Smartminting Week: Tiffany Art coin series bows out in style with its final release, including a first in gold

Our penultimate look at smartminting this week and there’s no finer way to say goodbye to its first iteration than to say goodbye to CIT Coin Invest’s finest series – Tiffany Art. Launched in 2004 to little fanfare, it wasn’t long before this architectural series began generating interest until it eventually built up the respect it still holds now, with the launch of the final coin.

Speeding around the world and through time to showcase many of the architectural styles that grace humanities finest buildings, Tiffany has chosen early 17th century Persia, specifically the Iranian city of Isfahan, as its subject. A gorgeous look at the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Naqsh-i Jahan Square, it has all the hallmarks of this widely admired series, with lashings of fine detail and sharply defined relief, all characteristics we’ve come to expect from smartminting.

But all good things come to an end, and Tiffany is joining the Mongolian series ‘Wildlife Protection’ in wrapping up on a high, this time after 24 coins (16 x 2oz, 7 x 1kg, 1 x 5oz gold). The Mongolian series has lived on in Numiscollect’s fully dimensional, shaped interpretations, and there’s a 1kg version of the Gulo Gulo coin from a third party, but it remains to be seen if Tiffany will return in a different form, or even if the first nine designs in the series will ever get a kilogram variant. Whatever the case, this will remain one of the outstanding achievements in minting and the perfect example of why numismatics firmly deserves its place alongside other forms of great art. Available to order now, with shipping around April/May. The whole series can be viewed in our Coin Series Profile.

The 1kg version has been the flagship issue for the last seven years and it certainly is a glorious piece. If you have the previous issues, you will want this, of course, but even if you don’t have the others, what better way to wrap up your 2oz collection than with the final edition kilo?

While Tiffany has finished as a series, we’re not sure it’s going away completely. Pure speculation on my part, but I’d love to see the other issues retrospectively issued in this larger format.

The key version of this series and the one on which it has made its name is the 2oz silver. Despite the kilo variant being around for seven issues now, this smaller coin remains the most impressive. How much of the fine detail in the larger coin has successfully made the transition from 100mm diameter, to 50mm, is quite extraordinary. It’s fair to say you’re giving up virtually nothing with the smaller coin outside of exclusivity and sheer presence.

Presentation is much better than the lightly themed wooden box that CIT often employs, and in this case is sporting the banner ‘Final Edition’ on its lid. A great way to wrap up this modern numismatic icon.

For this goodbye issue CIT have produced what is the most expensive version of the Tiffany series in the last two decades. Struck in five-ounces of 0.9999 gold, it eschews the standard antique finish for their silk look, a kind of slightly less shiny proof. It looks great and with its mintage of just fifty pieces, obviously a rarity.

Ironically, it wasn’t my favourite as the antiqued silver just suits the subject so well, but as an exercise in exclusivity and a tribute to this iconic, multiple award winning series, we’re glad it exists. Superb packaging and a £/$/€15k price tag will keep it in the hands of the well-heeled only.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Iranian architecture that was built during the Safavid Empire, standing on the eastern side of Naqsh-i Jahan Square, Esfahan, Iran. Construction of the mosque started in 1603 and was finished in 1619. It was built by the chief architect Shaykh Bahai, during the reign of Shah Abbas I of Persia. On the advice of Arthur Upham Pope, Reza Shah Pahlavi had the mosque rebuilt and repaired in the 1920s.

Of the four monuments that dominated the perimeter of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, this one was the first to be built.

The purpose of this mosque was for it to be private to the royal court (unlike the Shah Mosque, which was meant for the public). For this reason, the mosque does not have any minarets and is smaller. Indeed, few Westerners at the time of the Safavids even paid any attention to this mosque, and they certainly did not have access to it. It was not until centuries later, when the doors were opened to the public, that ordinary people could admire the effort that Shah Abbas had put into making this a sacred place for the ladies of his harem, and the exquisite tile-work, which is far superior to that covering the Shah Mosque.

The entrance gateway, like those of the Grand Bazaar and the Masjed-e Shah, was a recessed half-moon. Also, as in the Masjed-e Shah, the lower façade of the mosque and the gateway are constructed of marble, while the haft-rangi tiles (Persian: هفت‌رنگی, lit. “seven-coloured”, “polychrome mosaics”) decorate the upper parts of the structure. The creation of the calligraphy and tiles, which exceed, in both beauty and quality, anything previously created in the Islamic world, was overseen by Master calligrapher Ali Reza Abbasi.

The monument’s architect was Mohammad-Reza Isfahani, who solved the problem of the difference between the direction of qibla and gateway of the building by devising an L-shaped connecting vestibule between the entrance and the enclosure. Reza Abbasi’s inscription on the entry gateway gives the date of the start of construction. The north-south orientation of the Maydan does not agree with south-west direction of qibla; it is set at 45 degrees to it.[9] This feature, called pāshnah in Persian architecture, has caused the dome to stand not exactly behind the entrance iwan . Its single-shell dome is 13 metres in diameter. The exterior side is richly covered with tiles. (WIKIPEDIA)

Phillip Maiwald (Nikopol) [CC BY-SA (]

DENOMINATION $10 Palau $50 Palau $500 Palau
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 62.2 grams 1000 grams 155.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm 100.0 mm 50.0 mm
FINISH Antique Antique Silk
MODIFICATIONS Glass, gilding Glass, gilding Glass
MINTAGE 999 99 50
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes