A new series from the Mint of Poland, Sea Battles will look at some of history’s greatest naval punch-ups, and what better place to start than the pivotal Battle of Salamis. This battle, way back in 490 BCE, helped end Persian ambitions to take the Greek homeland – a base from which they could have made further incursions into Europe.
It’s another of the Mint of Poland’s flagship 2oz coins, filled with masses of high-relief, an antique-finish, and some fine design. The reverse face depicts the chaos of a battle of the period. A Greek trireme has rammed a Persian ship and the warriors are streaming to board and capture it. Sea battles of the time were basically boarding and fighting, rather than projectile warfare at distance, effectively just a succession of small land battles on the water, and the coin does a great job of depicting it. At the top sits a small Lapacho wood insert with a carved dolphin icon in it. We’ve seen similar inserts with such coins as the Trojan Horse and it looks good.
It’s the obverse where this one shines. We were huge fans of the map placed on the back of the Spartacus and Leonidas coins, and it’s fantastic to see it return here. It shows a simple view of the battle and is a perfect compliment to the reverse face. Just because this coin carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, it doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Top marks.
Boxed with a certificate, this has the usual mintage of 500 pieces and joins what is an expansive selection of similar themed issues with this format. Everyone has their favourites, but as a lover of naval warfare history, this has a bit of extra appeal to me. Your mileage may vary, of course, so feel free to check out our constantly updated guide to the Mint of Poland’s efforts in this genre with this format. Distributed by the Mint of Gdansk, the coin is available to pre-order now, with shipping around the end of next month. We look forward to seeing this series continue.