Gods of the World series launches with a striking smartminted three-ounce Quetzalcoatl coin

Without question one of the most popular themes in modern high-end numismatics, ancient myths and legends have spawned a plethora of coins with a quality that remains incredibly high almost across the board. Employing state-of-the-art minting technologies, extravagant design and ambitious production, this theme has drawn in some of the finest ranges currently on offer in the modern commemorative coin market.

With the choices available and the general high quality of them, we’d not be in the least bit surprised if you questioned the need for more, but the truth is there are still quite a few areas of the subject without serious representation. Case in point are the Mesoamerican cultures like the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans, resplendent as they are with fantastic imagery and stories. Dutch producer Numiscollect, a company that’s contributed greatly to the current high standards in modern numismatics, has jumped into the field with a new series of high-end, three-ounce silver coins called Gods of the World. The first to debut is one firmly routed in that very same Mesoamerican period, Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent.

Producing their coin in conjunction with industry stars Coin Invest Trust (CIT), Numiscollect cut no corners with the final product and the end result is a superb coin. Issued for the Cook Islands, the obverse is a simple effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the necessary coin issue details. It’s the reverse face that impresses. The figure, adorned with a headdress and covered in scales and feathers, is beautifully done. The serpent entering from behind is striking and a perfect match. In the background are some of the distinctive stepped pyramids so associated with the cultures of the time in that region of the world. Just the name Quetzalcoatl is inscribed here and done so in a way that integrates well.

The whole coin has an antique finish and employs a technique to increase the sense of depth though dark highlights. As you can see from the real coin images above and below this, it’s a superb design and one different in look, if not concept, to much of what else is on the market. We haven’t seen packaging yet, but Numiscollect usually offer decent coin boxes and coloured shippers, along with a c.o.a.. Available in October/November, this won’t be a cheap coin, but it certainly looks like you’ll get what you pay for, especially with a mintage capped at just 333 pieces. The price should hover around the €450.00 mark.



Quetzalcoatl forms part of Mesoamerican literature and is a deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means “feathered serpent”. The worship of a feathered serpent is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BC or first century AD. That period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period (400 BC – 600 AD) of Mesoamerican chronology, and veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period (600–900 AD).

In the Postclassic period (900–1519 AD), the worship of the feathered serpent deity was based in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula. It is in this period that the deity is known to have been named “Quetzalcoatl” by his Nahua followers. In the Maya area, he was approximately equivalent to Kukulkan and Gukumatz, names that also roughly translate as “feathered serpent” in different Mayan languages.

Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and learning, wears around his neck the “wind breastplate” ehecailacocozcatl, “the spirally voluted wind jewel” made of a conch shell. This talisman was a conch shell cut at the cross-section and was likely worn as a necklace by religious rulers, as they have been discovered in burials in archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica, and potentially symbolized patterns witnessed in hurricanes, dust devils, seashells, and whirlpools, which were elemental forces that had significance in Aztec mythology.

Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. Two other gods represented by the planet Venus are Quetzalcoatl’s ally Tlaloc who is the god of rain, and Quetzalcoatl’s twin and psychopomp, who is named Xolotl.


DENOMINATION $20 Cook Islands
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIAMETER 55.00 mm
FINISH Antique
BOX / COA Yes / Yes