KOMSCO delve into Korea s rich cultural heritage for its new Gold Crown bullion coin series

Coins have always been a great way to disseminate both the power and the culture of a country. It’s more the latter these days, and modern coins from national mints often pick subjects that showcase their native country and in particular, its history. Bullion coins are particularly effective with their high numbers and relatively low cost. A great case in point in recent years is South Korea.

Hardly on the radar a few years ago, the launch of such series as Chiwoo Cheonwang and the Korean Tiger by state mint KOMSCO. has meant that Korea is now well represented in this burgeoning and highly active market. A combination of original subjects and great design meant that collectors soon took notice and dived right in. Latest to join the range is a fascinating look at the gold crowns of Korea, a series of artifacts considered national treasures and dating back over 1,500 years. There’s a great article over at Ancient.eu that is too big to reproduce here, but gives a great grounding in just how impressive a culture this was for the period.

The first coin takes what is called Treasure #338 in the Korean system and depicts this intricate piece of golden art over one face of the coin. A delicate item that is believed to be more of a funerary item than a piece of wearable status, the Keumryongchong Gold Crown is the first of the six crowns of Silla to be showcased. There are also three other crowns making up the nine known from the region, although as some 80% of the known sites remain unexplored in detail, there may be more yet to find.

It’s a pretty design and a good harbinger of what is yet to come in this series. KOMSCO’s neat lenticular (latent) security feature is also present on this face. The other face has a stylish Sun-god in the form of a highly stylised three-legged crow. This will remain common to the series – even the date is on the other side.

Available only in a one-ounce 0.999 gold format at present, we’ve yet to see a mintage limit, so these might be open mintage. Available shortly from distributor Today Ltd, this is a fine debut for a series that will look at the rich cultural heritage of this much admired country. It would be nice to see a gilded silver coin for the lower end, to broaden appeal, or perhaps a 1/4oz gold.


The Republic of Korea is the world’s largest gold crown holder, and has nine of the 13 ancient gold crowns from the world (six in the Sil-la era and three in the Ga-ya era). A gold crown is a crown that is made of a gold plate. The crown of Korea is known to be made mainly in 5 ~ 6c. This precious cultural heritage has remained unchanged since 1,500 years ago, demonstrating the era in which the golden culture flourished and the craftsmanship of the ancestors. KOMSCO has designed and launched the Gold Crown Bullion Series to showcase its valuable heritage of gold and the delicate craftsmanship of its ancestors.

The gold crown bullion series is based on Korean gold crown and the story of imaginary animal known as the god of sun, Sam-jok-o, known for being a crow with three feet. In the east, crows were meant to connect gods in heaven with people in real life to deliver the god’s sayings as a messenger. In the west, crows were meant to help lost sailors find the right way home. What is more interesting is that the gold crown and crow are deeply related.

Etymologically, there is a theory that “Crown” was derived from the word, Crow (Bird’s beak or claw shape), which is Korone in Greek language. A crown that is presumed to be from Go-gu-ryeo era, “Il-joong-sam-jok-o-keum-dong-gwansik” has sam-jok-o on the middle. It is theorized that the crown and crow has been used to reveal a powerful sceptre.

REVERSE: The reverse has the imaginary animal, Sam-jok-o, known as the sun god that lives in the sun, a three legged crow excavated from the seventh tomb of Jin-pa-ri Pyeong-ahn-nam-do. The ancestors of the orient regarded the Sam-jok-o as a symbol of the sun because it looked like the black bird with black sun spots on three feet. Sam-jok-o will be applied as the main pattern of Gold Crown Bullion.

OBVERSE: The obverse has the gold crown excavated between 5~6c at Keum-ryung-chong located in Kyung-ju, Kyungsangbuk-do which is called the Keum-ryung-chong Gold Crown: Treasure #338. The edge of the crown has three standing ornaments and two antelope shaped ornaments. Due to the very small dot (16.5cm circumference), the crown must have been for the prince. The bottom of the gold crown bullion is engraved with a anti-counterfeit technology that changes the letters in different angles.

DENOMINATION Not applicable
COMPOSITION 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
FINISH Bullion
MINTAGE To be confirmed
BOX / C.O.A. No / No