A coin that was announced a few month’s ago, the second in the Mint of Poland’s Winter Palace series of art-architectural coins has recently become available. The first coin came out in 2014 and featured the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg. It seemed to be well liked, although discussion about it was muted compared to the Tiffany and Mineral Arts series. Following a similar pattern to most of this genre of coins, it was an antique-finished 2oz high-relief coin with a mineral insert, first popularised by Coin Invest Trusts’ seminal Tiffany Art series that launched back in 2004. The insert on the coin, in that case a red Swarovski crystal, was unusual in sitting quite proud of the struck surface, unlike many contemporaries that sit flush or even inside the coin thickness.
This years release in no different in that regard. Specification-wise there are no surprises here, but the Mint of Poland has chosen to use this series to experiment with different inserts, in colour, shape and composition. The angular red crystal of 2014 has given way to an elongated teardrop shaped piece of purple amethyst. Amethyst is simply a purple variety of ultra-common mineral, Quartz, and has been used for decoration since at least Ancient Greek times, and likely much sooner. The single piece extends proud of both surfaces of the coin to quite a degree and is around half the height of the coin in length; despite the colour, this is no shrinking violet..
The strike is, as you’d expect from the Mennica Polska, detailed, intricate and expertly done. The obverse with the depictions of the brilliant Sala Terrana is the standout for us, but personally I think the insert is simply too large and prominent for the coin and intrudes more than it should do into the design. Many have expressed a love for it, so clearly mine is just one opinion amongst many. It’s certainly an impressive piece as so many of these coins are; we’ve often said that we believe the quality of art-architecture coins is well above the numismatic norm.
Available now from a select few dealers worldwide like First Coin, Powercoin, Top World Coins etc, prices seem to be a little lower than the last coin at around €220/$240US, the coin is well packaged in a good box and comes with the obligatory Certificate of Authenticity telling you which of the 666 coins you have.