Between 2009 and 2016, CIT issued an interesting range of coins called Mountains and Flora. A simple sterling (0.925) silver coin of 20 grams in weight, with some colour highlighting, these were one of CIT’s basic ranges, long since fallen by the wayside. Certainly popular enough – there were 61 issues! – their main attraction was the intriguing subject matter. In amongst the selection was a sub-set (sporting a privy mark), called The 7 Summits.
The 7 Summits include the highest peak on each of the seven continents and it’s considered a real achievement to have ascended them all, very few having achieved it. The task was first completed in 1985 by Richard Bass. CIT have decided to revisit this sub-set with a flagship series utilising all the benefits of their latest Smartminting technology, and the upgrade in the finished product is quite astonishing.
The first of the seven issues dropped in 2016 and set the tone for those to follow. An aerial view of the mountain is straightforward enough, but it employed a finely detailed ultra high relief strike to give the depiction much dimensionality. As the years have progressed, the level of relief has increased while fully maintaining the detail we’ve come to expect from this cutting edge coin producer. This reached a peak (no pun intended…) in early 2020 when they launched their new enhanced Smartminting. The Carstensz Pyramid is depicted in full relief and is a fine example of just what Smartminting can achieve, especially when enhanced with a little colour to exaggerate depth and shadow.
Each coin is large at 65 mm in diameter, with a weight of five troy ounces, and comes presented in one of the latex-skin ‘floating’ frames that make display easy. The back of these carries some information on the subject, as well as incorporating the Certificate of Authenticity. The coins are issued for the Cook Islands, ironically an almost universally pancake flat nation, so carry just the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, along with the inscribed issue details. The mintage of each is set at 777, keeping the theme going. A simple theme, less glamourous than much of what CIT produces, yet a solid favourite here, combining a rare and interesting theme, with a brilliant interpretation. Just what numismatics should be.