The latest from German mint, MCI has been launched and happily it’s a dinosaur coin. As the Royal Canadian Mint series ‘Canadian Dinosaurs‘ and the Austrian Mints ‘Prehistoric Life‘ range have recently finished, and with the Perth Mint series ‘Australian Age of Dinosaurs‘ almost over, it’s extremely disappointing that the prehistoric world is fading from numismatics at a time when dinosaurs have never been more popular.

MCI have always had an affinity for the antique finish on their silver coins, and this one is no exception. It’s a standard specification one-ounce coin (38.61mm diameter, uncoloured), but it follows the increasing trend of being issued for an African state, in this case the former French colony and now the Republic of Mali. Of particluar interest here is the very limited mintage of just 499 pieces, of which even less may actually be generally available. Supplied in a box with a COA, we’re hoping this will be the first in a healthy new series. We may have some news next week on a variant of this coin and will post when we know more.

Available to pre-order now with shipping from 10 May, the price seems to be €99 and is available from a few dealers or directly from MCI. Looks a nice coin, although the images aren’t brilliant,. We’ll try to get hold of one to photograph.

SPINOSAURUS

First described by the German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1915 from remains found in North Africa in 1912, Spinosaurus (‘spine lizard’) lived in the Cretaceous period from around 112 to 97 million years ago. A theropod dinosaur, these huge carnivorous creatures are still relatively unknown due to the sparsity of fossil remains found to date, but their remarkable nature is clear to see.

Estimated to have grown anything up to 18m in length and weigh up to 20 tonnes, there has been much recent speculation over the true nature of the beast. From it’s appearance in Jurassic Park 3 where it comically fought and killed a Tyrannosaurus Rex, highly unlikely given the brutish nature and staggering power of the latter, new theories have the Spinosaurus living a semi-aquatic lifestyle.

With the long and narrow skull of a crocodilian, Spinosaurus was predominently a fish-eater and lived both on land and in water as a modern crocodilian does. The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65m long and were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail-like structure, although some authors have suggested that the spines were covered in fat and formed a hump. Multiple functions have been put forward for this structure, including thermoregulation and display.

Whatever the finer points of its existence, and it waits for more complete skeletons to be discovered before better explanation, Spinosaurus is one of natures most amazing creations.

Above is an image of a model of Spinosaurus by the brilliant sculptors at Sideshow Collectibles. I’m lucky to have a version of this (there were two different paint-jobs), but this is the one still available. They are simply stunning models and this one is $330 direct from them.

Below is a clip from the awesome BBC series, Planet Dinosaur showing the Spinosaurus. If you have any interest in the subject at all, this series is, at least in our opinion, the finest television production on the subject ever filmed and we can’t recommend it highly enough. The blu-ray should be fairly easy to pick up.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 1,000 FRANCS CFA
COMPOSITION 0.999 SILVER
WEIGHT 31.10 g
SIZE 38.61 mm
FINISH ANTIQUE
MINTAGE 499
BOX / COA YES / YES (SERIALISED)