Exclusive!: Vlad Dracul is the latest to raise the stakes with PMC’s innovative bi-metal technique

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 .

VLAD THE IMPALER

Vlad III Dracula, known as Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș; 1428/31 – 1476/77), was Voivode of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death. He is often considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania.

He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436. Vlad and his younger brother, Radu, were held as hostages in the Ottoman Empire in 1442 to secure their father’s loyalty. Vlad’s father and eldest brother, Mircea, were murdered after John Hunyadi, regent-governor of Hungary, invaded Wallachia in 1447. Hunyadi installed Vlad’s second cousin, Vladislav II, as the new voivode. Hunyadi launched a military campaign against the Ottomans in the autumn of 1448, and Vladislav accompanied him. Vlad broke into Wallachia with Ottoman support in October, but Vladislav returned and Vlad sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire before the end of the year. Vlad went to Moldavia in 1449 or 1450, and later to Hungary.

Relations between Hungary and Vladislav later deteriorated, and in 1456 Vlad invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support. Vladislav died fighting against him. Vlad began a purge among the Wallachian boyars to strengthen his position. He came into conflict with the Transylvanian Saxons, who supported his opponents, Dan and Basarab Laiotă (who were Vladislav’s brothers), and Vlad’s illegitimate half-brother, Vlad the Monk. Vlad plundered the Saxon villages, taking the captured people to Wallachia where he had them impaled (which inspired his cognomen). Peace was restored in 1460.

The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II, ordered Vlad to pay homage to him personally, but Vlad had the Sultan’s two envoys captured and impaled. In February 1462, he attacked Ottoman territory, massacring tens of thousands of Turks and Bulgarians. Mehmed launched a campaign against Wallachia to replace Vlad with Vlad’s younger brother, Radu. Vlad attempted to capture the sultan at Târgoviște during the night of 16–17 June 1462. The sultan and the main Ottoman army left Wallachia, but more and more Wallachians deserted to Radu. Vlad went to Transylvania to seek assistance from Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in late 1462, but Corvinus had him imprisoned.

Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475. During this period, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy. He was released at the request of Stephen III of Moldavia in the summer of 1475. He fought in Corvinus’s army against the Ottomans in Bosnia in early 1476. Hungarian and Moldavian troops helped him to force Basarab Laiotă (who had dethroned Vlad’s brother, Radu) to flee from Wallachia in November. Basarab returned with Ottoman support before the end of the year. Vlad was killed in battle before 10 January 1477. Books describing Vlad’s cruel acts were among the first bestsellers in the German-speaking territories. In Russia, popular stories suggested that Vlad was able to strengthen central government only through applying brutal punishments, and a similar view was adopted by most Romanian historians in the 19th century. Vlad’s reputation for cruelty and his patronymic inspired the name of the vampire Count Dracula, for whom, however, he did not serve as the general inspiration, in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.(WIKIPEDIA)

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Vlad III Dracula/Vlad Tepes, better known as The Impaler, was a Wallachian prince and a ruthless leader, whose cruel methods of punishing his enemies gained notoriety in the 15th-Century Europe. Vlad employed extremely cruel measures to inspire fear in those who opposed him and that’s where he earned his nickname famously by impaling his enemies on stakes, which does not kill immediately and is slow and painful. There were also stories told about Vlad drinking the blood of his enemies, where this later greatly inspired Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel and its main character, Count Dracula, the vampire. As gruesome and terrifying as his methods were, Vlad is hailed as a hero, and credited for having kept the relentless Ottoman advance into Europe at bay in the 15th century.

The 2 oz fine-silver coin is struck in a new minting technique called “Bi-Metal Plus”, that combines 11.5 oz of copper in between two layers of fine-silver resulting in super ultra-high relief while being topped off with silver antique finishing. The technique allows the coin to have an incredible weight and feel in the hand together with its 80mm diameter size. The collectible highlights the ruler in a scene of horror as he is shown enjoying a feast of dinner while the impaled enemies and victims with their corpses looming in the background, signifying the bloody and gruesomeness of the ruler and the atrocities of the method he used for instilling fear, torturing and killing his enemies.

The collectible coin will come together with the Certificate of Authenticity made with clear acrylic card with dripping blood silhouette that places over the coin to further reiterate the fearsome ruler. Its serial number will continue to run from the previous series, enclosed in a specially designed themed packaging box filled with details (not shown in mock-up) that will surely enhance the buying experience for customers. All by Order of the Spectres.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver / 0.999 copper
WEIGHT 31.107 g Ag / 357.7 g Cu
DIMENSIONS 80.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
PRECIOUS METAL COLLECTORS