A super theme for a coin series, the fabled Twelve Tasks of Hercules are one of the greatest stories of many that litter the world of Ancient Greek mythology. They were certainly an imaginative lot! The beauty of this fable from the point of view of a coin designer, are the sheer variety of tasks that require illuminating on our favourite metal canvas From hunts, to thievery, Hercules has his work cut out for him.
The first three tasks, and the corresponding coins, were feats involving the slaying or capture of animals – both mythical and those based on real fauna. This fourth issue is another of that type, before we head off into more esoteric tasks with next years fifth. The Erymanthian Boar was favoured by the gods, almost like a John Wick, being sent out to do their dirty work when needed. The porcine Baba Yaga killed Adonis, and destroyed many a village that had failed to pay sufficient homage to their particular god. Hercules was tasked the capture of the boar alive, which he did so after chasing it into deep snow. Hercules took the boar back to King Eurystheus,who immediately panicked and told Hercules to get rid of it, which he did by throwing it into the sea. Why anyone would throw that much bacon into the sea is a mystery to me…
The coin gives the boar the look it needs, to be seen as something only a man like Hercules could deal with. The hero is clearly struggling with the beast, with the fight depicted in a small gully, eschewing the snow in the original tale for something more dramatic. Previous coins have included a gilded element, and this one is no different, with the boars tusks getting the treatment. The common obverse returns, with the boar cameo on the back similarly picked out with fine gold.
Packaging should remain the same, with a wooden box holding the coin and a Certificate of Authenticity, all inside a themed sleeve. No prizes for guessing the specification (2oz 0.999 silver, rimless, high-relief, antiqued), but it’s a collector favourite, so why would you fiddle with it? The Twelve Tasks of Hercules has always been one of the best of the Mint of Poland’s many entrants in the genre, and this fourth issue does nothing to tarnish that appeal. A fine release, available to order this week with shipping around the middle of November, barring any disease related interference. Distributed by European dealer Magikos Coins, and Canadian dealer Coin Shoppe. We’ll add this to our comprehensive guide to the genre.