Literally just a couple of hours after I finished reading a biography of Vlad III, an email dropped in from Precious Metal Collectors with details of their latest behemoth featuring the enigmatic figure. Who was Vlad II, you might ask? You’re probably more familiar with him by his other epithet, Vlad Dracul, the legendary inspiration for Bram Stoker’s seminal work of horror, Dracula. Actually, outside of the name, Stoker took little from the historical figure, who remains a much more nuanced, although even more brutal character in reality.
A kind of folk hero in Romania, Vlad stood out for his barbarity in an age when it was commonplace., but made his name with a penchant for turning his enemies, both real and perceived, into cocktail sausages, complete with sticks… Said to have impaled tens of thousands in the most brutal way imagineable, it’s hardly surprising that the name ‘Vlad the Impaler’ has stuck with him even centuries later.Just a single image of Vlad II is known and it’s a painting that currently hangs in Ambrass Castle, Vienna, said to be a copy of an original that was made in Vlad’s lifetime. It’s also clearly the basis for PMC’s latest offering.
PMC’s innovative copper-cored technique results in some impressive coins. Basically, these comprise of a silver layer wrapped around a large centre of copper. Most two-ounce silver coins come in with a 45-50mm diameter. The 11.5 oz copper-cored type expands that out to a huge 80mm, for an increase in surface area from 1,600 sq.mm, to over 5,000. It also allows for lashings of high-relief at the same time.
Vlad is depicted here in a famous scene where he is said to have dined while surrounded by a ‘forest’ of impaled Ottoman invaders. The story is from a German woodcut made in 1499, but there was much exaggeration about Vlad coming from the region at the time – typical of the politics of the time. It’s a terrific depiction and encapsulates the popular myth of the man, untainted by the Dracula nonsense. The obverse is awash with the decomposed remains of his victims, and there were plenty of those. Packaging, like all of these ‘Order of the Spectre’ issues, will be excellent, of course.
The mintage of this is 500 pieces, and despite the size, these remain relatively affordable for such impressive pieces. Precious Metal Collectors have demonstrated a fine knack for choosing subjects outside of their usual Asian mythology ones, with Van Gogh being another superb recent release. We’re hugely impressed with both the technology behind these and the finished designs, especially in light of the relative newness of the company. Be sure to check out some of the other great designs in our previous looks .