Mint of Poland debuts a new mythology series based around the Twelve labours of Hercules

The Twelve Labours of Hercules are a terrific idea for a coin series, combining a well known character from ancient mythology, with a fascinating and exciting series of adventures. The first issue last year featured the Nemean Lion, generally thought of to be the first of the tasks undertaken, and it looks like the mint will release them in rough chronological order – if such a thing is realistic for fantasy tales.

As is common for this kind of coin from the Mint of Poland, this is a rimless, ultra-high-relief, fine-silver coin of two ounces in weight and with an antique finish. The highlighted area, in this case three of the Hydra heads, are picked out with gilding and this will remain the signature of the series. The common obverse is surrounded by a twelve small cameo images, with the one that matches the coin reverse also enjoying a gilded finish. The coin serial number is engraved into the edge and will match the enclosed certificate of authenticity.

As we said, this is an early peek and we’ll no doubt get the full ArtCAM renders to publish quite soon. Owners of the first coin, or indeed any of these Mennica Polska mythology coins,  will have no concerns about the superlative standard of work on the finished item. Just 500 of these will be struck and this is an incredibly popular genre at the moment. It will come in a wooden box and ship in the second quarter of 2019 – we’d suspect around late April/early May, but it could be a little later. This one is being exclusively distributed by two dealers, Coin Shoppe in Canada and Magikos Coins in Poland and it will no doubt be available at all the usual dealers from there. We’re looking forward to seeing this one in the flesh. Very promising, and a coin we will revisit when better images become available.

THE TWELVE LABOURS OF HERCULES

Hercules was married to Megara, the daughter of King Kreo of Thebes, and together they had five children. Unfortunately, the goddess Hera drove Hercules insane in a fit of jealousy and he killed his wife and children.

Driven mad by Hera (queen of the gods), Hercules slew his son, daughter, and wife Megara. After recovering his sanity, Hercules deeply regretted his actions; he was purified by King Thespius, then traveled to Delphi to inquire how he could atone for his actions. Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, advised him to go to Tiryns and serve his cousin King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labours Eurystheus might set him; in return, he would be rewarded with immortality. Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. Eventually, he placed himself at Eurystheus’s disposal.

Eurystheus originally ordered Hercules to perform ten labours. Hercules accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus refused to recognize two: the slaying of the Lernaean Hydra, as Hercules’ nephew and charioteer Iolaus had helped him; and the cleansing of the Augeas, because Hercules accepted payment for the labour. Eurystheus set two more tasks (fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus), which Hercules also performed, bringing the total number of tasks to twelve.

01 – Slay the Nemean lion.

02 – Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.

03 – Capture the Ceryneian Hind.

04 – Capture the Erymanthian Boar.

05 – Clean the Augean stables in a single day.

06 – Slay the Stymphalian birds.

07 – Capture the Cretan Bull.

08 – Steal the Mares of Diomedes.

09 – Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta.

10 – Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.

11 – Steal the apples of the Hesperides.

12 – Capture and bring back Cerberus.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION To be confirmed
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIAMETER 45.00 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Gilding
MINTAGE 500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes (also on coin rim)
First Coin Company AD