It’s fairly obvious that we’re strong admirers of the art-architectural genre of coins. Generally large, high-relief, antique-finish, silver designs with an insert of glass, gemstone or mineral, they epitomise the numismatic art with a combination of visual flair and technical excellence. We’ve been treated to some quite beautiful coins since Coin Invest Trust (CIT) debuted it’s 2004 Tiffany Art and started off the whole genre. The coins generally fall into two broad groups of subjects, architectural styles or specific buildings. Some of the highlights of the last few years have been the continuing Tiffany series, the awesome Taj Mahal from the Mineral Arts series, the Temple of Heaven coin, and the Secrets of Pena and Mesopotamia coins from the Mint of Poland. Imperial Art: Mesopotamia was a nice change because it headed in the direction of the ancient world, a great untapped font of staggering architecture, and later this year will see the second coin in the series released, this time depicting Egypt.

Before that however, comes the debut coin in a new series from German producer Numiartis. Fairly new to the scene, they’re also responsible for the CIT-produced Mythical Creatures coins, the Werewolf and the recent Vampire coins. These coins don’t exactly fit cleanly into the architectural genre as the series title Egyptian Symbols makes clear, but this refers to the inset symbol in the reverse face. The coins actual design is awash with period architecture. The gorgeous reverse incorporates the iconic pyramids, along with decorated columns reminiscent of Egyptian temples. Front and centre is a classic Egyptian Ankh symbol, gilded and expertly coloured, behind which is a representation of the Egyptian god, Horus. The obverse is equally beautiful, filled with monuments and buildings of this long-lived and extravagent culture. Struck in 0.999 silver, the 93.3g coin comes in a box with an outer shipper and an enclosed certificate of authenticity.

All of this means the coin certainly isn’t a cheap one. At almost €400, it’s a sizeable chunk of cash, even for a 3oz coin, and we’re the first to admit a price closer to €300 would’ve been nicer, but what the hell, for us, it’s one of the finest releases of its type, up there with the Taj Mahal and Alhambra coins. Numiartis, like the Art Mint, Numiscom, and Moneda Nueva, are fine examples of new coin producers bringing new ideas and interpretations to the market in fine style and with superb quality. We’ll be adding a new mint to the mix very shortly whose debut coin looks easily capable of mixing it up with these as well. It’s certainly a great time to be a collector.

THE ANKH

The ankh (also known as breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning “cross with a handle”), was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “life”, a triliteral sign for the consonants.

It represents the concept of eternal life, which is the general meaning of the symbol. The Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. The ankh appears in hand or in proximity of almost every deity in the Egyptian pantheon (including Pharaohs). Thus it is fairly and widely understood as a symbol of early religious pluralism: all sects believed in a common story of eternal life, and this is the literal meaning of the symbol.

The origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted. The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art, often at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person’s mummy; this is thought to symbolize the act of conception. Additionally, an ankh was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet, either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean “strength” and “health”. Mirrors of beaten metal were also often made in the shape of an ankh, either for decorative reasons or to symbolize a perceived view into another world.  (Source: Wikipedia)

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 PALAU 0.999 SILVER 93.3 g 55.0 mm ANTIQUE 999 YES / YES
INTERCOINS BERLIN