After the successful launch of the Mandala Art series last year by Parisian coin producer the Art Mint, it was quite obvious that the set would expand this year with another of these epic 3oz antique-finish coins. The first in the new annual series was called Mandala Art ‘Kalachakra’, and as you’d expect from the name, was a traditional representation of a Mandala. As it was described last year, a Mandala in its most basic form is a radially balanced pattern comprised of a square with a gate on each side, the whole containing a circle with a centre point. Meant to represent the universe, while the term is Sanskrit in origin, it is used by many religions and philosophies, especially Buddhism.
This years design has moved away from the Sanskrit origins and taken the idea of incorporating another style of art and fitting it into the basic definition of a mandala. The 2016 coin is adorned with an art style that has become hugely popular through mediums such as tattooing, and through a rising general interest in the period of history, Celtic Art. A particular favourite, the repeating patterns and symmetry present in Celtic Art, or at least modern interpretations of it, is a natural fit for something designed to inspire comparisons with original Sanskrit mandala’s. The 2015 coin had at its centre a clear Swarovski crystal, but this second entrant in the Mandala Art range has replaced that with a Malachite half-sphere, also perfectly centred on the reverse face and again, looking quite integrated into the design, something not always the case on coins so adorned.
It’s again issued for the island state of Fiji and is still limited to just 500 pieces. The specification hasn’t changed, much of the extra weight of the coin going on thickness rather than diameter, something that allows the serial number to be etched on the edge. Rimless, high-relief, and hand-antiqued, this is clearly a higher-end release, and while similar in spec to the large selection of art-architectural coins on the market, a refreshing change of style from them. Supplied in a box with a certificate of authenticity, this Mandala coin starts to ship at the end of February, much earlier than last years July.
Like last years coin, this one is available directly from the Art Mint as well, and for a limited time (only a few days) is available with a very nice discount. These normally sell for around issue price, so it seems a good deal.