One of the best of the art-architecture coins released last year was an unexpected one fom the Mint of Poland featuring something we’re surprised hasn’t come up before, the ancient world. Depicting one of the early powerhouse civilisations from the Middle East, Imperial Art: Mesopotamia was the first in a new annual series looking at the quite extraordinary structures and symbols of the ancient world. Widely liked, it was a no-brainer to expect a new entry into the series this year.
A perennial favourite in the coin world of late has been that most impressive of early civilisations, Ancient Egypt. We’ve already seen a highly impressive new premium coin from Numiartis called Egyptian Symbols: Ankh which is the debut release in a new series, and now the Mint of Poland have launched Imperial Art: Egypt. Like the previous release, and many others in the genre, it’s a 2 oz silver coin with an antique finish, struck in high-relief and with an inset window of a mineral.
The mineral used this time around is citrine, a yellow to orange-yellow coloured variant of quartz (can be brownish-red if produced by artificial heat treatment) and after Amethyst, the most popular quartz colour for gemstones. There’s no particular significance to citrine in Ancient Egyptian culture, but here it’s meant to represent the sun and sand so strongly associated with the society in modern minds.
The reverse face depicts a Sphinx, one of over 600 that flanked a long boulevard leading to the Serapeum of Saqqara. Also depicted is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Khonsu Temple at Karnak, and surrounding the citrine insert, Osiris statues from the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Eighteenth Dynasty pharoah who was the longest serving woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. The obverse depicts a scene from the interior of the magnificent Temple of Isis at Philae, from which an important obelisk used to help decipher the hieroglyphic language still resides in Dorset, England. A small effigy of the ultra-famous and increasingly controversial bust of Nefertiti resides to the right of the citrine, as does a bigger depiction of a more modern queen, Queen Elizabeth II, in light of the coin being issued by the Commonwealth island of Niue.
Only 500 of these superb coins will be struck, each numbered on the rim and presented in a good quality wooden box inside a coloured shipper. The second of eight coins in what is shaping up to be a top-class series, the next entrant heads off to China we believe. Available from limited dealers like First Coin Company and Super Coins (thanks to both for help with the images), Coin Shoppe and PowerCoin, amongst others, so wherever you are, you can pick one up. It should ship in the second half of October. Take a look at the video to see the fine job the mint has done with this one.