MCI adds to its World of Evolution fossil coin series with a shark tooth and an ammonite variant

After the Evolution of Life, and the Prehistoric Life series from Coin Invest Trust and the Austrian Mint, MCI-Mint joined the fossil coin genre with a coin that had an actual fossil attached to it. Coming with a small Ammonite attached to the reverse face, it used the struck design to make a setting for it. Only 500 were struck and it must have been successful because MCI have released a variant of it comprising of a further 199 units. The variant version uses a rare black ammonite in place of the original, but in all other respects is identical and you can see the coin further down.

Of more note is the true second coin in this series called World of Evolution and it’s one that has moved away from the invertebrate world and headed into bigger territory. Selachii is the name for the superorder classification that sharks belong to and the coin carries a small fossil tooth. Again, the coin itself is used to provide a backdrop to the fossil, here a smattering of shark teeth and fish bones. Inscriptions include the series title, coin title, date and composition. The coin has an antiqued finish.

Struck in an ounce of fine silver, the series is issued for the African state of Burkina Faso and shares the common obverse from the first coin. Not the first coin to carry a fossil shark tooth strangely enough, Treasures of Oz did a good one in early 2015 , although in this case it was a smaller tooth actually inset into the coin in a capsule, rather than attached to the face as here. The coin theme was modern, but there are strict regulations around modern shark teeth, so the fossil was used.

Packaging is good, a clear acrylic display block that makes showing it easy, especially as part of a fossil display, perhaps. A certificate of authenticity and a coloured shipper box are also supplied. Mintage is back up to 500 for this one and the price is the same at €159.95, although the rarer Black Ammonite coin is €30 more expensive, no doubt on account of the greatly reduced mintage. Both coins are described as in stock and they can be bought directly from Euromuenzhandel. Site sponsors PowerCoin and Pela-Coins both carried the first coin and will likely get this one.



Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays.Sharks have diversified into over 500 species. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres in length.

Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths of 2,000 metres. They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can survive and be found in both seawater and freshwater. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that protects their skin from damage and parasites in addition to improving their fluid dynamics. They have numerous sets of replaceable teeth.

Shark teeth are embedded in the gums rather than directly affixed to the jaw, and are constantly replaced throughout life. Multiple rows of replacement teeth grow in a groove on the inside of the jaw and steadily move forward in comparison to a conveyor belt; some sharks lose 30,000 or more teeth in their lifetime. The rate of tooth replacement varies from once every 8 to 10 days to several months. In most species, teeth are replaced one at a time as opposed to the simultaneous replacement of an entire row, which is observed in the cookiecutter shark.

Because of the nature of a sharks skeleton, made from a cartilaginous material instead of bone, fossils are overwhelmingly teeth, helped by the almost production-line way they are grown and discarded.



First appearing in the Devonian period and descended from an animal called a Bactrite, Ammonites roamed the seas of the earth from around 400 million years ago, and didn’t die out until around 65mya, a staggering period given the relatively infinitessimal time mankind has been around. At every one of the world major extinction events only a few species of ammonites survived, but they always bounced back until their luck finally ran out, along with the dinosaurs, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

Ammonites were predatory mollusks, very mobile and with tentacles. Very close in appearance to the still-living Nautilus, they were in fact more closely related to the octopi. Usually spiral in shape, although straight species aren’t rare, they remained buoyant using a siphuncle, basically a biological pump and siphon system. Each of the segments in the shell were a chamber that the animal resided in and the pattern of the edge of each chamber, called a a suture, is what marks out each species.

Many species probably carried ink sacs for defence, at least some were plankton feeders, and many were munched on by huge undersea reptiles called Mosasaurs. Fossils are plentiful and range from the tiny up to a colossal two meters in diameter! Some, especially in Europe, are so beautifully preserved that the original mother-of-pearl sheen is still fully intact. Others are less well preserved but show extraordinary internal detail with some having quite amazingly complex suture lines. Regardless, fossils are plentiful and make a great way to date rock formations.




COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIAMETER 44.0 mm
FINISH Antiqued
MODIFICATIONS Fossil attached
MINTAGE 500 (199 Black Ammonite)
BOX / COA Yes / Yes