Numiscollect debuts its new mythological animal silver coin series with the Chimera

One of the most popular themes in modern commemorative coins over the last couple of years has, with little doubt, been the world of ancient mythology. A deep wellspring of fantastical creatures, gods and heroes has given rise to a huge variety of designs. We’ve often said that the genre has one of the highest standards of design and implementation in the market today and Numiscollects new coin does nothing to change that opinion.

Instead of the gods of ancient lore, this new series is called Mythological Animals, and like the NZ mint series, will feature some of the creatures that inhabit and enhance the tales of old. Kicking it all off is one of the more outrageous creatures in the pantheon – the Chimera. Coming from Greek mythology, although like all of these things they can trace their inspiration back much further, this pseudo-lion with elements of other animals incorporated, is one of the most visually striking of them all.

The coin is SmartMinted and struck to an ultra-high relief in two ounces of silver. It’s a powerful looking piece and an outstanding realisation of a Chimera. The design is kept nice and crisp by an uncluttered background, and although it could sit on the ground a little better, is nevertheless a very cool looking coin. Keeping the inscriptions down to just the title and date has certainly helped there.

Issued for Tanzania, that African country has its neat national emblem sitting over much of this face. Just the issuing country name and the denomination is inscribed here. We have to applaud how well the text on the coin is minimised and well placed. It’s annoying how inscriptions can look like such an afterthought on many designs, but not here.

We haven’t seen packaging yet, but it’s unlikely to disappoint and will include a certificate of authenticity. Just 499 of these will be struck and the price seems to be  settling at around €200 – not unexpected given the spec and mintage. A great debut to a series that will have to fight for space in a crowded market, but looks more than up to the task. Check out our sponsors to pick one up, but it doesn’t ship until the end of Q1/2018.



According to Greek mythology, the Chimera was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake’s head, and was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling. Sighting the Chimera was an omen of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanoes).

Homer’s brief description in the Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire.” Elsewhere in the Iliad, Homer attributes the rearing of Chimera to Amisodorus. Hesiod’s Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of Echidna: “She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay.”

The Chimera is generally considered to have been female despite the mane adorning her head, the inclusion of a close mane often was depicted on lionesses, but the ears always were visible (that does not occur with depictions of male lions).


DENOMINATION 1,500 Shillings (Tanzania)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIAMETER 38.61 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes