As a dinosaur enthusiast, it’s great to see increased activity in the genre so early in 2020 with both the Austrian Mint’s coloured base-metal offerings and the New Zealand Mint’s silver T-Rex coin kicking the new year off in fine form. It’s a pleasure to add the Royal Mint to the mix with an outstanding new three-coin series to be issued over the coming months.
What makes this one so good? Simple, they’ve not gone the sensationalist route that would cheapen the end result, instead choosing to work in conjunction with the world-respected National History Museum to celebrate the early years of the science of palaeontology. They’ve done this with three well chosen examples, starting off with the legendary Megalosaurus – the fossil that helped change the study of fossils from speculative fantasy to hard science.
Each coin depicts an image of the beastie in question by renowned paleo-artist, Robert Nicholls. For those unaware, paleoart is an intensely fascinating field in which artists use speculative, but scientifically backed art to depict prehistoric life. There are some brilliant people working in this field and I highly recommend a delve into it. It absolutely brings life and context to the bones we find. To each side of the creature itself sits depictions of flora of the animals time, and underneath it is a depiction of one of the original fossils as found. The dinosaurs name is inscribed at the top of the coin, and the finder of the fossil at the bottom. I’d usually just write on and on about the subjects, but sadly, we’re swamped with new releases at the moment, so this will be briefer than we liked.
Megalosaurus is available in 22kt gold and 925 silver, along with a 925 coloured silver variant. Hopefully, the colour application will do justice to the design and steer away from the rubbish ‘news-print style’ low-res printing that blights the coin world. To follow in March and April (pictured lower down) are Iguanodon, complete with its famous thumb (once thought to be a nose horn!), and Hylaeosaurus, all three having been discovered between 1824 to 1833 and which were used in Richard Owen’s seminal work, “Dinosauria”. Although only available a few hours ago, the gold has already sold out and the silver is going fast. A base metal version, either coloured or uncoloured, is also available directly from the Royal Mint, and has been enhanced with augmented reality – something the kids will love, I’m sure. The coloured silver comes in a cool solid acrylic frame, while the others are more traditionally boxed. The base metal versions are mounted in blistercards. Available now, so go get them and don’t forget to send me one…;-)