The shaped coin market expands with new releases of Gods, Kings, Presidents, some epic wildlife, and a rocket…

With shaped coins becoming ever more popular, we thought we’d have a look at the latest wave of releases from various producers in a single round-up. All of these are more than just standard strikes with an uneven edge, exhibiting varying degrees of high-relief as well. The subjects are wide-ranging, from classics like Ancient Egypt, through to the current Bitcoin boom.

We think that every one of the seven designs here will find plenty of fans, and all seem to be of the highest standard of modern numismatics. Our US readers will find much to love with the Eagle and Lincoln coins in particular, and the visually striking ancient civilisation of Egypt is always popular, but we have to give a special nod to the beautiful Big Five coin from Bullion Exchanges. A very inventive, and very well realised release, the five-ounce in particular should be a very special piece.

Anyway, enjoy the selection. There are a few more to look at, including the latest in the Heroes of History series (also Abraham Lincoln), but that’s for another time. We’re off to sort out the repair of the storm damage…

ZEUS, FATHER OF THE GODS (CIT Coin Invest)

CIT is no stranger to coins of this ilk, and have been pushing boundaries for many years. Indeed, this latest addition is the fifth in their ‘Spiritual Art’ series, one that has a quite eclectic range of subjects within it, like ‘Madonna of Bruges’, and ‘Ravana, King of Demons’, for instance. Each follows a strict aesthetic, with plenty of high-relief via the producer’s proprietary smartminting technology, and a silk finish gilding.

No changes to that for ‘Zeus, Father of the Gods’, which is based on one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Located in Olympia, Greece, circa 435 BCE, the 12.4 m tall original by Greek sculptor Phidias sat in the Temple of Zeus. It remained there for around 900 years before its destruction. It’s perhaps fitting that its depiction on a coin is taken from those on contemporary numismatics.

Zeus is a three-ounce silver coin and, in one that depicts more than just the figure – a consequence of the original statue’s look. It looks great, although perhaps a little over-detailed on the face. There are lots of little touches all over, with the obverse continuing the theme.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 CID (Cook Islands) 0.999 silver 93.3 g 60 x 30 mm Silk, gilded 501 YES / YES

TUTANKHAMUN’S SARCOPHAGUS (MDM Wholesale)

Many believe that Tutankhamun’s body was found inside a gilded wooden sarcophagus, but that’s only partially true. Inside that gilded outer sarcophagus was another one, slightly smaller, and also gilded. Inside that, was an inner sarcophagus, which held the boy-king’s remains. This innermost sarcophagus was formed from solid gold, over 110 kilograms of it. Replete with imagery, it’s one of the most famous items ever recovered from the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

MDM have replicated this inner coffin using five ounces of fine silver, fully gilded. They’ve had a good stab at replicating much of the original imagery that covered it. A more extreme shaped coin than the others here, it’s an appealing piece for the Egyptologist. In what seems to be a trend, the mintage is a homage to an aspect of the subject, in this case the tomb name of KV62.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$10 (Solomon Islands) 0.999 silver 155.5 g 105 x 32 x 27 mm Prooflike, gilded 620 YES / YES

TUTANKHAMUN’S MASK (Numiscollect)

Numiscollect have also been producing this kind of coin for a while, and this is the fourth in their ‘Egyptian Art 3D’ series, A little more varied in finish than CIT’s range, the previous issues have exhibited more extensive colouration – hardly surprising given the historical source material was so richly hued. This is a new variant of the first coin in the series – Tutankhamun’s mask – which Numiscollect are calling their 100th Anniversary Edition. That’s because 2022 marks the centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb,

The original item, now held in the new Egyptian Museum on the plains of Giza, is very well replicated here, and the addition of colour to depict the gem-encrusted lower part of it, seems very well done. At 65 mm in height, it’s a decent size, and the use of Smartminting will keep the high-relief crisp and detailed. A pretty cool piece, to be honest, based on a pretty cool artifact. The mintage is set at just 222 pieces.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 (Palau) 0.999 silver 93.3 g 65.0 mm Gilded 222 YES / YES

AMERICAN EAGLE (Bullion Exchanges)

Exclusive to US dealer, Bullion Exchanges, this new one-ounce silver ‘American Eagle’ is a terrific looking headshot of the iconic bird of prey. The reverse side of this shaped coin is simply the eagle in profile portrait form, but it looks quite sublime. There’s tons of detail in the feathers, and the antique finish suits it very well, enhancing the sense of depth.

The obverse is All-American as well. The flag, the Statue of Liberty, and a Bald Eagle silhouetted against the sky, leaves little doubt on where this is focused. The serial number is engraved on the obverse as well, quite uncommon on a coin with a mintage this high. The only thing not American is the nation issuing it – the African nation, Chad. A really nice design, and a sub-$100 price at the time of writing, make this a very attractive piece for the patriotic collector.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
5,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 48 x 45 mm Antiqued 2,500 YES / YES

BIG FIVE AFRICAN CONTINENT (Bullion Exchanges)

Also by Bullion Exchanges, this quite gorgeous continent-shaped coin is a brilliant way to depict the legendary ‘Big Five’ animals from Africa. The Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, and Elephant, are certainly no stranger to the modern coin world, but we’ve never seen it done with such style, as it has here. The way the animals are merged into a coin the shape of Africa, without any wasted space, or compromises to the look of the beasties, is just outstanding.

I really can’t pick fault with it, to be honest. The antique-finish is ideal, helping to give it depth through faux-shadow, and all the animals look spot-on. The silhouette in front of the setting sun on the obverse, is a fine touch, and the national emblem of the issuing country – the Republic of Chad – is particularly apt here in a way it wasn’t on the Eagle coin. Again, the serial number is engraved on it here.

In this case, there are two variants, although they both share a common design. The five-ounce coin is limited to 555 pieces, but the considerably more affordable one-ounce coin will be easier to pick up, with 5,000 being struck. Either way, a surprise release, but one that easily takes its place as one of our favourites of the year to date, a position we’d not be surprised to see it hold on to at years end.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
5,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 50 x 45 mm Antiqued 5,000 YES / YES
25,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 0.999 silver 155.5 g 71 x 80 mm Antiqued 555 YES / YES

THE BITCOIN ROCKET (Bullion Exchanges)

The last of the three Bullion Exchanges issues here, is the quirky ‘Bitcoin Rocket’. Again, a super design, tapping into that retro-vibe from the wealth of iconic spaceships emanating from Hollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Sadly, this isn’t themed around those movies, but by the hype around cryptocurrency, with the Bitcoin logo in gilded form sitting on the nose of the rocket. It’s all based on the fallacy of fiat currency failing, and the freedom crypto gives you, but even a cursory dig into the market reveals the flaws in that logic.

However, all that is irrelevant here as we’re looking at the coin design, of course. We love the obverse. The astronaut, chilling on the surface of the moon while gazing out at the solar system, is superb. Also issued for Chad, this one is capped at 5,000 pieces, Quite different from the other two of BE’s new coins, it has a charm all of its own.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
5,000 Francs CFA (Chad) 0.999 silver 31.1 g 41 x 55 mm Antiqued 5,000 YES / YES
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