Numiscollect take CIT’s iconic Ural Owl coin into the third dimension with this stunning new issue

Only a small number of producers around the world have the knowledge and expertise to produce true dimensional coins, so they don’t constitute a big flood of releases as is the case with some other popular genres. Chief amongst the experts are the Mint of Poland, who arguably began pushing boundaries with the really beautiful Fortuna Redux cylindrical coin just a few short years ago, and CIT, whose own efforts have included more complex designs, particularly based around nature and skulls. Joining them recently has been Dutch producer Numiscollect, who have been taking full advantage of CIT/BH Mayer’s proprietary SmartMinting technique.

So, this latest issue isn’t Numiscollect’s first dimensional coin, with previous highlights including the Tutankhamun’s Mask and the super Totem Pole, but it is the first time they’ve picked a subject from the natural world. For those having a twinge of recognition, the Ural Owl has had its face be the star of the second of CIT’s outstanding Mongolian Wildlife Protection series, but Numiscollect have taken it so much further by having the whole bird struck in silver and antique finished. The iconic Swarovski crystal eyes of that now-ended series, also remain in place.

As you can see from the excellent images Numiscollect provide, this is a quite outstanding representation of the Ural Owl. Packed with depth and detail, clearly a release at the top of the dimensional coin game. Reaching out to approximately 55 mm in height, the 2oz’s of silver that it is composed of has been expertly utilised. Our initial thought was that the coin must weigh double that, but fortunately for the wallet, that isn’t the case. Issued for Mongolia, the Mongol Bank emblem and the coin denomination are present on the flat back of the coin.

Shipping late in May, this one should be up for pre-order shortly and is easily one of our potential highlights of the year to date. It will come boxed and with a Certificate of Authenticity, and just 499 of these will be minted. We’ve yet to see prices, but while it won’t be a cheapie of course, the 2oz weight should keep it sensible.

THE URAL OWL ( Strix Uralensis)

The Ural owl has an extended distribution area in Europe and Asia, from Sakhalin, Japan and Korea in the east to Scandinavia in the west. The northern border is at approximately 65 degrees north latitude, and the southern border follows the southern delimitation of the taiga.

The Ural owl is smaller than the great grey owl, and much larger than the tawny owl, which it superficially resembles. Distinguishing features apart from the size are the pale, buffish grey-brown plumage, with copious dark brown streaking on the back, back of the head and underparts. It has a round head with plain buffish-grey facial discs, orange-yellow bill and small black eyes. The tail is long and wedge-shaped, with dark barring on the uppertail, and the wings are rounded. Flight is direct and purposeful, recalling that of the common buzzard. Sexes are similar, with no seasonal variation. Length can range 50-61 cm and wingspan from 110-134 cm. Weight in males is 500–730 g and in females is 720–1,300 g.

The northern populations of the Ural owl occupy similar habitat to the great grey owl, nesting in lowland forests but avoiding dense areas, especially those of purely conifers. In central Europe it is an upland species, preferring deciduous woodland. It usually occupies open woodland and is more often found in moist rather than dry areas. It nests in hollow tree trunks, occasionally in old raptor nests, and increasingly in nestboxes. It normally lays two to four eggs, which hatch after 27–34 days. The young leave the nest after about four weeks, but will not fly until about six weeks old. It is a very aggressive owl, chasing other birds of prey from its territory, and it will attack human intruders, especially when young are present.

The Ural owl feeds on rodents and medium-sized to large birds such as jays and willow ptarmigan, although normally only up to the size of a woodpigeon. Its territorial call, which can carry up to two kilometres, is a soft, deep wo-ho….. woho uhwo-ho. Birds also give unmistakable yapping bau – wau calls, which are delivered by both sexes.

DENOMINATION 1000 Togrog (Mongolia)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief SmartMinting, two inset crystals
BOX / COA Yes / Yes