ANA 2019: Numiscollect debuts the ‘Wheel of Life’ on its latest Archaeology & Symbolism coin

As much as we love the ancient mythology coins that have been issued over the last few years, it’s always great to see something set in a similar world, but with a decidedly different focus. In 2017, Dutch producer Numiscollect issued a beautiful Aztec Calendar 3oz antiqued silver coin. A micro reproduction of a 22-tonne, 3.6m stone original, it used the CIT/BH Mayer proprietary minting technology, Smartminting, to pack the surface of this 65 mm coin with lashing of high-relief and fine detail. It was the first in the producers new series, Archaeology and Symbolism.

Last year saw a second coin join the line-up – a Kalachakra Mandala. Also entering the range was a limited run of gilded Aztec Calendar coins (just 99 pieces compared to 333 antiqued), which was a nice addition, given the importance of gold as a decorative metal in almost all ancient cultures. 2019 sees the issuance of the third design, and the series stays in the region with a beautiful Buddhist themed offering – Samsara, the Wheel of Life.

No changes to the excellent format, of course, but this one seems to have ramped up the detail to even greater heights. Divided into six segments around a circular central area, each of which represents one of the six realms through which life is recycled, there’s a level of fine detail here rarely seen on a coin. Even the border is filled to the brim with tiny imagery. It’s quite impressive to see and does a great job telling the story. The obverse has reverted to that used on the first issue – also for the Cook Islands – after the second coin made a transition to Mongolia.

There was a long wait between the initial antique-finished version and the later gilded coin for the first issue, but for this third design, both are being brought to market concurrently. A gilded version of the second coin is also being released (images further down), so now we have an up-to-date set to look at, and we’ll have a Coin Series Profile up after the weekend so that you can see them all together. The fourth coin should debut at the Beijing Coin Expo in November, and feature that most classic of ancient civilisations, Egypt. An exclusive sneak preview of part of the design can be seen with a click.

REVERSEOBVERSE
REVERSEOBVERSE

SAMSARA, WHEEL OF LIFE

Saṃsāra in Buddhism, states Jeff Wilson, is the “suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end”. Also referred to as the wheel of existence (Bhavacakra), it is often mentioned in Buddhist texts with the term punarbhava (rebirth, re-becoming); the liberation from this cycle of existence, Nirvana, is the foundation and the most important purpose of Buddhism.

Samsara is considered impermanent in Buddhism, just like other Indian religions. Karma drives this impermanent Samsara in Buddhist thought, states Paul Williams, and “short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one’s own karma; This endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath is Saṃsāra”. The Four Noble Truths, accepted by all Buddhist traditions, are aimed at ending this Samsara-related re-becoming (rebirth) and associated cycles of suffering.

Like Jainism, Buddhism developed its own Samsara theory, that evolved over time the mechanistic details on how the wheel of mundane existence works over the endless cycles of rebirth and redeath. In early Buddhist traditions, Saṃsāra cosmology consisted of five realms through which wheel of existence recycled. This included hells (niraya), hungry ghosts (pretas), animals (tiryak), humans (manushya), and gods (devas, heavenly). In latter traditions, this list grew to a list of six realms of rebirth, adding demi-gods (asuras). The “hungry ghost, heavenly, hellish realms” respectively formulate the ritual, literary and moral spheres of many contemporary Buddhist traditions.

The Saṃsāra concept, in Buddhism, envisions that these six realms are interconnected, and everyone cycles life after life, and death is just a state for an afterlife, through these realms, because of a combination of ignorance, desires and purposeful karma, or ethical and unethical actions. Nirvana is typically described as the freedom from rebirth and the only alternative to suffering of Samsara, in Buddhism. However, the Buddhist texts developed a more comprehensive theory of rebirth, states Steven Collins, from fears of redeath, called amata (death-free), a state which is considered synonymous with nirvana. (Source: Wikipedia)

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 CID (Cook Islands) $20 CID (Cook Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 65.0 mm 65.0 mm
FINISH Antique silk Gilded
MODIFICATIONS Smartminting Smartminting
MINTAGE 333 99
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
European Mint ad
Pobjoy Mint ad