Scottsdale’s chunky Terracotta Army 5oz bullion coin puts in a late appearance in reduced mintage form

Originally an Egyptian-themed set of releases, Scottsdale Mints hewn-edged five-ounce silver bullion coins were a refreshingly new idea that expanded to incorporate smaller versions and even a variant in gold. In October 2018, Scottsdale opened up the format to another theme – the famous Chinese Terracotta Army.

That first coin depicted a small portion of the incredible statues that populate this tomb in huge numbers, each with their own faces, but this second issue has chosen to show a solitary warrior, albeit in fuller form, and also one of the myriad horses that also inhabit the expansive tomb. The style remains the same, however, formal, simple (perhaps a little too much so this time), and on point.

Issued for Fiji again (the Egyptian coins came out for the African nation, Chad), that island nations emblem sits in the centre of the obverse face, along with the inscribed issue details. The ‘chiselled’ looking edge detail that is the defining characteristic of this series is also present. We do not expect this design to make the jump to any other formats except for this five-ounce fine silver one.

The 2019 coin is quite late and there will definitely be a 2020 issue, so Scottsdale have taken the step of reducing the mintage of the 2019 coin from the usual 10,000 pieces down to just 1,500. The 2020 coin will have a higher mintage, so the 2019 will be an anomaly, with all that entails. The packaging remains the ‘hessian’ bag with a certificate of authenticity. That’s quite unusual for something with a tight premium like this, but all adds to the charm of this series. Available to order now, they should start to ship shortly.

THE TERRACOTTA ARMY

The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang (literally the “First Emperor of Qin”) was discovered on 29 March 1974 about 1.5 km east of his tomb mound at Mount Li. Fragments of the terracotta figures, along with pieces of the necropolis structures, had been found in the area for years, which led to Chinese archaeologists investigating. They found the largest pottery figurine group yet unearthed and it just snowballed from there.

The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE) in his most noted work Shiji, written a century after the mausoleum’s completion. Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne, and the project eventually involved 700,000 workers until its completion in 206 BCE. The scale of the tomb complex is quite staggering. The layout of the mausoleum is modelled on the Qin capital Xianyang, divided into inner and outer cities. The circumference of the inner city is 2.5 km and the outer is 6.3 km. The Chinese have used ground-penetrating radar and core sampling and have determined the complex covers an incredible 98 square kilometres.

An earthen mound holds the Emperor’s tomb itself, but sensibly, the Chinese have decided not to excavate until they can be assured that no damage will occur to the contents. When the Terracotta Army was uncovered, the figures were covered in paint, which you will notice now only by its absence. The lacquer covering the paint can curl in as little as fifteen seconds, and flake off completely in just four minutes!

The Terracotta Army itself is believed to hold more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Only a fraction of them have been uncovered to date and much work remains to be done. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. It isn’t just military figures joining the Emperor in the afterlife. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Scottsdale Mint is pleased to announce a brand new bullion coin issued by Fiji – The 2019 Terracotta Army 5 oz Antique-Polished Silver Coin. This 5 oz coin has a 46mm diameter, ruptured edge, and an antique-polished finish that push the boundaries of any coin on the market.

Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the Qin Dynasty, ruled as China’s first emperor from 220–210 BC. To achieve immortality he commissioned the building of his own tomb – and an army to protect it. The Terracotta Army found in the Emperor’s burial complex was meant to guard his spirit in the afterlife. This massive collection consists of more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers, horses, and chariots. Each clay figure is complete with armor, weapons, and unique facial features. Since being discovered by farmers in 1974, the Terracotta Army is held as one of the most remarkable and mysterious discoveries of the ancient world.

The 2019 Terracotta Army 5 oz Silver Coin has a limited mintage of 1,500 pieces. The coins, manufactured and distributed by Scottsdale Mint and legal tender in Fiji, are struck in .999+ silver and weigh 5 troy ounces each.

The 2018 coin is shown below.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 Fiji
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 155.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 46.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ruptured edge
MINTAGE 1,500
BOX / C.O.A. Bag / Yes
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