Exclusive first look at the Norse Dragon coin, the second in Numiartis’ stunning high relief series

A little unusual amongst the many series featuring ancient mythological subjects, Numiartis launched a quite beautiful Chinese dragon coin late last year. Now, we know dragons are hardly a rare subject in the numismatic world, but taking the new standards of design and strike that are exemplifying this genre of late and applying them to this age old subject, brought us something special.

Today, we’re pleased to reveal the second issue in this series, and if anything, it’s even better. Dragons vary in appearance depending on the culture that first realised them in their stories. The Chinese have a beast that is relatively lightly built and full of extravagant flourishes, in line with the bright nature of the culture as a whole, just take a look at how a modern Chinese movie depicts their past, like 2006’s Curse of the Golden Flower, for example. Northern Europe, however, has a whole different way of looking at things.

Power, strength, violence and a strong link to the earth the people that created them live in, dragons from Scandinavia, the British Isles and Northern Europe in general, tend to lack the bright colours, going for a look that exudes menace and malevolence. This quite stunning design features a dragon, in this case Jörmungandr, although there are certainly elements of Níðhöggr (Malice Striker) intertwined with the famed world tree Yggdrasil, in there as well. The dragon eating its own tail is a potent symbol that resonates with many today. There is literally no part of the reverse face that isn’t packed with ultra high relief detail. The insert, made of Azurite, is coloured like a view of the Earth from space and is an integral part of the mythology.

The obverse is very pretty for a Niue issue, and the same as the one on the Chinese dragon coin, so clearly a common one for the series. The coin will come boxed with a certificate of authenticity, and the mintage is set at the now common 500 pieces. Our recent round up of this kind of issue has shown a level of design and implementation of coins in this genre to be at a near unprecedented level, and this new issue will have no trouble fitting in. We all have our favourites – a design that appeals to us personally – and if I were in a position to buy one of them, I think this would be my choice. Outstanding. Available late August/early September.

DRAGONS IN NORSE MYTHOLOGY

Dragons have permeated many cultures mythology, possibly through the early discovery of fossils – after all, how else could they explain fossilised teeth and bones – and Norse mythology was no different. Four main creatures are referenced in their literature.

Níðhöggr, (Malice Striker) is a dragon (or serpent) that gnaws away at the root of Yggdrasil, the fabled world tree. Described in Prose Edda and Poetic Edda as gnawing at the roots from below, it was one of many creatures that inhabited Yggdrasil. The word Nio was a term that implied a loss of status and honour.

Jörmungandr, (Huge Monster), also known as the Midgard (World) Serpent, is a sea serpent and said to be the offspring of Loki and the giantess Angrboða. Thrown into the great ocean that encircles Midgard by Odin. It grew so large that it encircled the earth and could grasp its own tale. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Thor. It is an example of an ouroboros.

Fáfnir is a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar, and after being affected by the curse of Andvari’s ring and gold, Fafnir became a dragon and was slain by Sigurd. It’s suggested that Tolkein based the dragon Smaug on the legend of Fafnir.

Unnamed dragon in the 13th century book by Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum (‘The Deeds of the Danes’), recounts the tale of the legendary king Frode I, who is said to have killed a venomous dragon that lived in a cave on a mountain, that guarded a huge horde of riches.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 New Zealand (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, Coral insert
MINTAGE 500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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