Last May, Mint 21 had the great idea of starting a coin series that combined the planets in our solar system with the ancient gods that gave them their names. All of the nine planets in our local system, with the exception of Earth (an Anglo-German world for ‘ground’), take their names from the old pantheons of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, so it seems a natural act to combine the two in this way.
The first coin in 2019 was Mercury, but this year, the producer has doubled up with a pair – Mars and Uranus. Mars, of course, is named after the Roman God of War, and is one of the most well known of them all. Uranus was Greek, and one of the primordial deities – literally the personification of the sky. He was the ancester not only of all of the popular Greek gods we know today, but of the Titans as well. He remains less well known as none of the old cults in his name seem to have survived even into Classical times.
Like Mercury, Mars and Uranus have a distinct visual style. The background of each coin if filled with a colour reprosenation on the planet itself, Mars in its classic red, and the quite featureless Uranus a cold ice blue. A depiction of each god in the style of ancient sculpture, sits uncoloured in the foreground. Also as with Mercury, they’re both shown seated, which aids in maximising the canvas available. The antique finish enhances the depth of the high relief.
A common obverse marks the series as issued for the Republic of Cameroon, and despite being a conglomeration of old British and French colonies, carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Packaging is of a fine, understated quality and the mintage of each is capped at 500 pieces. The coins are three ounces of fine silver in weight, with a nice sized 55 mm diameter. Both are available to pre-order now and are being distributed by Top World Coins. This is shaping up to be a fine eight-coin series.
Mars is the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury and is the fourth farthest away from the Sun. Named after the Roman god of war, it gets its nickname, ‘The Red Planet’ due to its colour, brought about by the presence of iron oxide.
The surface topography is much like an amalgamation of Earth and lunar features, having valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps like the former and plenty of impact craters like the latter. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and second-highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System. The smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids, similar to 5261 Eureka, a Mars trojan.
Liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressure, which is about 0.6% that of the Earth’s, although the two polar ice caps appear to be made largely of water. The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters. Mars is approximately half the diameter of Earth with a surface area only slightly less than the total area of Earth’s dry land. The planet is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth’s volume and 11% of Earth’s mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth’s surface gravity.(source: Wikipedia)
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as “ice giants” to distinguish them from the gas giants. Uranus’s atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s and Saturn’s in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of 49 K (−224 °C; −371 °F), and has a complex, layered cloud structure with water thought to make up the lowest clouds and methane the uppermost layer of clouds. The interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock.
Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere, and numerous moons. The Uranian system has a unique configuration among those of the planets because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its solar orbit. Its north and south poles, therefore, lie where most other planets have their equators. In 1986, images from Voyager 2 showed Uranus as an almost featureless planet in visible light, without the cloud bands or storms associated with the other giant planets. Observations from Earth have shown seasonal change and increased weather activity as Uranus approached its equinox in 2007. Wind speeds can reach 250 metres per second (900 km/h; 560 mph).
Uranus is the only planet whose name is derived directly from a figure from Greek mythology, from the Latinised version of the Greek god of the sky Ouranos. Like the classical planets, Uranus is visible to the naked eye, but it was never recognised as a planet by ancient observers because of its dimness and slow orbit. Sir William Herschel announced its discovery on 13 March 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the Solar System for the first time in history and making Uranus the first planet discovered with a telescope. (source: Wikipedia)
|DENOMINATION||3,000 Francs CFA|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Yes / Yes|
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