Leipzig-based mint, MCI launched a new series of one-ounce silver bullion coins back in early 2014 and the coin went on to be a big success. Following that up, a new Benin Elephant design debuted in 2015 and was likewise well-regarded. Unlike the big guns in the silver bullion coin world, the Benin Elephant is strictly limited to a run of just 5,000 and therin lies much of the appeal. Nice design, tight mintage and a quality strike all add up to popularity and with MCI expanding the series under the Silverline umbrella with a Zebra, a Hippo and shortly a Rhinoceros coin, that’s clearly the case.
As a mint that specialises in finishes most mints dabble in only rarely, it was expected there would be other variants of the base coins as there were with the gilded version of the 2014 coin. What wasn’t expected was the growth in size to two ounces, and the application of a high-relief process. Dubbed by MCI as ‘Ultra High Relief Plus‘, the coin apparently takes the process about as high as regular minting techniques allow, around 1.5mm. MCI have chosen to release the new coin in two different finishes, proof and antique. What you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but the antique finish variant is only being struck 250 times, with the proof being four times as numerous. The antique does carry a 40% premium, however. The design remains the same as the 1oz bullion finish original, itself an evolution of the 2014 coin.
Both are now available from the MCI store (blue button link below) and at the time of writing are priced at €119.00 for the proof, and €169 for the antiqued. Both are packaged in nice boxes in coloured shippers which also hold the Certificate of Authenticity.