It isn’t often that we get a new coin from a new series from a new producer, and from a mint we haven’t covered before, so clearly we’re intrigued. That the coin subject is one I have a passion for and the strike in a format that I think is the best price/quality balance around right now, means there may be a little bias sneaking in here and there…
The series, called ‘Confrontation’, looks at mankind’s biggest hobby – conflict – and is doing so, at least with the first coins, using the tanks employed on the Eastern Front during WWII. As far as confrontation goes, it really doesn’t get much bigger or more brutal than the fighting between Nazi and Soviet forces. As a predominantly ground war, the king of the battlefield were the armoured divisions, used to spearhead penetrating attacks which would be followed up by the infantry.
The technological advantage swung between the two sides, culminating on the Soviet side with the IS-2 in early 1944. The Germans fielded their own tour-de-force, the King Tiger, which will be the subject of this series second coin, hopefully later this year. The depiction of the IS-2 is first class. there’s an extraordinary sense of depth in the foreground, enhanced by the gun barrel and the Czech hedgehogs (anti-tank obstacles). There are soldiers with PPSH submachine guns, a PAK-75 anti-tank gun, a King Tiger, and much more liberally scattered around to compose a very neat scene. The gilded star represents the highest soviet reward, the Hero of the Soviet Union.
The obverse is equally interesting, although not in the high relief of the reverse. It shows us a battle timeline for the Sandomierz Bridgehead, an action the IS-2 had a key role in. We love that the obverse of this Niue issue is fully themed rather than just have an effigy of QEII or a national emblem, although the latter is present in miniature form. All together this looks to be a terrific strike by the Volga-Vyatka Mint and a credit to the Russian producer, NumisArt. It’s available now from them, or from Powercoin, Coin Shoppe or Intercoins-Berlin.