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.