Numiscollect replicate the incredible early 16th century Aztec Calendar on their latest silver coin

One of the most intriguing civilisations of the last millennia, the Aztec Empire wasn’t a particularly long-lasting one. Starting as an alliance of three city states called Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan, the Aztecs ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until 1521. It wasn’t long after its formation that Tenochtitlan became dominant, and the Aztec Empire was effectively ruled from there.  The whole thing was crushed by Hernan Cortes and his group of conquistadores with their native allies. Tenochtitlan is situated in the centre of what is now Mexico City.

In the few years following the defeat of the Aztecs, a large calendar stone was buried in the Zocalo, the main square of the capital. Rediscovered in late 1790, it was mounted to the outside of Mexico City Cathedral, where it remained for the next 95 years. Now residing in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, this is no trinket and clearly of importance to the Aztecs. Its size alone indicates great significance.

How big is it? At 3.58 metres in diameter, 0.98 metres thick, and weighing almost 22 tonnes, its production must have been difficult, but you certainly couldn’t tell from the exquisite finished article. If it were formed in silver, it would weigh just shy of 104 tonnes – in gold, over 190 tonnes. The surface of the stone is a depiction of the central elements of Mexican cosmology.

The coin itself is a pretty faithful representation of the original relic and seems to show an extraordinary amount of detail. While the coin has a weight of three ounces, it has benefited from smartmintings prowess, and so manages to finish up with a healthy 65 mm diameter. Obviously, that’s enabled Numiscollect to pack in as much of the Calendar Stone as possible, which they’ve proceeded to do.

Fans of the Libertad and the Bank of Mexico’s own calendar coin, of which there are plenty, which will find much to love here. It’s a cut above on the quality front, as most smartminted stuff is, and the isolating of the inscriptions on the reverse into a border is the right thing to do. The obverse is quite clever, although not as successful. A large question mark holds a pattern of symbols from various old cultures and it sits on a background that looks a little like the patterns you would find in a Zen garden. The series title is inscribed in an arc along the lines of the concentric rings, with the coin inscriptions located in a border like the one on the reverse.

We’ve yet to see packaging, but it will come in a box and with a certificate of authenticity. Just 333 of these will be minted and it should ship in the first half of December. Price seems to be around the €400 mark. A fine looking piece and the first in a new series called Archaeology and Symbolism. Looks like one to watch.

DENOMINATION $20 Cook Islands
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
FINISH Antique
BOX / COA Yes / Yes