The French novelist Jules Verne (8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) is the second-most translated author of the last 50 years, just behind Agatha Christie and it’s easy to see why. The sense of spectacle and wonder weaved in his novels has near universal appeal – appearing in countless adaptations from the early age of moving pictures through to the 21st century. As a literary world full of wonder, Jules Vernes work is a perfect subject for a coin series.
The Czech Mint has launched the first of a four-coin set showcasing some of the fantastical devices that sprang onto the pages of Verne’s science-fiction novels. To kick off the series, the mint has chosen the most well known of them all – the submarine called Nautilus from the superb 1870 novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Telling the story of a renegade genius, Captain Nemo, and his attempt to punish civilisation for what it had done to his family, it’s an incredibly forward-looking work, with the Nautilus having several features that were unknown at the time but have since been invented and implemented on modern submarines.
The design of the coins in this series is by Russian artist Asamat Baltaev, also responsible for the Czech Lion silver bullion coin last year. He’s done a fantastic job in our view. The Nautilus coin is a hugely dynamic piece and one not afraid to mix traditional and stylistic touches to create a greater whole. The mint has done an outstanding job with the strike, choosing to keep all but the coin title on the obverse face to allow the design to fully breathe.
The obverse will be a common one to the series and as a Niue issue features the mugshot of QEII in its centre. Again, the mint has done an exceptional job merging the effigy with a heavily themed set of series elements – outstanding work. The coin comes in a small box with an enclosed certificate of authenticity – one much like those used by the Austrian Mint. Those collecting the whole set will likely prefer the themed tin that holds all four coins. Selling for just €8 Euro, it’s good that the mint has resisted the urge to charge an extortionate amount for it and the enclosed artwork is a nice touch.
As for the rest of the series, you can see the concept art below and they all look great. The Albatross coin will ship in May, the Mechanical Elephant in June, and the Columbiad in September. This looks like it will shape up to be a first-class issue. The Nautilus coin is available to order now from the Czech Mint website and the mintage is limited to just 1,000 pieces.