South Africa’s Rise of the Dinosaurs silver bullion series adds a second design

The South African Mint has long been a major player in the gold bullion coin world with its ultra-iconic Krugerrand, but they had little presence in the equivalent silver market until recently. A silver Krugerrand, a new Big Five series of animal designs, and back in October 2018, a dinosaur coin. Called Rise of the Dinosaurs, the first coin in this new series depicted a leaping Euparkeria, and became one of our favourite bullion coins of 2018.

This year carries on the design style with a pair of Coelophysis, of which you can read more about below. This isn’t an original design, as last year the mint issued a very pretty, five-coin, proof gold Natura set. The 2018 silver coin was a copy of the design on the 5 Rand 1/20oz coin from that set – the smallest coin in it – while this new coin is a reproduction of the 100 Rand 1oz issue – the biggest.

It’s another very nice design, although lacking that extra ‘spark’ that imbued the first issue. It’s great to see a subject as popular as the dinosaur world finally have some representation in the bullion world, after what seems an endless list of modern animals, and to see it done so well. Unlike the ancient mythology, meteorite and art-architectural genres, all of which have an almost uniform high standard, dinosaur coins have been quite variable in quality by comparison. The obverse remains the common one for the series. Depicting the fossilised skull, neck and shoulder of an Erythrosuchus africanus, the largest predator of its time, in fossilised form.

About the only negative of this series is the cost of it. It isn’t overpriced, per se, but is marketed as a semi-numismatic. The coin is presented in an info-packed and themed blister pack with an incorporated certificate of authenticity, and we’d certainly consider it great value for what it is, but it isn’t one for the stackers, despite the 50k mintage. Available to order shortly, it’s available from a good selection of dealers worldwide, including several of our sponsors.

COELOPHYSIS

Coelophysis is an extinct genus of coelophysid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 216 to 196 million years ago during the latter part of the Triassic Period in what is now the southwestern United States and also in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It was a small, slenderly-built, ground-dwelling, bipedal carnivore, that could grow up to 3 m long and is one of the earliest known dinosaur genera. Scattered material representing similar animals has been found worldwide in some Late Triassic and Early Jurassic formations. This primitive theropod is notable for being one of the most specimen-rich dinosaur genera.

Coelophysis is known from a number of complete fossil skeletons of the species C. bauri, which was a lightly built dinosaur which measured up to 3 metres in length and which was more than a meter tall at the hips. The estimated weight of the gracile form was 15 kg, and the robust form 20 kg. Coelophysis was a bipedal, carnivorous, theropod dinosaur that was a fast and agile runner.

Coelophysis had narrow hips, forelimbs adapted for grasping prey, and narrow feet. Its neck and tail were long and slender.It had a long narrow head (approximately 270 mm), with
large, forward-facing eyes that afforded it stereoscopic vision and as a
result excellent depth perception.

A 2004 study found that the vision of Coelophysis was superior to most
lizards’ vision, and ranked with that of modern birds of prey. The eyes
of Coelophysis appear to be the closest to those of eagles and hawks,
with a high power of accommodation. The teeth of Coelophysis were typical of predatory dinosaurs, blade-like, recurved, sharp and jagged with fine serrations. Its dentition shows that it was carnivorous, probably preying on the small, lizard-like animals that were discovered with it. It may also have hunted in packs to tackle larger prey.

Coelophysis was the second dinosaur in space, following Maiasaura (STS-51-F). A Coelophysis skull from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-89 when it left the atmosphere on 22 January 1998. It was also taken onto the space station Mir before being returned to Earth.

As being over 100 years old, Coelophysis is one of the best-known dinosaurs in literature. It was designated as the official state fossil of New Mexico in 1981, and is now the logo of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. (Source: Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 25 Rand (South Africa)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.106 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.725 mm
FINISH Bullion
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 50,000
BOX / C.O.A. Blister Card / Yes
SOUTH AFRICAN MINT