For at least 600 years, a pack of cards called The Tarot, have been used to play games across parts of Europe, starting in Italy. However, starting in 18th century France, the cards captured the attention of occultists, and from there, the Tarot deck took on two distinct forms.
Today, most interest in the cards is centred around their occult use in divining the future. The deck in this case is made up of 78 cards. Of those, 56 are divided up into four suits, each composed of ten numbered cards, a King, a Queen, a Knight, and a Jack. These are the Minor Arcana. The other 22 cards do not have suits, and are called the Major Arcana, which are the subject of this coin series.
Launched in 2021, ‘The Tarot’ is a series of one-ounce, rectangular silver coins, each of which carries a coloured image of one of the Major Arcana cards, done in the classic style associated with a Tarot deck. Each of the cards has a distinct ‘flavour’ which the NZ Mint has captured very well, adding all the specific elements you would expect in each case. These are attractive coins with an interesting artistic style.
The obverse originally carried the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, but changed in 2023 to the national coat-of-arms of Niue following her death. The book-style packaging is as excellent as you would expect from this mint, being solid, understated, and filled with information on the specific subject of the coin. The mintage is set at 2,000 units.
The inspiration for this profile comes not from the nonsensical subject, but from the remarkable performance of these on the aftermarket. As we publish this guide, there has been 14 releases, and early coins are selling for over $1000 US. Each issue sells out quickly, and as a result, this is definitely a series to watch for the more speculative collector.