Numiscollect continues its trek through Lost Civilisations with a stop-over at the MesoAmerican Mayan Empire

The third release in Numiscollect’s interesting ‘Lost Civilisations’ series has debuted, and after Phoenicia, and Babylon, we’ve leap-frogged the Atlantic Ocean to land in South/Central America, for a look at the ancient Mayan culture. To say that Mayan civilisation was long-lived is a bit of an understatement, having roots that were set down earlier than 2,000 BCE.

By 750 BCE, cities, with large stone structures, had been established, and their culture spread northwards into modern-day Mexico, and further south into lower Central America. They were known for their science, especially in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and architecture, as well as their art. They also liked to war amongst themselves, and were relatively easy pickings for colonial Spain in the early 1500s.

The reverse face of the coin depicts a scene of everyday urban life in the city of Tikal (Northern Guatemala), with the instantly recognisable stepped pyramids in the background, known in our popular mythos as the location for the Mayan predilection for human sacrifice. Citizens are seen building, leather processing, and generally going about their everyday lives. It’s an unusual view of a subject like this, and all the better for it, in my view, breathing life into the ruins we know today.

The obverse also features a stepped temple in its background, but here, the focus is on a solitary Mayan warrior, intricately adorned with rich, decorative clothing, utilising colour highlights. He is armed with an obsidian-headed axe, called a Tlaximaltepoztli (Mayans would’ve been brilliant at Scrabble…). Like the reverse face, this is also antique finished.

A two-ounce coin, we note that the first two issued also received a later five-ounce variant sporting the same design, and we’d expect the same here later this year. It’s another excellent design, preferring to concentrate on the people themselves, rather than just architecture or artifacts, like so many others. The coin comes boxed, with a Certificate of Authenticity, and is available to pre-order now.

$10 (Palau) 62.2 g of 0.999 silver 45.0 mm Antique, colour 555