The Mint of Poland delves into the world of myths and legends with three new silver coin releases

The most prolific of coin producers when it comes to the ancient myths and legends genre, the Mint of Poland has released some quite stunning issues over the last few years. Strangely, most of them are produced in conjunction with others, like Coin Shoppe, Silvercoins Europe, Numiartis and the Mint of Gdansk, with the less impressive ones released by the mint itself.

That seems to be the case with the three coins here. None of them has any form of additional design on the obverse face, something common on partner coins. Many of those are quite outstanding, so it’s a shame the practice isn’t employed on more of their own coins. Two of the three here are in the classic two-ounce, high-relief format, so they’re in the mix spec-wise, but they seem to be missing the spark that lifts them to the top tier. Nevertheless, some good coins, which should all be available to order now.

CERNUNNOS, the horned god

The ancient Celtic god of nature and fertility, Cernunnos was also called the Horned God, because of the impressive stag antlers protruding from his head. Much of his history and place in Celtic mythology is unknown, and there are relatively few contemporary sources, but there are some, like the Val Camonica rock painting, the Gundestrup Cauldron, the bronze deity-figure from Bouray, and the Nautae Parisiaci monument. It’s been postulated that he may have been an inspiration for the look of Satan in Christian art.

This is probably the most ambitious of the three coins here, exhibiting some good, well-defined levels of high-relief. It’s antique-finished, with some gilded highlights, It’s our favourite as well, having a design at least drawing some inspiration from Celtic art. The use of green resin for the background and the symbol is also done sympathetically. Not a classic design, you’ll have to spend considerably more on CIT’s three-ounce coin for that, but a good one.

$5 NZD (Niue) 0.999 silver 62.2 g 45.0 mm Antique, gilding 500 YES / YES

LILITH, the first wife of Adam

A figure from Judaic and Mesopotamian legend, Lilith was considered the first wife of Adam in the former, and the primordial demoness in the latter. Said to have been banished from the Garden of Eden for disobeying her husband, Adam, she became a demon after coupling with the archangel Samael. In modern culture, she is seen as challenging the patriarchy, fighting for equality and fairness.

The coin is another two-ounce silver piece, with antique finishing and high-relief. From a technical standpoint, it looks great, packed with detailed elements and an imposing central figure. The depiction of Lilith, mainly the head, seems a little intense and unsubtle compared to historical sources, but the gilding is well-placed, and there’s a fine sense of depth to it all. This is a Cameroon coin, and sadly, just like the other two coins, has no customised detailing on the obverse. Overall, a decent release.

2,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 0.999 silver 62.2 g 50.0 mm Antique, gilding 500 YES / YES

FAUNUS, the god of fertility

Faunus is a deity from Roman mythology, and like many of their gods, has its roots in Greece, where he was known by a name more widely known in modern times – Pan. Some Romans considered them separate deities, but ancient mythology is a minefield, so we never know for sure. Another horned god, he was also associated with nature and fertility, and could reveal the future in dreams to those that slept in his precincts.

The smallest and cheapest of the three new coins here, it’s also the least ambitious. A wide expanse of coloured, digitally printed background surrounds a depiction of the horned Faunus sitting on a rock, flute in hand. It looks okay, but the disconnect between the subject and the background is a bit jarring. This one has a proof finish, and like the previous pair, is presented in a latex-skin floating frame.

$5 NZD (Niue) 0.999 silver 32.90 g 40.85 mm Proof, colour 600 YES / YES