After a stellar 2019 with the debut of some very fine new coins, Mint 21 has continued the quality streak with some great new releases so far this year, and we’re also starting to see some follow-ups to some of last years issues. Our favourite Mint21 issue to date has been the stunning Spartan Hoplite design, the first in a new series simply called Legendary Warriors. We’ve eagerly awaited a sequel and it’s now here in the form of a Viking Axeman.

A popular subject for coins, indeed in popular culture as a whole over the last decade, the Vikings are a great choice. Combining a fascinating history and potent imagery, there’s little as striking as a Viking warrior in battle, especially when wielding their weapon of choice, the axe. Like the Hoplite coin, the focus here is firmly on the warrior figure. There’s a good bit of melee combat in the background to give the figure some context, but the Viking appearing to leap from the coin is the dominating element.

These are 3oz coins with a generous 55 mm diameter, offering plenty of canvas, but containing enough metal to allow good levels of high relief at the same time. The warrior has been expertly designed to fit the round surface, the shield and the axe head following the curve perfectly. As with the 2019 debut issue, there’s some red colour to signify the blood of battle, and a single gilded area, this time the Viking helmet, correctly absent the ridiculous horns that popular culture often has them adorned with.

The obverse is another excellent one. Similar in concept to the Hoplite obverse, this one changes the central section to ape the texture and fittings of the Vikings iconic round shield. Inscriptions are kept to the minimum required and sympathetically placed on both faces. The coin comes boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, of course, and has a mintage of 500 pieces. It should ship around the end of August and is available to pre oreder now from the usual dealers, including Mint 21 affiliate Top World Coins. Another excellent, dynamic piece of coin art.

VIKINGS

Vikings, from Old Norse víkingr, were Norse seafarers, speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Scandinavian homelands across wide areas of northern, central and eastern Europe, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries. The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Viking home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age. This period of Norse military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Ireland, France, Kievan Rus’ and Sicily.

Facilitated by advanced seafaring skills, and characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times also extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Following extended phases of (primarily sea- or river-borne) exploration, expansion and settlement, Viking (Norse) communities and polities were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America. This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while simultaneously introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions.

Our knowledge about the arms and armour of the Viking age is based on archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and Norse laws recorded in the 13th century. According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons and were permitted to carry them all the time. These arms were indicative of a Viking’s social status: a wealthy Viking had a complete ensemble of a helmet, shield, mail shirt, and sword. A typical bóndi (freeman) was more likely to fight with a spear and shield, and most also carried a seax as a utility knife and side-arm. Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles and at sea, but they tended to be considered less “honourable” than a melee weapon. Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. The Húscarls, the elite guard of King Cnut (and later of King Harold II) were armed with two-handed axes that could split shields or metal helmets with ease.

The warfare and violence of the Vikings were often motivated and fuelled by their beliefs in Norse religion, focusing on Thor and Odin, the gods of war and death. In combat, it is believed that the Vikings sometimes engaged in a disordered style of frenetic, furious fighting known as berserkergang, leading them to be termed berserkers. Such tactics may have been deployed intentionally by shock troops, and the berserk-state may have been induced through ingestion of materials with psychoactive properties, such as the hallucinogenic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria, or large amounts of alcohol. (Source: Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 3,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 55.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, gilding, colour
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
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