Despite being a minor Pharaoh, Tutankhamun is probably the most famous of them all today. His father, Akhenaten, was a maverick who sought to upend the whole Egyptian way of life, and failed. The result, his nine-year-old son, Tutankhamun, took the throne. Wracked with illness and deformities, no doubt caused by the incestual practices of his ancestors, he died around the age of just 18 years old.
So why did this unremarkable ruler become the iconic face of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation? In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered a tomb like no other. Almost every burial site in the Valley of the Kings had been pillaged, completely cleared out of artifacts, usually in antiquity by grave robbers. However, Tutankhamun’s tomb had remained undiscovered, and contained a breathtaking collection of artifacts, chief among them the iconic gold mask that’s now the face of Ancient Egypt.
To commemorate a century since a discovery that reignited a world’s interest, the Royal Mint has issued a coin in a selection of formats. Laura Clancy has done a bang up job with a terrific look at one of the most famous objects in the world. While we enjoy the more extravagant offerings that many other producers have issued of late, we do like a clean, modern design, free of gimmickry as well. There’s room in the market for them all. The obverse is the usual one featuring Queen Elizabeth II. All of them coins in an advanced state of production will continue with this effigy, with 2023 seemingly the definitive date when everything will move to King Charles III.
Three precious metal coins are on offer, although there’s also a base-metal coin for the casual collector. A solitary gold £5 coin is struck in 22 kt metal, weighing in a 39.94 grams, a standard size for the £5 format in the UK. The pair of sterling silver coins are identical in everything but weight and thickness. All coins are boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, and available to buy now.