Project Description

2020+ PREDATORS: EXTINCT by AllCollect

An interesting, if pricey addition to the limited mintage silver bullion market, AllCollect’s ‘Predator’ series was an eclectic mix of subjects from the natural world, brought to life with a mix of finishes on the same face.As you know, we love the prehistoric world here, so this newer companion series is off to a flying start, It’s great to see some real effort put into each design, as well as the eschewing of all the usual subjects for some rarer ones. Sure, there’s a Spinosaurus and a Megalodon, but there’s also the ‘Terror Bird’, the chicken from hell!, and a mix of mammals and reptiles, both terrestrial and marine. The DNA taken from the original series is evident, but these are a bit more polished to my eye.

There’s a common arcing section to the bottom left replete with fossils, and the coin title sits squarely on top, but the rest is unique to each issue. Pride of place is taken by the subject, each looking correct, with the Spinosaurus neatly sidestepping the latest theories on the tail and the habitat by just showing the front of this absolutely huge predator. A piece of fossil evidence is dropped onto the boundary area between background and midground areas – a tooth, or a skull. All the designs exhibit a good sense of anatomy.

Rarer than ‘Predators’ with a mintage of just 5,000 pieces per design, it does have the unfortunate effect of making these quite pricey for a bullion coin. The obverse has the attractive emblem of the issuing nation, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Formerly known as Zaire, the DRC is actually the eleventh largest country in the world by surface area.

Just the 1 oz silver variant at present, the earlier ‘Predators’ series has expanded to include a 0.5 gram minigold, and a chromite/gilded silver version. Whether that happens here as well is unknown at present, and will no doubt be left to the vaguaries of the German TV shopping market, who have a strange attraction to numismatics. At the time of writing, there are seven coins out, and as usual, we’ll keep this profile up to date with new issues. A really nice series, but you’ll have to dig a bit deeper for them. We’ve only seen them at APMEX at present.

2020 Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus aegyptiacus)

First described by the German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1915 from remains found in North Africa in 1912, Spinosaurus (‘spine lizard’) lived in the Cretaceous period from around 112 to 97 million years ago. A theropod dinosaur, these huge carnivorous creatures are still relatively unknown due to the sparsity of fossil remains found to date, but their remarkable nature is clear to see.

Estimated to have grown up to 18m in length and weigh 20 tonnes, there’s been much recent speculation over its semi-aquatic lifestyle.

With the long and narrow skull of a crocodilian, Spinosaurus was predominently a fish-eater and lived both on land and in water as a modern crocodilian does. The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65m long and were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail-like structure, although some authors have suggested that the spines were covered in fat and formed a hump. Multiple functions have been put forward for this structure, including thermoregulation and display.

2020 Megalodon (Otodus megalodon)

With a name that literally means ‘Big Tooth’, Megalodon is considered one of the biggest predators in the planets history. It lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago (mya), during the Early Miocene to the Pliocene

Most estimates, extrapolated from teeth, put the maximum
length at 14.2–16 meters and average length at 10.5 meters . It’s suggested their jaws could exert a bite force of up to 108,500 to 182,200 newtons (24,400 to 41,000 lbf). Their teeth were thick and robust, built for grabbing prey and breaking bone.

The fossil record indicates that it had a cosmopolitan distribution. It probably targeted large prey, such as whales, seals and sea turtles.

Juveniles inhabited warm coastal waters and fed on fish and small whales. Unlike the great white, which attacks prey from the soft underside, megalodon probably used its strong jaws to break through the chest cavity and puncture the heart and lungs of its prey.

2020 Mosasaurus (Mosasaurus hoffmannii)

Living through the Late Cretaceous period (82-66 mya), the aquatic reptile Mosasaurus, was an apex predator, growing up to an estimated 17.6 meters in length.

Its skull was equipped with robust jaws capable of swinging back and forth and strong muscles capable of powerful bites using dozens of large teeth designed for cutting prey. Its four limbs were shaped into robust paddles to steer the animal underwater. Its tail was long and ended in a paddle-like fluke that bent downwards.

Mosasaurus was a predator that had excellent vision to compensate for its poor sense of smell, and a high metabolic rate that suggests it was warm-blooded.

