Scottsdale Mint’s unique ‘hewn-edged’ bullion coin series returns with the third in the Terracotta Army 5oz series

Finally, after us thinking we weren’t going to get our annual fix of Scottsdale’s ‘hewn-edged’ bullion coins, the third in their ‘Terracotta Army’ series lands on planet numismatic. These quite unique looking coins alternate between the ancient Chinese and the ancient Egyptian worlds, but it is the former that has attracted extra interest because of the limited mintages.

The 2019 almost seemed like an afterthought, as it appeared late, without fanfare, and with a token 1,500 mintage. This time around the delays are no doubt tied to Covid’s hideous influence, but we’re still getting a nice and tight 2,500 cap on the numbers, almost guaranteeing interest. Irrespective of numbers, these coins deserve your attention just for their look alone.

This coin depicts a classic, wider view of the famous pottery platoons, fingers still placed as to grip long since rotted wooden spears and swords, and with the occasional missing head. It’s a nice design that suits the antique finish and chunky format very well. Not as cool as the 2018 coin, but better than the weak 2019 one. There’s little disputing what’s being depicted here.

Unlike the Egyptian coins which are issued for fellow African nation, Chad, the Terracotta Army designs come out under the Fijiian banner, so that island nations emblem takes centre stage on the obverse. All of the required inscriptions are sited around it, mercifully keeping the main reverse face free of unnecessary distraction. Previous issues came in a hessian-style drawstring bag (pictured lower down) and that may be the case here, but we’ve yet to get confirmation of that. As usual, pandemic interference may occur.

As we said earlier, the 2,500 mintage is going to be a big attraction, but in truth, the main draw here is how different these are to anything else out there, and in a good way. We loved this format from day one, and while we feel it does suit the style of Ancient Egypt a little better, there’s no denying these are very interesting and attractive bullion coins, carrying a very competitive premium over spot. It would be great to see a Babylonian companion series, given the gorgeous iconography around such artifacts as the Ishtar Gate, or even something from the old Mesoamerican cultures. Available to order now, they should be shipping around the end of this month.

THE TERRACOTTA ARMY

The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang (literally the “First Emperor of Qin”) was discovered on 29 March 1974 about 1.5 km east of his tomb mound at Mount Li. Fragments of the terracotta figures, along with pieces of the necropolis structures, had been found in the area for years, which led to Chinese archaeologists investigating. They found the largest pottery figurine group yet unearthed and it just snowballed from there.

The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE) in his most noted work Shiji, written a century after the mausoleum’s completion. Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne, and the project eventually involved 700,000 workers until its completion in 206 BCE. The scale of the tomb complex is quite staggering. The layout of the mausoleum is modelled on the Qin capital Xianyang, divided into inner and outer cities. The circumference of the inner city is 2.5 km and the outer is 6.3 km. The Chinese have used ground-penetrating radar and core sampling and have determined the complex covers an incredible 98 square kilometres.

An earthen mound holds the Emperor’s tomb itself, but sensibly, the Chinese have decided not to excavate until they can be assured that no damage will occur to the contents. When the Terracotta Army was uncovered, the figures were covered in paint, which you will notice now only by its absence. The lacquer covering the paint can curl in as little as fifteen seconds, and flake off completely in just four minutes!

The Terracotta Army itself is believed to hold more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Only a fraction of them have been uncovered to date and much work remains to be done. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. It isn’t just military figures joining the Emperor in the afterlife. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Scottsdale Mint is pleased to announce the 3rd annual release from the popular Fiji coin program – The 2020 Terracotta Army 5 oz Antique-Polished Silver Coin. This 5 oz coin has a 46mm diameter, ruptured edge, and an antique-polished finish that push the boundaries of any coin on the market.

Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the Qin Dynasty, ruled as China’s first emperor from 220–210 BC. To achieve immortality he commissioned the building of his own tomb – and an army to protect it. The Terracotta Army found in the Emperor’s burial complex was meant to guard his spirit in the afterlife. This massive collection consists of more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers, horses, and chariots. Each clay figure is complete with armor, weapons, and unique facial features. Since being discovered by farmers in 1974, the Terracotta Army is held as one of the most remarkable and mysterious discoveries of the ancient world.

The 2020 Terracotta Army 5 oz Silver Coin has a limited mintage of 2,500 pieces. The coins, manufactured and distributed by Scottsdale Mint and legal tender in Fiji, are struck in .999+ silver and weigh 5 troy ounces each.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 Fiji
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 155.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 46.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ruptured edge
MINTAGE 2,500
BOX / C.O.A. Bag / Yes
SCOTTSDALE MINT