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.

PROOF VARIANT

MINTS DESCRIPTION

“Trans-Siberian Railway Egg” is the first 3D coin ever struck in the innovative shape of a spacial egg. It was created to commemorate the centesimal anniversary of building the longest railroad of all time – the Trans-Siberian Railway connecting Moscow with Vladivostok. Thanks to elaborate design and intricate decorations this exclusive silver collectible is a real masterpiece of monetary art.

The Trans-Siberian Railway Egg was an Easter gift from the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to his beloved wife Alexandra Feodorovna. It was created to celebrate the spectacular completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1916. This priceless masterpiece reveals a miniature replica of a steam locomotive and five carriages attached to it. The train can be wound up and run with a tiny gold key, what reflects the unimaginable craftsmanship of its creators.

The surface of the egg is engraved with a route map of the Trans-Siberian Railway with major stations marked on it with precious stones. Its lid is covered with green enamel and decorated with delicate leaves of acanthus. In addition to this, the jewel is supported by three griffins and surmounted by a double-headed eagle with a crown. Today, the original Trans-Siberian Railway Egg is housed in the Kremlin Armory Museum in Moscow. On the hundredth anniversary of its completion, the Trans-Siberian Railway reminds us of the tremendous achievement of connecting the European and Asian parts of the Russian Empire.

GILDED VARIANT

TRANS SIBERIAN RAILWAY

The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. With a length of 9,289 km (5,772 mi), it is the longest railway line in the world, spanning a record seven time zones and taking eight days to complete the journey. There are connecting branch lines into Mongolia, China and North Korea. It has connected Moscow with Vladivostok since 1916, and is still being expanded.

On 9 March 1891, the Russian government issued an imperial rescript in which it announced its intention to construct a railway across Siberia. Tsar Nicholas II inaugurated the construction of the railway in Vladivostok on 19 May that year. Similar to the First Transcontinental Railroad in the US, Russian engineers started construction at both ends and worked towards the centre. From Vladivostok the railway was laid north along the right bank of the Ussuri River to Khabarovsk at the Amur River, becoming the Ussuri Railway. Russian soldiers, as well as convict labourers from Sakhalin and other places were used for building the railway.

The Trans-Siberian line remains the most important transport link within Russia; around 30% of Russian exports travel on the line. While it attracts many foreign tourists, it gets most of its use from domestic passengers. Today the Trans-Siberian Railway carries about 200,000 containers per year to Europe. Russian Railways intends to at least double the volume of container traffic on the Trans-Siberian and is developing a fleet of specialised cars and increasing terminal capacity at the ports by a factor of 3 to 4. By 2010, the volume of traffic between Russia and China could reach 60 million tons (54 million tonnes), most of which will go by the Trans-Siberian.

ANTIQUE VARIANT

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PACKAGING

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
5,000 FRANCS CFA 0.999 SILVER 217.7 g 30.50 x 44.20 mm PROOF  1054 YES / YES

MINT LINK

MINT OF POLAND