Scottsdales superb Viking series back with its second trilogy of silver coins

There have been many ancient gods coins released over the last few years, so many that I’d assume we’d all be suffering from exhaustion at the numbers by now. Remarkably, the sheer quality of most of the designs out there has meant this not only isn’t the case, but new releases are still eagerly awaited. The Choice Mints Valkyrie is one of the years most anticipated coins, along with the Perth Mints take on the Norse Gods earlier in the year.

One of the best series of them all was Scottsdale’s surprise entrant last year. Billed as a 15-coin, 3-per-year set, the series is called Vikings: Gods, Kings, Warriors. That hints that the series is more than just a set of Norse Gods. Like the Legends of Asgard series, it looks at the wider mythology, going even further with a strong sense of actual history being injected in. Last year saw the god Odin, combined with two historical figures, Ragnar Lothbrok and King Cnut. This years sees the god Thor, the king Harald Fairhair, and the warrior Bjorn Ironside. There were initial indications that after the launch of the first trio, the coins would come out individually spread over the year, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case as another trio has debuted simultaneously.

Using an identical format to the epic Biblical Series that Scottsdale also mint, we were very impressed by last years coins when we saw them in Berlin. Great art design, interesting and mixed poses, these are very well implemented coins. This years are no different. The interpretation of Thor is classically Viking in feel, the Harald Fairhair coin brings in modern elements without killing the atmosphere, and the Bjorn Ironside coin depicts a scene popularised in the excellent History Channel series, Vikings, although incorrectly if we’re being honest.

Two ounces in weight, rimless and antiqued, they’re certainly impressive coins. The serial number is struck into the rim like the Bible coins. Packaging is noteworthy, being customised on a per-coin basis and of a high quality. We’d like to see a big version of the box at the end to hold all 15 coins, much like MNI did with the Fantasy Ships series. With six of the fifteen now out, we’re getting a great feel for the series as a whole and in our view it’s a positive one. Coins to come are the gods Loki, Tyr and Freya; the kings Gudfred, Harald Hardrada and Eric Bloodaxe; the warriors Egil Skallagrimsson, Freydís Eiríksdóttir and Ivar the Boneless. Looking forward to them.

THOR

THE GOD

Thor the Norse God of Thunder and son of Odin, the Allfather. In Norse mythology, Thor is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, a Goddess associated with earth and fertility.  Together, they fathered the goddess Thrud.  Thor is described as fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded. Thor’s exploits, including his earth-shaking battles with the monstrous serpent Jormungandr and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarok are literally the stuff of legend, having been recorded throughout numerous historical Norse poems and texts.

The coin design depicts Thor in the foreground, standing with his hammer Mjölnir, a weapon capable of leveling mountains according to Norse mythology, with a circle of knotwork behind him.

HARALD FAIRHAIR

THE KING

King Harald Fairhair, the First King of Norway.  King Fairhair reigned as the First King of Norway from 872 to 930 A.D.  Between 866 and 872, Harald Fairhair conquered many petty kingdoms in what is modern day Norway.  King Fairhair’s efforts to crush all opponents to his rule culminated in the great Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.  Legend goes that King Fairhair’s victory on the battlefield that day changed history forever and united all of Norway under one crown, the first King of Norway, Harald Fairhair.

This coin design features a mixture of past and present.  In 1983, King Olaf V of Norway unveiled in Hafrsfjord, Norway “Sverd i Fjell” or “Swords in the Rock,” a monument of three swords, each standing approximately 10 meters (33 feet) tall, to commemorate King Fairhair’s great victory at the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.  The largest of the three swords represents King Fairhair, the two smaller swords the petty Kings defeated that day.  In Scottsdale Mint’s coin, King Fairhair is depicted standing in front of Sverd i Fjell, sword and shield in hand, gazing out over the horizon.

BJORN IRONSIDE

THE WARRIOR

Bjorn Ironside, the son of legendary Viking warrior and King, Ragnar of Lothbrok, is remembered as being a fierce warrior, powerful Viking chieftain and naval commander. Upon Ragnar’s death, Norse legend indicates (although disputed by many) that Bjorn inherited the lands that comprise much of Sweden and Uppsala, becoming the first King of the Munso Dynasty.  One of Bjorn’s more notable legendary exploits included having raided France in 860 with his brother Hastein in a continuation of the tradition initiated by their father Ragnar Lothbrok. In 860, Björn led a large Viking raid down the Iberian coast, fought their way through Gibraltar, pillaged the south of France, and ultimately landed in Italy and captured the coastal city of Pisa.

Bjorn’s depiction on the coin is based upon the historical account of his sacking of the town of Luna, Italy, which legend says he believed to be Rome at the time.  Unable to breach the town walls by force, Bjorn sent messengers to the resident Bishop of Luna who announced (lied about) Bjorn’s death and last request for a deathbed conversion, and the desire to be buried on consecrated ground within the church.  The Bishop, agreeing to Bjorn’s request, permitted Bjorn’s “dead” body entry into the chapel with a small honor guard.  To the amazement of the Italian clerics and others in attendance, Bjorn surprised the crowd by bursting from his “coffin” and fighting his way to the town gates to win their eventual freedom, allowing his army entrance to Luna and its riches.

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MINTS DESCRIPTION

Scottsdale Mint is pleased to announce the 2016 release of the next three coins in the “Vikings: Gods, Kings, and Warriors” coin program.  In a follow-up to its critically acclaimed 2015 three-coin release that featured the Viking God Odin, King Cnut, and warrior Ragnar Lothbrok, the 2016 releases by Scottsdale Mint feature such Viking legends as Thor, King Harald Fairhair, and the son of Ragnar, Bjorn Ironside.

Each coin is 2 troy ounces of .999 fine silver. antiqued and hand brushed on impressive high relief rimless design with legal tender status given by the authority of the Island of Niue.  Each coin will be of a limited mintage of 1999 and will have a laser-etched serial number on the rim along with matching serial number found on the included Certificate of Authenticity.

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$2 NEW ZEALAND 0.999 SILVER 62.2 g 39.0 mm ANTIQUE 1,999 YES / YES

EDGE AND OBVERSE

Like Scottsdales epic Biblical Series which share an identical format, Vikings has the coin serial number inscribed into the edge of the coin. The number will obviously match that on the certificate enclosed in the box.

The obverse remains with the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, a more elegant portrait than later ones.

PRESENTATION

Packaging for this series is some of the very best around. Very similar to that the Perth Mint used for its original two gods series (the Olympus ones), these have the added bonus of wearing custom artwork on the lid, different for each individual coin. It’s a nice touch and the designs are very authentic looking.

Each box is placed in a black outer shipper with the series logo on the lid and again, the individual coin name. It seems Scottsdale put some serious thought into the presentation of these.

MINT LINK

SCOTTSDALE SILVER VIKING SERIES