Masterpieces in Stone is here with a Rhodonite inset coin celebrating the Venetian Doges Palace

A notoriously tough genre of modern coins to stand out in, the general quality of art-architectural coins is second to none. CIT’s much-admired trailblazing 2004 Tiffany Art coin has sprouted a whole range of competing series, one of which is Moneda Nuevas Masterpieces in Stone. There have been three issues to date, the Malachite Room in St. Petersburg, the Blue Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace and the Amber Room in Catherine Palace. For 2016, a little late admittedly, Moneda Nueva have chosen the Doges Palace in Venice.

Collectors of this genre will find no surprises in the specification other than the three-ounce weight in place of the more common two-ounce. Struck to a high relief in fine 0.999 silver, antique-finished and with an inset mineral, it ticks pretty much all the art-architectural boxes. The extra weight has gone to both thickness and to increasing the diameter to 55 mm from the typical 50 mm of the competition, although that has meant the price sits higher.

Set in the remarkable city of Venice, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is a Venetian Gothic palace built as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice and since 1923 has been a museum. It was completed in 1424 on the site of a previous palace built way back in 814. Constant changes and rebuilds, often due to fire, have left us today with one of the most impressive structures in this highly unusual city, one packed with beautiful artwork.

The obverse depicts the Giants’ Staircase, the approach to the building interior from the Piazza that was commissioned in 1485. Two giant statues of Mars and Neptune by the Florentine sculptor and architect Jacopo d’Antonio Sansovino guard the staircase. They were chosen to represent the power of Venice on land and at sea. The Lion of St. Marks is also placed above the entrance, just as in reality. We like the way the Fijiian emblem has been incorporated without spoiling the overall design integrity.

The reverse face features the Antechamber to the Hall of the Full College, the room where visiting foreign ambassadors and delegations waited to see the Full College, the body delegated by the Senate to deal with foreign affairs. Full of fine friezes, artwork and Corinthian columns since its restoration after a 1574 fire, the coin has chosen the marble fireplace with its sculpture of the female figure of Venice resting on a lion and accompanied by allegories of Glory and Concord. It is the central part of this fireplace that holds the window filled with a piece of Rhodonite, a pink crystalline mineral.

The coin is packaged in a Nimbus-style floating latex frame with a themed insert that looks pretty good. No waiting for this one as it’s in stock now and ready to ship for prices around the €350 mark. A nice coin that competes in this super-tough genre very well.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIAMETER 55.00 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Rhodonite insert
BOX / COA Yes / Yes