Numiscollect impresses with the Sun God Ra, sequel to last years stunning Quetzalcoatl coin

Coins depicting the myths and legends of the ancient world recieved a boost a few years ago when the Perth Mint debuted an impressive Zeus coin, which has since spawned several three-coin series since. As in any industry (particularly movies and television), a sucessful product spawns competition and it’s fair to say that this is the most hotly contested genre in modern numismatics over the last few years.

Fortunately, this intense competition has generated innovation and design excellence, instead of a whole raft of poor copies – so much so that the genre probably enjoys a standard matched by few. Ranges from Choice Mint, MDM, Scottsdale and others have all generated great collector interest and you can certainly add Numiscollect to that. Several ranges, including the lower-end favourite of ours History of the Crusades, emanate from this Dutch producer, but the new Gods of the World series launched last year is likely the most impressive.

The best part about this new series was the choice of subject matter. The Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was an inspired choice, being both under represented on modern coins and loosely linked with the iconography on the hugely popular Mexican Libertad bullion coin range. Fortunately the choice of subject continues to be positive with Ra, the sun god of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation, fitting the bill perfectly. A rich history and potent imagery should translate well to a coin design and this 2018 coin is just such an example.

REVERSEOBVERSE

Sticking with production by Coin Invest Trust (CIT) and minting by BH Mayer (BHM), this three-ounce silver coin gets to use all the latest state-of-the-art production techniques, such as smartminting, and is struck to the highest standard. The coin is rimless and antique-finished, with dark highlighting, likely related to CIT’s black proof process.

The design is another outstanding one in our view. The layered look has plenty of depth and the detailing is extraordinary (look at the hand, for example). There’s no doubting what is being depicted here, yet it maintains a close artistic style to the Quetzalcoatl issue from 2017. As this series works its way around the worlds most iconic ancient religions, we can surely expect this to grow to be a hugely attractive set coins. There are plenty of striking cultural icons out there that would make fine subjects, especially from those rarely seen on coins like the old Indian or Japanese gods, both replete with unique imagery.

The obverse is a bog standard Cook Islands affair in comparison. A little disappointing that the 55 mm diameter hasn’t been embellished with some appropriate patterning, but it’s a minor point at the end of the day. All the required inscriptions are kept on this face, thus keeping the impressive reverse free of distraction.

Packaging comprises a good quality blue box in a coloured, if a little staid, shipper. We do feel the series is of a standard that would benefit from something more impressive, but again, we’re nitpicking. Due to ship in June, just 333 of these will be minted and they will sell for around the €400 mark. Not a bargain basement option of course, it’s nevertheless hard to argue that something this well done isn’t worth it, because for art of this standard, it is. A great second issue and a good sign that this will be a series to remember.

Ra, the sun god of the Ancient Egyptians

Ra (cuneiform: 𒊑𒀀 ri-a or 𒊑𒅀ri-ia) is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the major state god Horus into Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon, and many images of him showed him with a falcon’s head. These images can be told apart from images of Horus due to having a sun disk on its head instead of Horus’s usual Pschent headdress.

In the New Kingdom, when the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra into Amun-Ra. During the Amarna Period, Akhenaten suppressed the cult of Ra in favor of another solar deity, the Aten, the deified solar disc, but after the death of Akhenaten the cult of Ra was restored.

The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city.

All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively man was created from Ra’s tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the “Cattle of Ra”. In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty Ra pacified her by giving her beer mixed with red dye, which she drank in mistake for blood.

Ra was represented in a variety of forms. The most usual form was a man with the head of a hawk and a solar disk on top and a coiled serpent around the disk. Other common forms are a man with the head of a beetle (in his form as Khepri), or a man with the head of a ram. Ra was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion, among others.  (Source: Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 CID Cook Islands
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 55.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Dark highlights, UHR-Smartminting
MINTAGE 333
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
NUMISCOLLECT