Despite a seemingly endless wave of ancient history coins from the Mint of Poland, it’s become apparent that the imagination of those old civilisations was even greater. The mint continues to work its way through the myriad deities brought to life in those times, and has now turned its attention to the fascinating Mesoamerican world of the Aztecs.
The first issue in a series called simply ‘Sun Gods’ this latest coin depicts the Aztec god ‘Tonatiuh’. Depicted in that brilliant style that has become so synonymous with the region in the medieval period, he is brought to life in high-relief and with an antique finish. Inset into the reverse face is a polished half-sphere of olivine, the tough, green-tinged igneous mineral that is so abundant in the Earth’s crust. Only a less than perfect choice of font for the name is to the detriment of this symbolic, rather than realistic portrayal.
The obverse is another Niue one, combining the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, but incorporated into a wider design. The solar symbol, filled with the word ‘Sun’ in many languages is neat enough, although not one of the mints best. Again, the choice of font for the inscriptions is one we think is less than optimal.
At two-ounces of fine silver in weight, this one ticks the boxes in a very popular genre, and it keeps the common 45mm diameter and 500 mintage. Boxed with a Certificate Of Authenticity, It’s being issued directly by the mint rather than through a third party distributor, and should ship in a few weeks time. A nice addition to the market and for a civilisation that is gaining in popularity for its distinctive style.
As an aside, we’re sure you’re as fascinated as I was about the image used above. It’s a sacrificial flint-bladed knife from the collection of the British Museum (© Trustees of the British Museum). It’s 32.3cm in length and has a handle carved from cedro wood. This was then covered in a mosaic made of turquoise, malachite and three types of shell, all stuck on with pine resin, to form a crouching eagle warrior. A macabre, if quite exquisite object that dates from somewhere in the period of 1400-1521.