Fourteenth century French alchemist, Nicolas Flamel, the star of Lithuanian Mints new Miroslav Hric penned coin

One of the famous and most sought after mysteries of mankind, the ability to turn base metal into gold, has inspired a seemingly never ending bunch of cranks and weirdos to claim they’ve achieved the magical feat. Add a bit of immortality into the mix – of course, why not? – and you have Nicolas Flamel.

The 14th century French scribe and manuscript seller, never, as far as we know, actually had anything to do with alchemy in his lifetime, but was ascribed the talent some 250 years later when such things became fashionable in the more brain-dead and elitist circles of European society. Whatever the true story, he has gained notoriety in the field, and to this day, appears in videogames and movies as the dicoverer of the legendary Philosophers Stone. The oldest stone house in Paris is one that Flamel built in 1407 for the homeless in memory of his wife (pictured above) and is now a restaurant.

The coin is a rare one from the Lithuanian Mint, replete with several adornments not usually present in their issues, but with some fine touches. Designed by the talented Miroslav Hric (responsible for some excellent Art Mint issues as well), it has that medieval look and is covered with the symbols of the mystical arts. This is a coin for the 17th century reinterpretated Flamel, rather than the wholesome, but quiet 14th century reality.

Antique-finished, selective gilding on both faces, and a Swarovski crystal representing the Philosophers Stone, it packs a lot in, yet never loses focus on the subject. Beautifully done, especially that gorgeous snake rim, eating its own tail, Ouroboros defined. Presentation looks good and the 2 oz silver coin has a mintage of just 500 pieces. It’s rare to see a subject like this given the ancient mythology ‘treatment’, but it clearly works, so hopefully we’ll see a sequel coin. The medieval world is full of legends like this and it’s an overlooked period in modern numismatics.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Nicolas Flamel is a historical character. Flamel lived in France in the fourteenth century and is supposed to have discovered how to make a Philosopher’s Stone. Created by Nicolas Flamel, the Philosopher’s Stone is capable of indefinitely extending the lifespan of those who use it, it is an object capable of turning metal into gold and granting immortality with its Elixir of Life. There are so many secrets and mystic here..

Flamelhad achieved legendary status within the circles of alchemy by the mid 17th century, with references in Isaac Newton’s journals to “the Caduceus, the Dragons of Flammel”. Interest in Flamel revived in the 19th century: Victor Hugo mentioned him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Erik Satie was intrigued by Flamel, and Albert Pike refers to Nicholas Flamel in his book Morals and Dogma of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Flamel’s reputation as an alchemist was further bolstered in the late 20th century by his depiction as the creator of the eponymous alchemical substance in the best-selling novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and its film adaptation. He also appears in the 2018 spinoff film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, where he is portrayed by Brontis Jodorowsky.

REVERSE – in the center geometrical triangular/square/round structure – is the reference to the mythical Alchemist searching for legendary Philosophers stone. In the top – portrait of Great Alchemist, most known for his manuscript dedicated to the topic of Philosophers stone. In the coin design, we can find also magical symbols and animals like a dragon, lion, bull, and mythical snake Uroboros. The triangular structure is surrounded by the Astronomical symbol of the day and night sky.

OBVERSE – portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the center of the design, surrounded with magical symbols of basic elements – water and stars/air. The coin is presented in a matching thematic wooden gift box. The box can be used not only for storing a coin but also as a holder (the coin is placed in it).

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Gilding, inset crystal
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
LITHUANIAN MINT

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “NICOLAS FLAMEL“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Our Featured Image based on image Thiebes at English Wikipedia, House of Nicolas Flamel June 2008, Modified by MW, CC BY 3.0