Project Description

2020+ PREHISTORIC LIFE by Emporium Hamburg

Never let it be said that we don’t love a good dinosaur coin here, and that goes double for a keenly priced bullion coin. One of Emporium Hamburg’s ranges, alongside the hugely popular Somali Elephant and others, Prehistoric Life debuted in 2020 with, of course, a coin depicting that biggest of dino stars, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The coin looked good, although like many bullion series, early renders were a little crude, Having seen the coin in hand, it’s actually a very nice piece. The design, on this and subsequent issues, is a little more complex than you’d expect of a bullion coin, with the animal placed as part of an environmental scene rather than in close-up or isolation. It needs a little more care to pull of, but EH seem to have managed it well, with enough detail to keep things looking crisp.

The next coin, the weakest in my view, was the Plesiosaur, followed by a fine sauropod, and the latest, the Woolly Mammoth, the first to carry a 2021 date. We’re expecting the series to continue given the breadth of recognisable, and dramatic subjects. Each coin has a border in which is inscribed the series title and a timeline.

There are now three versions of each issue on sale. The most popular is obviously the one ounce 0.9999 silver bullion coin, which has a relatively tiny mintage of just 10,000 pieces.The producer now also offers a coloured version of that coin which seems to retail for around €10 more. We’ve yet to see one in hand, so can’t comment on the all important quality of application, but at least it’s an official piece and not an aftermarket job. Last, but certainly not least, is a 0.5 gram minigold version. These are tiny, but cheap for gold and the format is increasingly popular. We love them. Hopefully, we’ll have some actual silver coin images up soon as we have a couple of the silver issues here.

2020 Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus lived throughout what is now western North America, on what was then an island continent known as Laramidia. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 68 to 66 million years ago. It was the last known member of the tyrannosaurids, and among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to its large and powerful hind limbs, Tyrannosaurus fore limbs were short but unusually powerful for their size and had two clawed digits. The most complete specimen measures up to 12.3 m in length, up to 4 meters tall at the hips, and up to 6.8 metric tons in weight. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it is still among the largest known land predators and is estimated to have exerted the largest bite force among all terrestrial animals.

By far the largest carnivore in its environment, Tyrannosaurus rex was likely an apex predator, preying upon hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and possibly sauropods. Some experts, however, have suggested the dinosaur was primarily a scavenger. It is accepted now that Tyrannosaurus rex acted as a predator, and scavenged as modern mammalian and avian predators do. (Source: Wikipedia)

2020 Plesiosaurus

The first complete skeleton of Plesiosaurus was discovered by early paleontologist and fossil hunter Mary Anning in Early Jurassic-age rocks in December 1823. Plesiosaurus was one of the first of the “antediluvian reptiles” to be discovered and excited great interest in Victorian England. It was so-named (“near lizard”) by William Conybeare and Henry De la Beche, to indicate that it was more like a normal reptile than Ichthyosaurus, which had been found in the same rock strata just a few years earlier.

It is distinguishable by its small head, long and slender neck, broad turtle-like body, a short tail, and two pairs of large, elongated paddles. It lends its name to the order Plesiosauria, of which it is an early, but fairly typical member. It contains only one species, the type, Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus. Plesiosaurus was a moderately sized plesiosaur that grew to a length of about 3.5 metres.

Plesiosaurus fed mainly on clams and snails, and are thought to have eaten belemnites, fish and other prey as well. Its U-shaped jaw and sharp teeth would have been like a fish trap. It propelled itself by the paddles, the tail being too short to be of much use. Plesiosaurus gave live birth to live young in the water like sea snakes. The young might have lived in estuaries before moving out into the open ocean.(Source: Wikipedia)

2020 Mamenchisaurus

Mamenchisaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur known for their remarkably long necks which made up nearly half the total body length. Numerous species have been assigned to the genus; however, many of these might be questionable. Fossils have been found in the Sichuan Basin and Yunnan Province in China.

Most species were medium to large size sauropods 15 to 26 meters in length. Two as yet undescribed cervical vertebrae, which might belong to M. sinocanadorum, suggest one of the largest dinosaurs known; estimated at 35 metres in length and possibly weighed between 60 and 80 tonnes.

Mamenchisaurus is sometimes referred to as a ‘wastebasket taxon’, with researchers questioning the number of species and fragmentary remains assigned to the genus. The genus is poorly defined with an increasingly confused taxonomy which makes understanding phylogenic relationships difficult. (Source: Wikipedia)

2021 Woolly Mammoth

The woolly mammoth lived during the Pleistocene until its extinction in the early Holocene epoch. It was one of the last in a line of mammoth species, and its closest extant relative is the Asian elephant. The appearance and behaviour of this species are among the best studied of any prehistoric animal because of the discovery of frozen carcasses in Siberia and Alaska, as well as skeletons, teeth, stomach contents, dung, and depiction from life in prehistoric cave paintings. The mammoth was identified as an extinct species of elephant by Georges Cuvier in 1796.

The woolly mammoth was roughly the same size as modern African elephants. Males reached shoulder heights between 2.7 and 3.4 m and weighed up to 6 metric tons. A newborn calf weighed about 90 kg. It was well adapted to the cold environment during the last ice age. It was covered in fur, with an outer covering of long guard hairs and a shorter undercoat, the colour of the coat varying from dark to light. Its behaviour was similar to that of modern elephants, and it used its tusks and trunk for manipulating objects, fighting, and foraging. The diet of the woolly mammoth was mainly grasses and sedges. Individuals could probably reach the age of 60. Its habitat was the mammoth steppe, which stretched across northern Eurasia and North America.(Adapted from Wikipedia)

2021 Archaeopteryx

Named after the Greek for ‘Ancient Feather’, Archaeopteryx was for a long time considered a missing link between birds and dinosaurs and one of the first discovered feathered reptiles that could be classified as a bird.

Others have been found since, but the quality of the fossils discovered in Germany have been quite amazing, so it remains hugely important. Growing to about 0.5 m in length and with broad wings, they probably spent more time gliding than flying like a modern bird.

Indeed, they had much more in common with reptiles of the time, like sharp teeth, a bony tail, and hyperextensible second toes.

Just twelve skeletons of the animal have ever been discovered, the last announced in 2014 and they do differ in age and detail. The first specimen, from 1861 and now held by the Natural History Museum in London, is considered the holotype.

Darwin had written his seminal work, On the Origin of Species, just two years before, and Archaeopteryx was an important example that helped cement his theories on evolution.


A typical Congo obverse there’s a border that holds the inscribed issuing country, and the denomination of 20 Francs, although in this case, the coin composition is also inscribed here.

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).


DENOMINATION 20 Francs (Congo) 20 Francs (Congo) 100 Francs (Congo)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver 0.9999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 0.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.6 mm 38.6 mm 11.0 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion Proof
MINTAGE 10,000 2,000 2,000
BOX / C.O.A. No / No No / No No / No