Early every year, the numismatic industry gets together to release details of most of the years new coins. In amongst the crowd at the World Money Fair in Berlin sits the Mint of Poland, not only one of the most prolific mints around, but one of the most innovative as well. They mint everything from a plethora of coloured wildlife coins through to classically designed historical coins, often for the National Bank of Poland. The highlight every year however, at least since 2013, has been the ‘spatial’ coin, one that is heavily three dimensional.
In 2013 we were treated to the exceptional Fortuna Redux cylindrical coin, followed in successive years by such releases as the beautiful pyramidal Pyramids of Egypt, the exploded ‘cuboid’ Pope John Paul II, the spherical New 7 Wonders of the World, and the paper mimicking Chopins Score. Last year we saw the prototype of a Vesuvius coin that was only launched this year, and exclusive to the 2016 show was this new coin here.
Another truely spatial design, this new egg-shaped coin is being issued to commemorate a century since the opening of the Trans-Siberian railway and it does so by taking inspiration from one of Fabergé’s hugely regarded jewelled Easter eggs. Made in 1900 by Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé, the egg was presented by Nicolas II to the Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. It is currently held in the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.
Like the Fabergé original, the Mint of Poland coin is inscribed with details of the route of this huge railway network, along with an image of a train on one side and an image of the original egg on the other. Formed with a six-piece die, the detail that has been struck into this difficult shape is quite extraordinary, literally every part of the coin carrying undistorted artwork. The Mint of Poland is almost unique in being technically able of making coins in these shapes as it’s considerably more difficult than it appears.
Issued for Cameroon, unlike the usual Niue, the coin is very well presented and limited to 1,054 pieces. It’s available in three versions, the split of which within the mintage isn’t pre-defined, but linked to demand. The standard proof finish version will be the most popular we think, with the gilded and antiqued ones having plenty of appeal. There seems to be no difference in the selling price from dealers that have all three. The price, as you’d expect from from a seven-ounce fine silver coin, isn’t bargain basement, coming in at just under €1,000/US$1,000. Clearly a work of great quality and achievement, we’re sure that this one will find admirers worldwide, but especially in Russia.