Our love for the mythical beasts of ancient lore has never been higher. With modern mega-budget movies like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter drawing in huge audiences, as well as the new legends that are inherent parts of the various superhero universes, the weird and fantastical remains a popular escape from the day to day life most of us lead today. There’s no substitute for the old legends, however, dreamed up in a time where belief trumped logic in the popular mindset.
Tapping into that, the modern numismatic world has brought forth some superb coins for collectors to hunt down, but outside of a few bullion coins, most have sat and the higher end of the market. The Czech Mint has debuted a new series that is eminently more affordable and will be made up of twelve issues to be released from now until 2022 at the rate of four per year.
The first two coins choose old favourites – The Phoenix and the Dragon. Each has a consistent border in the old Hellenic style, with a striking depiction of the mythical beast in question filling the central area. The style of both is very similar, despite the employment of different artists for each one. Czech Mint regular sculptor, Asamat Baltev is responsible for the Dragon, done in a European style, while Maria Filova did the Phoenix. Baltev is also responsible for the common obverse. Both look like fine pieces, eschewing the usual gimmickry for a simpler, more classical look.
Two versions of each design are on offer. The first is the classic 1oz fine silver (circa €63), and the second a gold coin coming in at a tenth of an ounce (circa €282). With the rising price of gold this year, the smaller format may well turn out to be a wise choice, especially when there are twelve coins in a series, but it does mean the diameter is lacking. Each coin comes in one of the small and neat cardboard boxes which buyers of Austrian Mint coins will recognise. They’re nice and compact, so easy to store, and include a Certificate of Authenticity. The silver mintage is capped at 1,000 pieces, with the gold at half that. Both are available now.
Those interested in collecting the set may want to pick up one of the folders that can hold them all. One is on sale for each of the two variants, although they remain fundamentally the same. They look good, but at €37.10 each, a little price in our view. The next two coins to come this year will be the Harpy and the Griffin. Next year will see Hydra, Unicorn, Cerebus and Centaur released, follwed in 2022 by the Minotaur, Sphinx, Pegasus, and Scarab.