Meteorite Art heads to the Libyan desert with the third in this 5oz silver coin series

With even a big mainstream producer like the Royal Canadian Mint getting in on the action, fragment-adorned meteorite coins continue to be popular and attract a good range of options for all price points. Leaning more towards the upper end of the market, Moneda Nueva have an excellent series of five-ounce silver coins called Meteorite Art. Launching a couple of years ago with Sikhote Alin and followed up last year with Brenham, this latest release is the third to debut.

The family resemblance to the earlier coins is very clear and that’s a positive given the quality of those, but nevertheless, this one has a character of its own. Instead of focusing on a single specific impact like most in this genre, Moneda Nueva has chosen to showcase the phenomenon of Libyan Desert Glass, a material long admired and even present in carved form in Tutankhamun’s pendant. To this end, a fairly large piece of this wind-eroded material is placed in the centre of the concave reverse face, around which is a struck radiating pattern of ‘impact’ lines, meant to represent an original strike (which may or may not have occurred). Just the coin title is inscribed on this face and the whole thing is expertly done.

Also as before, the obverse carries a scene associated with the main subject and LDG has a view of the desert and some heavily eroded rock features. The coat-of-arms of the African state the Republic of Chad, is sympathetically placed in the negative space away from the art. All in all, a fine piece in this genre and a continuation of what has been a very high quality series.

The coin is packaged in a good looking box complete with an enclosed certificate of authenticity. Just 500 of these five-ounce, sterling silver coins will be struck and it should be available late in July or early in August. Given the spec, it’s obvious this isn’t a budget issue, so expect to pay circa €400 for one. Meteorite coins tend to be pricier than most because the inset fragments carry a cost of their own. It does impart the coin with something special, however. A few of our sponsors sell this one, so they’re fairly easy to obtain at this stage.


Libyan Desert glass, or Great Sand Sea glass is an impactite found in areas in the eastern Sahara, in the deserts of eastern Libya and western Egypt. Fragments of desert glass can be found over areas of tens of square kilometers where the wind has exposed large areas of bedrock.

The origin of desert glass is uncertain. Meteoritic origins have long been considered possible, and recent research links the glass to impact features, such as zircon-breakdown, vaporized quartz and meteoritic metals, and to an impact crater. Some geologists associate the glass with radiative melting from meteoric large aerial bursts, making it analogous to trinitite created from sand exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion. Libyan Desert glass has been dated as having formed about 26 million years ago. It was knapped and used to make tools during the Pleistocene.

Usually an opaque yellow in colour, Libyan Desert Glass is thought to be the purest natural silicate glass to be found anywhere on Earth. The largest piece ever found weighed a hefty 26 kilograms in weight, but most fragments are the size and shape of polished pebbles. Over a thousand tons of this glass is believed to be strewn over this area.

COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 155.5 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Desert glass insert, high-relief
BOX / COA Yes / Yes