Ossuaries are strange constructs. In use in various forms for over five millenia, right back to the Persian Zoroastrians, an ossuary, at least those on a larger scale, is a site or building used for the collection of human skeletal remains, the purpose of which is respectful rest. Europe is a particularly rich location for them, with the world’s largest one being the Paris Catacombs under the French capital, home to the remains of six million people.
On a smaller scale to that, the Skull Chapel in Czermna still manages to pack in 3,000 skulls, with the remains of a further 21,000 in the crypts underneath it. The Mint of Poland’s new coin has a cool design, but one that doesn’t seem to be too specific to the Czermnan building. There are no recognisable views of the chapel inside or out, which would lead us to believe this is a singular release, rather than a series, but that remains to be seen.
The reverse face of this rimless one-ounce coin is packed to the edge with skulls and bones. The obverse is full of flowers, ponies and sunshine. Not really – it’s more skulls and bones. A border on the obverse holds all of the inscriptions bar the denomination, which sits at the top in a larger, fancier font. The reverse face is struck to a high relief, but both faces are antique-finished.
It’s a neat coin. Obviously this isn’t one of the mints many, and quite stunning, ancient mythology series, but it’s also quite a bit cheaper (just over €100). Even allowing for the lower spec and price, the mintage is still just 500 pieces – likely because the subject is quite specific to Poland. Despite that, it has an appealing design and the subject is certainly fascinating. Supplied in a latex-skin floating frame, it’s available to order now and should ship in a couple of weeks time.