2017+ DIMENSIONAL SKULLS by CIT Coin Invest
It was at the ANA Coin Show in 2016 that CIT launched the first of its new Skull series of coins. Utilising the full range of abilities brought to the industry, SmartMinting was a new technology developed by CIT Coin Invest and German mint, BH Mayer. The benefits were an ability to produce ultra high relief strikes incorporating both large size and high detail, from relatively small amounts of metal.
Skull No.1 launched to much acclaim, and is the perfect example of just what smartminting brings to the table. An ounce in weight, it maintained a size comparable to a standard crown-sized coin, but had an extraordinary shape, and hugely impressive levels of relief. A year later, CIT issued a ‘Big’ version struck in a half-kilo of our favourite shiny metal, something which continued with the second Pirate issue a year later.
Pirate Skull also saw a very limited solid gold variant issued to mark 300 years since the death of Blackbeard. Appropriately, just 300 were produced. No other gold version has appeared since. Minigold versions are in abundance – this is CIT after all. They’re all shaped issues and can be seen on page 2 of the profile.
We’re huge fans of this series. Innovative designs realised in the highest quality way, there’s little to dislike here, unless you’re a die-hard round coin fan. The latest ‘Biker Skull’ issue has just been revealed and will ship later this year, and we’re hoping a big version of La Catrina will appear next. Be sure to check out the Gallery on page two as well, and let us know what you think of this articles layout/style. We’re experimenting again…
Just released at the time of writing as part of their ANA 19 issues, Biker Skull is certainly a quirky piece compared to previous coins in the series, and continues with all the hallmarks that have made this such a standout range of coins. The beard and moustache aren’t what you would normally expect on a skull, but do tie in perfectly with the popular culture image of a biker, if not always the reality. A very cool piece, and a perfect example of what came be done with the theme.
This is a gorgeous issue, but one we’ve yet to see in ‘Big’ form. The skull has had significant influence on the art and practices of many cultures, but while that has waned in many places, it’s as popular as ever in Mexico with Día de Muertos – literally the day of the dead. The most primal and recognisable symbol of the event is the decorated skull. CIT have taken the original Skull No.1 concept and applied that style of decoration to produce a great tribute piece for an event that has spread its influence far outside the borders of Mexico. That this piece can contain as much detail and relief in just an ounce of silver is quite extraordinary.
This is the coin that made it clear that CIT were going to have fun with the concept. We originally speculated that they might go the route of depicting different evolutionary stages of human development (Neanderthal, etc.), but they’ve gone the creative route and we can’t criticise that.
Knock out a few teeth and adorn it with a bandana, and you have Pirate Skull. This is also the only issue to date to get a solid gold version – quite the rare one at only 300 pieces. It’s a little smaller in size (gold is denser), but is otherwise identical, except for the name BLACKBEARD inscribed on the obverse. This is a nod to the 300th anniversary of the death of the aforementioned Edward Teach.
The Big silver version also reappeared, and is absolutely gorgeous. CIT and BH Mayer really do have a solid grasp of fine quality minting on any scale. Packaging is nicer for this version as well.
The one that started it all, and which blew us away with its ambition and quality (remember, this isn’t a cast piece), Skull No.1 came out of nowhere and was an instant success. That this was done with just a single ounce of metal is very impressive, although the half-kilo ‘Big’ variant is even better.
Design wise, it’s an unadorned skull, but also the basis for everything that has appeared since then. Superb.