South Korea has been little known in the modern numismatic market, but that changed in 2016 when KOMSCO, the Korean Mint, launched the first Chiwoo Cheonwang silver bullion round. Another one-ounce addition was issued in 2017 and there’s recently been a third design released. KOMSCO have now revisited the 2017 medal and exclusively via Gainesville Coins in the US, have made a ½oz variant available for the first time.
The legendary 14th head of the Shinshi (first Korean state), Chiwoo earned the name ‘Cheonwang’ (Heavenly King) and was said to be able to summon storms and other weather to defeat his enemies in the guise of the God of War. It’s a popular design and for good reason. Korean mythology is very rich in larger than life characters, and with Norse, Greek and Roman gods having taken the limelight in recent years, something like this stands out as different. These seem to be reasonably priced given the small 10k mintage, so one worth checking out for sure.
REVERSE: Chiwoo is shown riding horseback, his horse rearing on its hind legs, with a shield that bears the intimidating face of Do ggae bi. Chiwoo wears full body armor and his famous devil-like mask. The name “CHIWOO CHEONWANG” is inscribed along the rim to the left. The edge design is reeded.
OBVERSE: A Silla Dynasty (c. 7th century) roof tile known as Gwi-myeon-wa (or Yong-myeon-wa) appears in great detail. The tile depicts Do ggae bi, a supernatural being said to ward off evil spirits that is therefore a popular design for roof tiles dating back hundreds of years in Korean history. Rim inscriptions include the date and purity “2017 FINE SILVER 999,” the issuing country “REPUBLIC OF KOREA,” the denomination “1/2 CLAY,” and the KOMSCO logo.