In the annals of literary history, 1516 will go down as a year to forget. The deaths of two of the worlds greatest writers just a day apart saw to that. On the 23 April, William Shakespeare died in his early fifties, and on the 22nd, the writer of ground-breaking novel Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes died aged 68. In actual fact, Shakespeare died on 3 May 1616 by todays calendar, as England in 1516 used the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian one.

Born on April 26th 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon, William Shakespeare produced a body of work including 38 plays and 154 sonnets, the former having been translated into every major living language. Respected in his own time, it fell to the Victorians to catapult his star into the sky and there it has remained, becoming one of the worlds most studied and admired playwrights. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories like The Taming of the Shrew and Titus Andronicus, with his first recorded works being Richard III and HenryVI. Classics such as Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet are just a few of the works that have placed Shakespeare at the very top of his world.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born around 29 September 1547 and like Shakespeare, is widely regarded as the greatest writer in his native language, in his case Spanish. He is most renowned for Don Quixote, regarded as one of the best works of fiction ever written and the first modern novel. Cervantes had a far more interesting life outside of literature than Shakespeare ever did. He fought at the crucial Battle of Lepanto, a naval battle that cemented Christian control of the Mediterranean over the Ottomans, he spent five years captive to Ottoman pirates, was a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada, and only then settled into a writing career. His last work was published posthumously, in 1617, over a century after his death.

The coin from the Mennica Polska (Mint of Poland) is another struck in 17.5g of fine silver, a format the mint uses extensively. Unlike their usual use of Niue Island to issue under, this one goes with the Republic of Cameroon, joining the growing popularity of African states as issuers of new commemoratives. One of the advantages of this, put to good use here, is that the obverse doesn’t need to carry the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, so much more of the coin face is available for the core design. In this case both sides are extremely similar, both depicting a gilded portrait of one of the writers, along with a clean struck background with scenes from their greatest works. In Shakespeare’s case they’ve chosen Romeo & Juliet, in Cevantes, Don Quixote. Microprinted in the background of both sides are snippets of text from the original works. Packaging is standard for the mint, nicely done.

We’re sure fans of the writers will like these. It’s rare to see more than one commemorated on a single coin. The mintage is quite tight and the price should be reasonable if other coins from the mint in this format are any indication.





The commemorative coin “Cervantes and Shakespeare” astounds with intricate decorations. First of all, the portraits of both writers are coated with 24-carat gold. The coin’s obverse features the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, whereas its reverse depicts the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. In addition to this, both sides of the collectible are adorned with microprinted fragments of the most famous written works created by both authors

Year 2016 provides a great opportunity to once again explore the literary achievements of two writers who have made an enormous contribution to the world’s literature and cultural heritage. Four hundred years have elapsed since the death of both authors. Miguel de Cervantes passed away on 22 April 1616. His Don Quixote of La Mancha, the knight struggling with windmills, has taken root in the collective imagination of readers all over the world. Simultaneously, William Shakespeare, England’s national poet and playwright, passed on 23 April 2016. His parade of colorful individuals is a timeless gallery of human characters. The anniversary connecting both authors poses a great opportunity to rediscover their remarkable literary achievements.

REVERSE: In the bottom part of the reverse – portrait of William Shakespeare coated with 24-carat gold. In the background – scene featuring Romeo and Juliet (relief), fragment of the first printed edition of the “Romeo and Juliet” (microprinting).

OBVERSE: In the bottom part of the obverse – portrait of Miguel de Cervantes coated with24-carat gold. In the background – scene featuring the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote (relief), fragment of the manuscript written by Miguel de Cervantes (microprinting). Along the rim – inscriptions: 500 FRANC CFA (face value), REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN (issuer), 2016 (year of issue).




500 FRANCS CFA 0.999 SILVER 17.50 g 38.61 mm PROOF 999 YES / YES