Pope and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. During this time, he wrote Two New Sciences (1638), primarily concerning kinematics and the strength of materials, summarizing work he had done some forty years earlier. (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $5  NZD (Niue) $5 NZD (Niue) $250 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 39.0 mm 39.0 mm 39.0 mm
FINISH B / Uncirculated Proof B / Uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS None 10 have signed COA None
MINTAGE 10,000 100 100
BOX / C.O.A. No / No Yes / Yes Yes / Yes

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “GALILEO GALILEI“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0