Project Description

2020-2022 MYTHICAL CREATURES by the Czech Mint

Our love for the mythical beasts of ancient lore has never been higher. With modern mega-budget movies like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter drawing in huge audiences, as well as the new legends that are inherent parts of the various superhero universes, the weird and fantastical remains a popular escape from the day to day life most of us lead today. There’s no substitute for the old legends, however, dreamed up in a time where belief trumped logic in the popular mindset.

Tapping into that, the modern numismatic world has brought forth some superb coins for collectors to hunt down, but outside of a few bullion coins, most have sat and the higher end of the market. The Czech Mint has debuted a new series that is eminently more affordable and will be made up of twelve issues to be released from now until 2022 at the rate of four per year.

The first two coins choose old favourites – The Phoenix and the Dragon. Each has a consistent border in the old Hellenic style, with a striking depiction of the mythical beast in question filling the central area. The style of both is very similar, despite the employment of different artists for each one. Czech Mint regular sculptor, Asamat Baltev is responsible for the Dragon, done in a European style, while Maria Filova did the Phoenix. Baltev is also responsible for the common obverse. Both look like fine pieces, eschewing the usual gimmickry for a simpler, more classical look.

Two versions of each design are on offer. The first is the classic 1oz fine silver (circa €63), and the second a gold coin coming in at a tenth of an ounce (circa €282). With the rising price of gold this year, the smaller format may well turn out to be a wise choice, especially when there are twelve coins in a series, but it does mean the diameter is lacking. Each coin comes in one of the small and neat cardboard boxes which buyers of Austrian Mint coins will recognise. They’re nice and compact, so easy to store, and include a Certificate of Authenticity. The silver mintage is capped at 1,000 pieces, with the gold at half that. Both are available now. The next two coins,the Harpy and the Griffin are also out now. Next year will see Hydra, Unicorn, Cerebus and Centaur released, follwed in 2022 by the Minotaur, Sphinx, Pegasus, and Scarab.

2020 DRAGON

Dragons are majestic creatures that rule by immense power – they fly and spew fire. They occur in a variety of forms according to legends – for example, some have one head and others have several of them. They were depicted with a snake body, a dog’s head, lion’s feet, and bird wings in the early Middle Ages. Dragons began to dominate the characteristic lizard features in the 14th century, and they began to resemble bats thanks to their membranous wings. Where did this form come from? The answer can be found in times of dinosaurs when flying reptiles ruled the sky. It is possible that our ancestors discovered their fossilized bones and the human imagination did the rest. Or is it possible that dinosaurs did not become extinct 66 million years ago, as we believe? Could some Mesozoic reptiles survive and compete with legendary dragon-beaters such as St. George?

The medal maker Asamat Baltev, DiS. depicted the dragon as a winged lizard that spewes fire. The creature is accompanied by an English inscription DRAGON on the reverse side of the coin.

2020 PHOENIX

We know the word phoenix from Greek, but mythical birds endowed with supernatural power occur in the mythology of many nations. It is called Bennu in Egypt, Garuda and Bherunda in India, Simorgh in Persia, Paskunji in Georgia, Anqa in Arabia, Konrul in Turkey, Me Byi Karmo in Tibet, Fenghuang and Zhu Que in China, Hō-Japons in Japan and Firebird in Slavic folklore. Each of them represent different values – while Fenghuang expresses the harmony of feminine and masculine principle, Anqa was bird of prey that was destroyed by God… But all these birds have one thing in common – they symbolize the eternal cycle of rebirth. This cycle takes the following form: the old phoenix burns itself to death and dies every five centuries in order to rise from the ashes in full force.

According to medal maker Maria Filová DiS., the burning Phoenix features several feathered birds – the beak and claws of the eagle, the swan’s neck, and the peacock’s tail. The creature is accompanied by an English inscription PHOENIX.

2020 GRIFFIN

The griffin embodies the features of an eagle and a lion – it is most often depicted with an eagle’s head, neck, wings and claws and a lion’s torso, hind legs and tail. Its character is also the result of a combination of both of these animals – it is bright and strong, therefore, it rules heaven and earth. In ancient mythology, the griffin served the sun god Apollo, the goddess of wisdom Athena and the goddess of revenge Nemesis. In the Middle Ages, the noble creature was perceived as a symbol of the king of kings – Jesus Christ – and therefore became a grateful subject of aristocratic heraldry. We can find a griffin on seventy coats of arms in Bohemia and Moravia and it was even one of the shield bearers of the coat of arms of Austria-Hungary.

The mythical hybrid of an eagle and a lion dominates the reverse side of the coin which was processed by the medal maker Mária Filová, DiS. The depiction of the griffin is supplemented with an English inscription GRIFFIN.

2020 HARPY

Half female and half bird of prey – this is the harpy, which represents the destructive power of nature. It personifies the storm, and its original role was to take the souls of the deceased to the underworld and punish criminals according to the command of the gods. Hence its name – the Greek “harpazein” means to kidnap or seize. Its description has changed over the years. Beautiful women with wings that were like seductive sirens gradually became monstrous and omnivorous scavengers with the faces of old women, who harmed all good people, tormented brave heroes and devoured the wounded soldiers they abducted from battles. No wonder this version of the harpy gave its name to all evil and cruel women.

On the reverse of the coin made by Asamat Baltaev, DiS., there is a harpy, kind of beautiful, yet wild and dangerous. Its whole body is covered with feathers, only human part is a face. Its depiction is accompanied by an English incsription HARPY.

2021 HYDRA (March 2021)

2021 UNICORN (April 2021)

2021 CERBERUS (July 2021)

2021 CENTAUR (October 2021)

2022 SCARABEUS

2022 PEGASUS

2022 SPHIINX

2022 MINOTAUR

SPECIAL COLLECTION PACKAGING

Those interested in collecting the set may want to pick up one of the folders that can hold them all. One is on sale for each of the two variants, although they remain fundamentally the same. They look good, but at €37.10 each, a little price in our view.

SPECIFICATION

MYTHICAL CREATURES
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue) $2 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 3.11 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 16.00 mm 37.00 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 500 per design 1,000 per design
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
CZECH MINT