Fossil evidence suggests that Mosasaurus inhabited much of the Atlantic Ocean and the seaways adjacent to it. Scientists believe that its diet would have included virtually any animal; it likely preyed on bony fish, sharks, cephalopods, birds, and other marine reptiles including sea turtles and other mosasaurs. It likely preferred to hunt in open water near the surface.

2020 Phorusrhacidae (Phorusrhacos longissimus)

Colloquially known as terror birds, these carnivorous flightless birds were the largest species of apex predators in South America during the Cenozoic era; their conventionally accepted temporal range covers from 62 to 1.8 mya.

They ranged in height from 1 to 3 m and scientists theorise that the larger species were extremely nimble and quick runners, able to reach speeds of 48 km/h. All members possessed a large, sharp beak, a powerful neck and sharp
talons. However, even with these attributes, the phorusrhacids are often assumed to have preyed on relatively small animals (rabbit sized) that could be dispatched with minimum struggle.

The bones of the beak were tightly fused together, making the beak more resilient to force from the front to back direction, suggesting it could cause great harm through pecking as opposed to side-to-side head movements like shaking prey. Generally speaking, it is thought that a terror bird would use its feet to injure prey by kicking it, and to hold the prey down and dispatch by pecking at it with its large beak.

2020 Smilodon (Smilodon populator)

One of the most iconic prehistoric mammals, the Smilodon is best known as the Sabre-toothed Tiger, despite not being closely related to any modern species. It lived in the Americas during the Pleistocene epoch (2.5 mya – 10,000 years ago).

More robustly built than any extant cat, with particularly
well-developed forelimbs and exceptionally long upper canine teeth, its jaw had a bigger gape than that of modern cats, and its upper canines were slender and fragile, adapted for precision killing.

Of the three known species, S. populator from South America was the largest, weighing 220 to 436 kg, and up to 1.2 m tall. In North America, Smilodon hunted large herbivores such as bison and camels, and is thought to have killed its prey by holding it still with its forelimbs and biting it.

Scientists debate whether Smilodon had a social or a solitary lifestyle;, but it probably lived in closed habitats such as forests and bush, which would have provided cover for ambushing prey.

2020 Megalania (Varanus Priscus))

The largest terrestrial lizard known to have existed, Megalania was an extinct giant goanna or monitor lizard. The youngest fossil remains date to around 50,000 years ago, so they may have encountered the first human settlers in their Australian homeland.

It likely fed on medium/large sized animals, including giant marsupials like Diprotodon. It was heavily built, with a large skull complete with a small crest between the eyes, and a jaw full of serrated, blade-like teeth. Size estimates vary due to the paucity of fossil remains, but the current thought is a length of at least 5.5 m and a weight of 575 kg, is quite likely. A formidable beast.

Megalania may have been venomous and if so, would be the largest venomous vertebrate known. Closely related varanids use a potent venom found in glands inside the jaw. The venom in these lizards have been shown to be a hemotoxin. The venom would act as an anticoagulant and would greatly increase the
bleeding the prey received from its wounds.

2020 Dusicyon (Dusicyon Australis)

The Falkland Islands wolf was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. It became extinct in 1876, the first known canid to have become extinct in historical times.

The Falkland Islands wolf existed on both West and East Falkland, but Charles Darwin was uncertain if they were differentiated varieties or subspecies.

Its fur had a tawny colour and the tip of the tail was white. Its diet is unknown, but, due to the absence of native rodents on the Falklands, probably consisted of ground-nesting birds, such as geese and penguins, seal pups, and insects, as well as seashore scavenging. It has sometimes been said that it may have lived in burrows.

An Ice Age land bridge or ice connection between the Falkland Islands and South America, enabling the species’ ancestors to traverse the gap, has long been suggested. It seems likely that the founding population of the wolf crossed on this ice bridge during the last Ice Age.

COMMON OBVERSE

The same obverse as the prior ‘Predators’ series, there’s a border that holds the inscribed issuing country, and the denomination of 20 Francs (CFA).

The coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one that has changed quite a few times, with the latest version having its origins in 2006 under the rule of President Joseph Kabila.

It depicts a leopard head, surrounded by an elephant tusk to the left and a spear to the right. Below are the three words which make up the national motto: Justice, Paix, Travail (Justice, Peace, Work in French).

SPECIFICATION

PREDATORS: EXTINCT
DENOMINATION 20 Francs CFA (Congo)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.61 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MINTAGE 5,000 per design
BOX / C.O.A. No / Mo
ALLCOLLECT