A blistering hot day in Tahoua, a region in the west of the African country Niger, and a seven-year-old Tuareg boy tracking a stray goat looks up at the sky and witnesses a flaming ball fall from the sky and impact the ground. It is the afternoon of 21 August 1991, and the Taizerzait meteorite had just ‘landed’ on Earth right by the feature that gave it its name, Mt. Tazerzait. Classified as a chondrite, the Tazerzait meteorite is very unusual in displaying very little alteration from the shock of the impact and a relatively long cosmic exposure age. Weighing around 110kg, the Tauregs broke up the chunk of rock into manageable pieces, the largest weighing around 30kg, and from there it went out into the world.

Some of it has ended up embedded in the front of 699 silver coins struck for MCI-Mint and issued for the country that the meteorite had the bad manners to gatecrash, Niger. Except for around 50% of the reverse face being coloured, the coin is antique-finished, a speciality for the German coin producer, and adorning the coloured sky is a small piece of the Mt. Tazerzait meteorite itself. An ounce of fine (0.999) silver in weight, the coin comes in a nice box which sits in a coloured shipper. Inside the box is a Certifcicate of Authenticity.

With meteorite coins now representing a significant area of interest for collectors, and with an ever-increasing level of variety and innovation being applied to them, it seems MCI have made a sensible decision to increase their presence in the genre. Another one for the custom meteorite-shaped coin box perhaps. Available now for around €140.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

IN THE SKY OVER AFRICA
On the 21st of August in the year 1991 a seven year old Tuareg boy was the surprised witness when a 110 kilogram meteorite created a fiery flash in the sky over the african town of Tahoua in the country of Niger and eventually crashed in the desert. Only little time later a Tuareg man sold the first pieces to the international meteorite hunter community.
Later investigations in a geological laboratory revealed that the so called Mount Tazerzait meteorite belongs to a group of meteorites named chondrites, strictly speaking it is a L5 Chondrite. Chondrites are some of the oldest remains from the time our solar system was born. Their mother bodies were created together with the planets inside the disc of solar nebula which surrounded our newborn star app. 4.5 billion years ago, but these asteroids never became big enough to form a hot inner core. So the chemical composition of chondrites resemble that found in the atmosphere of the sun without much altering by geological processes. For billion of years these asteroids were flying through our solar system before they eventually hit the earth. They are invaluable artifacts for scientific research because they can tell us a lot about the first years of the development of our star system.
The coin was issued by the country of Niger, the same the meteorite chose for his fall. A niece little piece of the meteorite is attached to the coin which depicts a Tuareg man with his dromedary while in the background the meteorite is crossing the african sky over the desert.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
1,000 FRANCS CFA 0.999 SILVER 31.1 g 38.61 mm ANTIQUE 699 YES / YES
MCI-MINT / EUROMUENZHANDEL