PMC WEEK: A stunning 9 Sons of the Dragon King behemoth headlines a trio of Chinese mythology coins
After a simple, but nonetheless pretty cool start to our week long catup of Precious Metal Collectors latest releases, we’re back to what this producer does best – big and bold. Three coins this time, all themed around ancient Chinese mythology, and all employing a variation on the producers ;Bi-Metal’ concept of silver over copper. We described that in yesterdays post, so head there if you’re unsure on what that is.
The first of the three is easily our favourite, A gorgeous rendering of the legend of the Nine Sons of the Dragon King, visualised as a complex and finely detailed variation on the classic dragon and pearl motif. The coin is alive with a sense of movement, and there’s high-relief everywhere. We absolutely love it. Saying that, the obverse jars a little, and someone please take that font around the back and shoot it – really not a fan. It would be churlish to hold that against what is a superb example of PMC’s ‘Bi-Metal Plus’ (5oz Ag, 1kg Cu), coming in at 120 mm in diameter. Please check out the video of it.
The other two share a similar theme and physical format, both employing ‘Bi-Metal Plus’ at 2 oz of silver over 11.5 oz of copper. This still gives us a super impressive 80 mm diameter, and these coins usually come in at the $400-500 mark. Again, dynamism and high-relief are the order of the day, with both having them in spades. The obverse sides are better here as well, with Ne Zha having a pretty flaming border, and Zhao Yun having a terrific ‘Imperial Seal’ design with a bit of colour chucked in as well. Weirdly, we have a coin issued for Chad, one for Tokelau and one for Niue.
Three very nice coins indeed, with Nine Sons being the personal standout, despite the weak obverse. PMC do some good descriptions and videos, all of which is below, but our take is that these are examples of why we love this relatively new producer so much. They’ve taken something unique and done it well. very well. Can’t really ask for more. I’ve had a couple of their releases in hand, and love them. The Van Gogh ‘Dr Gachet’ coin was amazing, for example. More tomorrow!
2022 NINE SONS OF THE DRAGON KING
The 9 dragons are presented with each of them in fluid motion, creating a sense of movement as they reach toward the fireball in the center. This fireball is sometimes referred to as the “Flaming Pearl” or “Pearl of Wisdom” in Feng Shui. It is known to be a symbol of prosperity, wisdom, and luck, and also carries significance in the religious faith of Taoism and Buddhism as a ‘sacred pearl’ that grants all wishes. The 9 dragons illustrated in close pursuit of the Flaming Pearl thus represent that success and prosperity are soon to be expected, an indication of good fortune and luck.
As the dragons move towards the Flaming Pearl, clouds form beneath them that represent the dragon’s breath, also called “Sheng Chi” or “Cosmic Breath”. This is the most desired energy in Feng Shui that attracts wealth, luck, and fortune. The clever and intricate use of depth in executing the engraving brings this out to a superb 3D effect. Each feature on the dragons’ body and face is distinctively struck, and at the top of the coin lies an ingot and ancient Chinese coins while the dragons all look and move towards it, symbolizing a clear and defined path to good fortune.
2021 NE ZHA KILLS THE DRAGON KING’S SON
Before Ne Zha was a deity, he was a boy with superhuman powers and armed with heavenly weapons. This piece tells the early chapters of Ne Zha’s story starting with him killing the Dragon King’s son, Ao Bing, with his superhuman strength and power. The most common narrative explains that Ne Zha had been playing with his weapons in the Eastern Seas, disturbing the Dragon King of the East Sea who sent his son Ao Bing to subdue him. In the fight that ensued, Ne Zha defeated and killed him, leading to a series of events that led to his suicide and thereafter, reincarnation as a deity.
On the reverse of this artifact, the scene of Ne Zha defeating the Dragon King’s son is implanted beautifully. A careful balance of fine details results in a youthful-looking Ne Zha with delicate skin, contrasted with deep lines on his clothing as well as the dragon’s scales. The dragon struggles and arches against the Red Armillary Sash tied around him, which Ne Zha grips and controls effortlessly in one hand, the Universe Ring in the other. Being the first of his weapons, the Universe Ring is intentionally accented in gold to highlight the importance of this weapon, as well as Ne Zha’s mastery of it. The events on this face of the collectible foreshadow the appearance of the Wind-and-Fire Wheels on the obverse, where it circles around the official effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. While not existent in this part of the mythology yet, the Wind-and-Fire Wheels would eventually become Ne Zha’s most outstanding weapon; his signature in the folk tales, and thus implanted on this piece.
2021 ZHAO YUN AND THE BATTLE OF CHANGBAN
On the reverse of this piece, Zhao Yun rises fearlessly from the horde of enemy soldiers coming towards him, wielding his spear and sword in hand. Liu Bei’s son Liu Shan is wrapped and secured around his chest. The juxtaposition of Zhao Yun’s undaunted and fierce expression with the baby’s look of fear elevates this work of art, underlining the importance of Zhao Yun in this battle not only as a general but as a protector. To this effect, the two weapons in his hands are accented in deliberate gold finishing, as with the baby carrier slung around his body. Details on the piece are struck finely, from the plates on Zhao Yun’s armor to the soft drape of the carrier around Liu Shan.
On the obverse sits the stamp of the legendary Heirloom Seal of the Realm – an unparalleled sign of ultimate authority and power. The words ‘受命於天, 既壽永昌’, translating to “With the Mandate from Heaven, may the Emperor lead a long and prosperous life”, is inscribed in a magnificent shade of crimson red demanding authority and respect. First commissioned by Qin Shi Huang when he unified China and became her first emperor, the seal was carved from precious jade and used exclusively by the Emperor. It was passed down the ruling lineage and it symbolized a god-given power to rule, the seal was thus an object of rivalry and contention during the period of the Three Kingdoms, as feudal lords and warlords alike fought to possess it to demonstrate their positions as deserving leaders.
|COIN||NINE SONS||NE ZHA||ZHAO YUN|
|DENOMINATION||$25 Tokelau||$5 NZD (Niue)||10,000 Francs CFA (Chad)|
|COMPOSITION||0.999 silver & 0.999 Copper||0.999 silver & 0.999 Copper||0.9999 silver|
|WEIGHT||155.5 grams (Ag), 32.15 ozs (Cu)||62.2 grams (Ag), 11.5 ozs (Cu)||62.2 grams (Ag), 11.5 ozs (Cu)|
|DIMENSIONS||120.0 mm||80.0 mm||80.0 mm|
|MODIFICATIONS||Ultra high-relief||High-relief, colour||High-relief, colour|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
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