Stunning ‘Dantes Inferno’ coin followed up by the last book in the ‘Divine Comedy’ trilogy, ‘Paradiso’

One of our highlights of 2020, Dante’s Inferno by Mint XXI was a stunning five-ounce silver coin that managed to encapsulate the first of Alighieri Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ trilogy, perfectly. Lashings of high-relief, packed with detail and with a terrific obverse effigy of the 14th century Italian writer, the coin was a beautiful example of modern numismatic art.

Now, the ‘Divine Comedy’ is a work in three parts. Inferno was the first, Purgatorio the second, and Paradiso the third. Mint XXI have jumped from the first to the third of the books for their second coin and have chosen a similar look and feel to the debut issue, but leaning more towards the up of the afterlife, than the down…

Depicting the face of God perhaps, surrounded by legions of angels, it stands in stark contrast to the terror depicted in the first coin. We only have an art render at present, but Mint XXI are great at real world images and we can expect them soon, no doubt. It certainly looks well worth waiting for. We hope they get around to Purgatorio as well, The same 333 mintage as the first coin, it should be available to order now.

For fans of the first issue, ‘Inferno’, there’s some good news, assuming you’re well heeled, of course. That fantastic coin is now available in a 100 mm diameter, one-kilogram version with a mintage of just 99 pieces. It’s pretty much identical, except for that diameter and the increased chonky thickness, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. A real halo piece for this talented producer. Available to order now from Top World Coins and a few select other dealers


An Italian poet born around 1265 and dieing in 1321, Dante is widely lauded for his three part ‘Divine Comedy’ which is not only considered the greatest literary work in the Italian language, but also one of the most important of the Middle Ages. He eschewed the traditional use of Latin so that more people would have access to his writing, helping to set the local Tuscan dialect on its path to becoming the modern Italian language.

His influence is quite incredible to this day. The depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, set out in Divine Comedy, remain one of the greatest influences on a vast body of art across multiple mediums. Great writers like Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton and Alfred Tennyson were said to be inspired by it. Countless works of art also bear its influence. Those that are familiar with, and like Scottsdale Mint’s Biblical Series of Gustave Dore based coins, will be pleased to know thaat Dore also did extensive work depicting The Divine Comedy.

He was buried in Ravenna in an ancient Roman sarcophagus. A Neo-classical tomb was built over the grave that remains there to this day.


The Paradiso begins at the top of Mount Purgatory, called the Earthly Paradise (i.e. the Garden of Eden), at noon on Wednesday, March 30 (or April 13), 1300, following Easter Sunday. Dante’s journey through Paradise takes approximately twenty-four hours, which indicates that the entire journey of the Divine Comedy has taken one week, Thursday evening (Inferno I and II) to Thursday evening.

After ascending through the sphere of fire believed to exist in the earth’s upper atmosphere (Canto I), Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven, to the Empyrean, which is the abode of God. The nine spheres are concentric, as in the standard medieval geocentric model of cosmology, which was derived from Ptolemy. The Empyrean is non-material.

SPHERE 1: THE MOON (THE INCONSTANT): The waxing and waning of the moon is associated with inconstancy. Consequently, the sphere of the Moon is that of souls who abandoned their vows, and so were deficient in the virtue of fortitude.

SPHERE 2: MERCURY (THE AMBITIOUS): Because of its proximity to the sun, the planet Mercury is often difficult to see. Allegorically, the planet represents those who did good out of a desire for fame, but who, being ambitious, were deficient in the virtue of justice.

SPHERE 3: VENUS (THE LOVERS): The planet Venus (the Morning and Evening Star) is traditionally associated with the Goddess of Love, and so Dante makes this the planet of the lovers, who were deficient in the virtue of temperance.

SPHERE 4: THE SUN (THE WISE): Within the Sun, which is the Earth’s source of illumination, Dante meets the greatest examples of prudence: the souls of the wise, who help to illuminate the world intellectually.

SPHERE 5: MARS (THE WARRIORS OF THE FAITH): The planet Mars is traditionally associated with the God of War, and so Dante makes this planet the home of the warriors of the Faith, who gave their lives for God, thereby displaying the virtue of fortitude.

SPHERE 6: JUPITER (THE JUST RULERS): The planet Jupiter is traditionally associated with the king of the gods, so Dante makes this planet the home of the rulers who displayed justice. The souls here spell out the Latin for “Love justice, ye that judge the earth”, after which the final “M” of that sentence is transformed into the shape of a giant imperial eagle.

SPHERE 7: SATURN (THE CONTEMPLATIVES): The sphere of Saturn is that of the contemplatives, who embody temperance.[31] Dante here meets Peter Damian, and discusses with him monasticism, the doctrine of predestination, and the sad state of the Church.

SPHERE 8: THE FIXED STARS (FAITH, HOPE & LOVE): The sphere of the Fixed Stars is the sphere of the church triumphant.[34] From here (in fact, from the constellation Gemini, under which he was born), Dante looks back on the seven spheres he has visited, and on the Earth.

SPHERE 9: THE PRIMUM MOBILE (THE ANGELS): The Primum Mobile (“first moved” sphere) is the last sphere of the physical universe. It is moved directly by God, and its motion causes all the spheres it encloses to move. The Primum Mobile is the abode of angels, and here Dante sees God as an intensely bright point of light surrounded by nine rings of angels. Beatrice explains the creation of the universe, and the role of the angels, ending with a forceful criticism of the preachers of the day.

THE EMPYREAN: From the Primum Mobile, Dante ascends to a region beyond physical existence, the Empyrean, which is the abode of God. Beatrice, representing theology,[45] is here transformed to be more beautiful than ever before, and Dante becomes enveloped in light, rendering him fit to see God. Dante sees an enormous rose, symbolising divine love, the petals of which are the enthroned souls of the faithful. All the souls he has met in Heaven, including Beatrice, have their home in this rose.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “PARADISO (DANTE)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

DENOMINATION 5,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 10,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 155.5 grams 1,000 grams
DIMENSIONS 65.0 mm 100.0 mm
FINISH Antique Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, hand polished High-relief, hand polished
MINTAGE 333 99
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes