Sinbad the Sailor joins Ali Baba in Niue’s new effigy-less Legendary Tales silver coin series

The second Legendary Tales coin from the New Zealand Mint has landed and like the first issue, it recounts a famous tale from Arabian Nights, in this case. The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor. One of the most popular tales in the whole Middle-Eastern saga, Sinbad has been the subject of countless books, comics, TV shows and movies over the last century.

As we noted on the release of the Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves coin, the style is very reminiscent of the mints earlier Journeys of Discovery range, although half the weight (dropping from 2oz to 1oz). Quite different from the sharply defined Mint of Poland style of mythology coin, the softer transitions from relief to background are similar to some Helvetic Mint releases – those done from plaster sculpting rather than CAD.

The design of this latest coin shows Sinbad on a raft with a mountainous classically Arabian scene in the background. It’s a fairly sedate piece if we’re being completely honest, true to the story of course, but choosing to eschew the more dramatic elements of it. The intricate Mi9ddle Easter style border is neat enough, and the freedom from inscription outside of a tiny composition, is refreshing, but the overall look is a little unadventurous, perhaps.

The interesting obverse remains. Inextricably linked with an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II until this series debuted, the coat of arms is typical of those from the region and makes a pleasant change. Both faces of the coin carry an antique finish. Packaging comprises one of the excellent book-style boxes, in landscape format this time, and a certificate of authenticity is enclosed. A maximum of 3,000 of these $85.00 USD coins will be struck and it’s available to order now.


One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English-language edition (c. 1706 – c. 1721), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.

The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. Some tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Greek, Indian, Jewish and Turkish folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Abbasid and Mamluk eras, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hezār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان‎, lit. A Thousand Tales), which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.

Sinbad is a fictional mariner described as hailing from Baghdad during the early Abbasid Caliphate (8th and 9th centuries CE). In the course of seven voyages throughout the seas east of Africa and south of Asia, he has fantastic adventures in magical realms, encountering monsters and witnessing supernatural phenomena.

Like the 1001 Nights the Sinbad story-cycle has a frame story which goes as follows: in the days of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad, a poor porter (one who carries goods for others in the market and throughout the city) pauses to rest on a bench outside the gate of a rich merchant’s house, where he complains to Allah about the injustice of a world which allows the rich to live in ease while he must toil and yet remain poor. The owner of the house hears and sends for the porter, finding that they are both named Sinbad. The rich Sinbad tells the poor Sinbad that he became wealthy “by Fortune and Fate” in the course of seven wondrous voyages, which he then proceeds to relate. (Source:Wikipedia)


COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
FINISH Antique
BOX / COA Yes / Yes