We’ve previously covered a coin struck by Mauquoy in Belgium and it was an excellent and ambitious piece showing a lion portrait. This new release is a move away from the extreme levels of high relief used on that coin, but not a move away from high-relief itself. Collectors who loved the Lion coin will be pleased to know that series is continuing and there’s a new Elephant design available to buy any time now.
This one is an architecture-themed coin and what better place to start than with the iconic St. Peters Basilica in Rome. The design follows quite traditional artistic choices in this genre, a reverse face featuring a look at the building exterior and an obverse with a view of the interior. With a 50 mm diameter, its dimensions fit right in as well, along with the antique finish. There are differences however, the most obvious one being the eschewing of any form of mineral inset window.
The main difference is with the look of the coin. Most of the current wave of art-architectural coins are CAD-designed and as a result have a certain look to them, what we could call a level of ‘technical accuracy’. Mauquoy have been engraving in one form or another since Maarten Mauquoy opened his workshop in 1875. With designs undertaken the traditional way, after striking these coins are further finished by hand making each one unique, however subtle that difference may be in reality. The exterior and interior views of St Peters Basilica have that hand-crafted look and it’s a pleasant change from the norm, not necessarily better, but certainly with equal appeal. To give an idea of the differences with hand struck/finished coins, you’ll often see bigger mints provide a weight something like 155.55 grams, quite exact. This coin is approximately 100 g, but can vary between 96 g and 115 g, a completely different approach.
Issued for Benin, another of the increasing number of new releases denominated in Francs CFA, the coin is said to have luxury packaging. We’ve not seen it yet, but the Lion coin was very well done and we’ve no reason to expect any different here. Shipping from the end of next month, prices seem to be hovering around the €500 mark, no doubt a reflection of the way these are produced. Site sponsors Powercoin and Coins Boutique will have them. A nice addition at the high end of a popular genre.