Ancient Egyptian iconography is just incredibly beautiful, so tapping into that for modern numismatics is a bit of a no-brainer. While we always seem to see the distinctive architecture, it is the small items that have given us such a fascinating glimpse into this long-lived civilisation. From the rare unplundered tomb, to the countless images carved into surfaces all over the old empire, it’s amazing just how much we know about them after this much time, especially when compared to the comparatively recent Dark Age Europe.
One of the more iconic symbols of Ancient Egyptian society was the Scarab symbol. Hugely popular for an extended period of time, scarab amulets have been found all over the country. We’ve also seen them featured on modern numismatics a few times, most notably with the Mint of Polands 17.5g silver range, and a pair of three coin sets from CIT, which were particularly pretty, although having at best a tenuous link to the civilisation, being more nature focused. Into the mix comes Mint XXI.
Straight off, we’re going to say this is a beautiful piece of work. Unmistakenly Egyptian, crisply defined and with a striking piece of turquoise, it’s easily the finest Egyptian scarab design we’ve seen on a coin. The symmetrical layout and antique finish provide a perfect backdrop to the insert, a material used commonly at the tiime. Indeed, turquoise has been mined by man for around 8,000 years, and the mines in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt used by the Pharoahs are still in use today!
This is a fifty gram fine silver coin reaching out to a nice 50 mm in diameter. The obverse is a standard Niue design with an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, a shame, but packaging looks good and there’s the obligatory Certificate of Authenticity as well. The mintage is an unusual 888 pieces. A superb release, it’s easy to overlook something like this when issues like Dante get all the glory, but this is proof positive that Mint XXI have a broad talent in the modern coin market.