Along with Chiwoo Cheonwang, Taekwondo and Zi:Sin, KOMSCO’s Korean Tiger bullion round mark an interesting peek into this Asian economic powerhouse, one that has only recently garnered increased interest in the numismatic world. The Tiger series has been the least Korea-focused of the selection, but from this year, that changes.
The 2020 Korean Tiger round moves away from giving the spotlight to the animal, and incorporates it into a more specifically nationalistic theme. Each of the next few releases, of which this is the first, will chart the growth of a tiger through the four seasons and with a tour of some of South Korea’s most famous locations, both urban and natural. The debut issue depicts a tiger cub in the capital city, Seoul. It is shown in true Kitten Kong style draped over the roof of Gwanghwamun. Also on this face is the modern Namsam Seoul Tower, and along the bottom, azaleas and forsythias indicating that spring is here.
Gwanghwamun is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, in Jongno-gu. Restored to its former glory just a decade ago, it was first built in 1395 and a part of the cities most important defensive structure. Unfortunately, in 1592 an invading Japanese force burnt the wooden structure to the ground, leaving just the stone ruins, which sat for 250 years untouched. It was reconstructed in 1867, but met the same fate again during the post-WW2 Korean War. It was finally restored in 2006-10.
The common obverse, featuring a map of Korea formed from letters of the Korean Hangul alphabet, with the largest letters spelling out the name of the country, returns, as does the lenticular privy that displays Ag or 999 depending on how the round is orientated. The mintage of this 1oz round has risen to 33,000 this year, up from the 2019 number of 20,000, but similar to that of the 2018 issue. A neat direction for this series to take, Produced with, and distributed by Coins Today Korea.
KOREAN TIGER SERIES
It was in 2016 that the series first appeared, but only in gold. A decent, if unadventurous design gave way in 2017 to something a bit more dramatic, but still missing that spark to lift it up. That came in 2018 with the simultaneous launch of the silvein 2018 was a ten-ounce silver coin sporting an 80 mm diameter and a very limited 2,000 coin mintage. It also carried an all-new design that has yet to appear elsewhere, featuring a tiger drinking from a stream. Again, it was well posed, anatomically excellent, and filled the coin face perfectly. Definitely one worth seeking out.
Last year saw a superb, aggressive depiction of this feline, with a full on portrait of an adult animal literally appearing to tear its way through the coin face. This one is our series favourite to date and was also available in a limited (2,800) 3oz variant, although we’ve not seen this in many places.
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