WORLD OF CRYPTIDS (2023) by Lithuanian Mint
For centuries, the weird and mysterious has often been attributed to unexplainable creatures of the night. Regular coin collectors will know they’ve been a rich source of inspiration for some quite superb issues, in recent years, but most of them have been at the higher end. The Lithuanian Mint has debuted a new 12-coin series, apparently all to be issued through 2023, which will be more affordable.
Called ‘World of Cryptids’, it will feature some of the world’s most iconic and mysterious creatures. The depictions, by artist Laimutė Varkalaitė, are extremely stylised and very distinctive. It’s part of a project that the artist put together for the 2021 World Illustration Awards, and there were well over a hundred different depictions of various cryptids. We highly recommend a look at the designs, most of which will not feature in this series.
Moving forward, the rest of the series will debut one-per-month, with July seeing the launch of the Coco, ending with the 12th coin, the Yeti, in December. A terrific series in our view, with a unique art style, and a fun subject with global appeal.
The name might be familiar to a lot of people, not from its Slavic origins, but because it was the nickname of the assassin, John Wick, in the movie series of the same name. However, the movies got it wrong, and Baba Yaga isn’t the boogeyman, but actually an unusual supernatural woman. Dwelling deep in a forest, living in a house on chicken legs (no, I’m not making this up…), she flies around in a mortar, and wields a pestle (I promise, I’m really not…). More so than usual, Baba Yaga has a varied mythology.
We’re off to the Caribbean for Rolling Calf next. Native to Jamaica, a duppy is a spirit, sometimes described as a soul of the dead. They come in many varieties, one of the most dangerous being the Rolling-calf. A shapeshifter, often seen as a goat, it is the manifested soul of a very bad person, wreaking havoc wherever they roam.
Dwarves are especially well known in popular culture, especially since the phenomenally successful Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies over the last couple of decades, and the myriad games that feature them. The depiction is a classic one, with an aged dwarf, holding a hammer, and with the coolest beard/hair combo in coin history!
The Curupira is a mythological creature present in Tupi-Guarani myths, such as those found in Paraguay, the Amazonia of Brazil and the northeast of Argentina. The name comes from the Tupi language kuru’pir, meaning “covered in blisters”. According to the cultural legends, this creature has bright red/orange hair, and resembles a man or a dwarf, but its feet are turned backwards. Curupira lives in the forest and uses its backward feet to create footprints that lead to its starting point, thus making hunters and travellers confused.
Besides that, it can also create illusions and produce a sound that is like a high-pitched whistle, in order to scare and drive its victim to madness. It is common to portray a Curupira riding a collared peccary, much like another Brazilian creature called Caipora. A Curupira will prey on poachers and hunters that take more than they need of the forest, and he also attacks people who hunt animals that were taking care of their offspring. There are many different versions of the legend, and so the creature’s appearance and habits may vary from each region in Brazil. However, Curupira is considered a nationwide folkloric figure. (Wikipedia)
The adze is a vampiric being in Ewe folklore, told by the people of Togo and Ghana. In the wild, the adze takes the form of a firefly, though it will transform into human shape upon capture. When in human form, the adze has the power to possess humans.
People, male or female, possessed by an adze are viewed as witches. The adze’s influence would negatively affect the people who lived around their host. A person is suspected of being possessed in a variety of situations, including: women with brothers (especially if their brother’s children fared better than their own), old people (if the young suddenly started dying and the old stayed alive) and the poor (if they envied the rich). The adze’s effects are generally felt by the possessed victim’s family or those of whom the victim is jealous.
In firefly form, the adze would travel through keyholes, cracks in walls, or under closed doors at night. Once in the home, it would suck blood from people as they slept, making them fall sick and die. Tales of the creature and its effects were probably an attempt to describe the potentially deadly effects of mosquitoes and malaria. There is no defence against an adze. (Wikipedia)
The Bunyip is a mythical creature deeply rooted in Australian folklore. Described as a large, mysterious creature, the Bunyip is often associated with waterways, swamps, and billabongs. While the creature’s appearance varies in different accounts, it is commonly portrayed as having a mix of animal features such as a horse’s head, flippers, tusks, or even feathers. Legends surrounding the Bunyip speak of its eerie howls and its ability to drag unsuspecting victims into the depths of water bodies.
The origins of the Bunyip trace back to Indigenous Australian mythology, where it was believed to be a guardian spirit or a warning of dangerous areas. Over time, the Bunyip’s existence became a subject of fascination and speculation, capturing the imaginations of settlers and explorers in the 19th century.
Despite numerous reported sightings and exaggerated tales, the Bunyip remains an enigma. Today, it has become an iconic figure in Australian culture, representing the mystery and allure of the continent’s diverse and ancient folklore. The Bunyip continues to be a source of inspiration in literature, art, and popular culture, leaving its legend firmly imprinted on the Australian landscape.
The obverse has a background pattern, but is otherwise just the emblem of the issuing state, Niue. The pattern is similar to those employed on the various reverse designs, but in this case, remains consistent throughout the series.
While the first coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and what looks to be a simple box, it also comes with a gatefold binder that has spots in it to hold all twelve coins in the series, amidst some neat cartography. Each one has its own themed space to go in. A nice addition.
|WORLD OF CRYPTIDS SERIES
|DENOMINATION||$2 NZD (Niue)|
|COMPOSITION||31.1 grams of 0.999 silver|
|FINISH||Antique with colour|