One of the big numismatic success stories of the last couple of years has been the popularity of meteorite coins. First coming to prominence in late the late noughties, the coin with embedded meteorite fragments has really taken off lately. As with any new genre experiencing lots of entrants, differentiating yourself soon becomes harder and harder so that you can stand out from the crowd. At first glance, Dutch coin producer Numiscollect have faltered by choosing a meteorite that has appeared on other coins recently, but in reality it seems more apparently a challenge that they can do better than what has gone before.

The big three producers in the field are the Mint of Poland, Coin Invest Trust, and MCI-Mint, the latter of which has already released a fine pair of Campo Del Cielo coins in one-ounce and one-kilo formats. What makes the Numiscollect effort standout is the beautiful window in the centre of the coin, the vibrant focus of a design that incorporates many other tricks of the trade like antiquing, a deep concave strike, and an embedded meteorite fragment. The glass inlay windows through to both sides of the coin instead of just being embedded in the face, and replicates an approximate view of the night sky

The struck part of the coin design itself is one of the best in our view, finely detailed, very deep and displaying a nice slice of meteor instead of a lumped fragment, a nice touch. Text inscriptions around the edge are done in a nice format and aren’t intrusive. The whole reverse side is quite superb. Even the obverse has had much attention spent on it. As the coin is issued for the Cook Islands, an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is required, but instead of taking up the whole coin as is often the case, it’s pushed to one side and this leaves space for a set of flaming meteorites plunging through space, towards the Earth no doubt.

At three ounces in weight and incorporating higher-end minting techniques, this isn’t a budget release. Nicely packaged and with a Certificate of Authenticity, the coin will sell for €499 / $549 USD. The mintage is limited to a tiny 333 pieces and the coin will ship in May. We reckon this one will make a fine centrepiece to a meteorite coin collection. It’s available to order now with the form below getting you free shipping when buying direct from the mint.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Simply the most awesome meteorite coin ever! Ultra deep crater, coloring, glass inlay, antique finish, meteorite inlay. 3oz pure silver with just a 333 tiny mintage.

The Campo del Cielo refers to a group of iron meteorites or to the area where they were found situated on the border between the provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero, 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) northwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The crater field covers an area of 3×18.5 kilometers and contains at least 26 craters, the largest being 115×91 meters. The craters’ age is estimated as 4,000–5,000 years. The craters, containing iron masses, were reported in 1576, but were already well known to the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. The craters and the area around contain numerous fragments of an iron meteorite. The total weight of the pieces so far recovered exceeds 100 tonnes, making the meteorite the heaviest one ever recovered on Earth. The largest fragment, consisting of 37 tonnes, is the second heaviest single-piece meteorite recovered on Earth, after the Hoba meteorite.

CAMPO DEL CIELO

In 1576, the governor of a province in Northern Argentina commissioned the military to search for a huge mass of iron, which he had heard that Natives used for their weapons. The Natives claimed that the mass had fallen from the sky in a place they called Piguem Nonralta which the Spanish translated as Campo del Cielo (“Field of Heaven”). The expedition found a large mass of metal protruding out of the soil. They assumed it was an iron mine and brought back a few samples, which were described as being of unusual purity. The governor documented the expedition and deposited the report in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, but it was quickly forgotten and later reports on that area merely repeated the Native legends. Following the legends, in 1774 don Bartolome Francisco de Maguna rediscovered the iron mass which he called el Meson de Fierro (“the Table of Iron”). Maguna thought the mass was the tip of an iron vein. The next expedition, led by Rubin de Celis in 1783, used explosives to clear the ground around the mass and found that it was probably a single stone. Celis estimated its mass as 15 tonnes and abandoned it as worthless. He himself did not believe that the stone had fallen from the sky and assumed that it had formed by a volcanic eruption. However, he sent the samples to the Royal Society of London and published his report in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Those samples were later analyzed and found to contain 90% iron and 10% nickel and assigned to a meteoritic origin.

Later, many iron pieces were found in the area weighing from a few milligrams to 34 tonnes. A mass of about 1 tonne known as Otumpa was located in 1803. A 634 kilograms (1,398 lb) portion of this mass was taken to Buenos Aires in 1813 and later donated to the British Museum. Other large fragments are summarized in the table below. The mass called el Taco was originally 3,070 kilograms (6,770 lb), but the largest remaining fragment weighs 1,998 kilograms (4,405 lb). The largest mass of 37 tonnes was located in 1969 at a depth of 5 m using a metal detector. This stone, named El Chaco, is the second heaviest single-piece meteorite after the Hoba meteorite (Namibia) which weighs 60 tonnes. However, the total mass of the Campo del Cielo fragments found so far exceeds 60 tonnes, making it the heaviest meteorite ever recovered on Earth.

Samples of charred wood were taken from beneath the meteorite fragments and analyzed for carbon-14 composition. The results indicate the date of the fall to be around 4,200–4,700 years ago, or 2,200–2,700 years BC.  (Source: Wikipedia)

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NUMISCOLLECT DEAL

Fill in the small form below to get direct from the mint, Numiscollect, with free shipping for €499/$549 USD

[contact-form-7 id="24629" title="Special Deal: Numiscollect's Campo Del Chiello coin"]

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 COOK ISLANDS 0.999 SILVER 93.3 g (3 oz) 65.0 mm ANTIQUE 333 YES / YES
NUMISCOLLECT