Turning base metal into gold, the quest for immortality, the cure for disease – each of these were goals that the alchemists of old struggled to achieve, for obvious reasons. Alchemy, a mix of philosophy and early science, was practiced throughout the world’s major civilisations, from China and India, through the Middle East, to Europe. It can trace its roots back almost 2,000 years.
There have been many looks associated with this ancient ‘art’, but the Mint of Poland has come up with its own for its latest high-relief coin. Eschewing the classic Renaissance look of the practitioner, the mint has gone with a terrific ‘Steampunk’ style for the alchemist. It’s an outstanding design, full of the mysticism associated with alchemy. The detail packed into the background is wall-to-wall and beautifully defined, taking full advantage of the enhanced levels of relief.
We can’t imagine much disappointment with the base design, but things will be more divisive when it comes to the resin insert attached to this face. It’s clear what the vial is meant to represent, and works well for that, but it is quite prominent. When the lights go out, it glows in the dark, as does the title text at the top. It’s all quite clever, but the actual coin itself is so well done, that the jar is of dubious necessity. Perhaps a little smaller would be better.
The obverse is a standard Niue one from this producer, the mint declining to theme it as it does with its many third-party issues. The presentation is neat enough, comprised of a latex skin floating frame. It’s a classic two-ounce 0.999 silver coin with an antique finish, a staple of the current numismatic market, The mintage is capped at 500 pieces, and the coin should be available to order now. A really superb coin, but with an addition you’ll either love or hate. Let us know what you think in the comments.