The run of new bullion coins continues with the third in the Sunshine Mints African Lion series. Distributed exclusively by American dealer Modern Coin Mart, the series of low-mid mintage coins launched in 2015 and has continued with a single release per year ever since. In what used to be a rare event, but now increasingly common with the rise of African states issuing commemorative coins, each coin in the series is issued for a different country. The 2015 coin came out adorned with the emblem of the Republic of Burundi, the second for the Republic of Congo, and this one for the Republic of Chad. All are countries from the central region of the African continent and adding to a growing number of countries there that are more involved in the commemorative coin and bullion markets.
As you’d expect from the name, this series of coins depict the African Lion, and there aren’t many better subjects for a wildlife series than that. These Sunshine Mint struck coins haven’t always taken full advantage of that however. The first coin was decent, but carried an overly obtrusive name banner on it. The second had a nice composition, but lacked a little realism, especially in the face. No such qualms with this third coin, the prowling lioness design being expertly realised with excellent anatomic proportion and a fine sense of perspective. This should sell well if the looks are an indicator, and is a big step up in quality for the series.
The obverse is unusual and well done also. An outline map of Africa and Madagascar with Chad highlighted doesn’t really say much about Chad as a culture, but it at least highlights where it is and looks good. Unencumbered by the usual inscriptions which are sited around the rim in a neat, full circle. Sold individually, in tubes of 20, or monster boxes of 500, this isn’t a low premium coin, but it has some potential to attain rises in line with its semi-numismatic status. One point, the image of the monster box shows 25 tubes in a plain cardboard box, not really enough for someone spending eleven grand on coins when a properly designed plastic one would be more appropriate.
As before there will be higher quality variants. Announced so far are proof and gilded ones, the former available now, the latter comiing before the years end. Previous years have also seen coloured and antiqued versions, but we’ve yet to confirm those are coming yet. The bullion coin is also in an MCM favourite, slabbed and with the usual nonsense custom label, but we know many like their coins that way. You can’t fault MCM for offering all the options. Available now, a pleasant surprise and a coin that looks worth tracking down.