World Coin Appreciation brings the micropuzzle coin concept to the affordable market with a striking copper/silver hybrid

It was Powercoin that debuted the micropuzzle style of coin design. Take a famous piece of art and make it look like a part-completed puzzle through the judicious use of fine detail minting. It sounds like something that CIT/BH Mayer’s proprietary smartminting technology was designed for, and Powercoin employed it to full effect. Very shortly after, Numiartis joined the fold with their own take. Both of those series share a common format, that of three ounces of fine silver, which does allow a large canvas to work with, but does bring with it cost and availability implications.

Both of those series run to hundreds of Euros in price, which is completely understandable given the care, and relatively small mintages of less than 500 pieces. Enter World Coin Appreciation with their own addition. Like PMC’s brilliant copper-cored coins, this one employs copper to bulk up the precious metal, allowing for much larger coins at reasonable prices than would normally be possible. However, whereas PMC wrap silver around the copper, WCA have made a predominately copper coin with the silver used as a layer under the coloured art. It’s a very small amount, just a single gram, which compared to the 60 grams of copper is tiny, so we should consider this a copper coin in reality.

It is a very nice piece, with detailed high relief and enhanced definition. The frame is just as you would expect for the renaissance piece of artwork, ‘Lady with an ermine’ by da Vinci, and is awash with intricate details. The painting is reproduced in rich colour and it all seems to work really well, really enhanced with the gilding all over. The only disappointment is the actual choice of subject, as Powercoin covered it in their Micromosaic Passion series.

The beauty of this coin should be apparent. It’s very well designed with the frame really enhancing the look, but most importantly, it will be very affordable, yet still limited to 2,000 pieces. We haven’t seen a dealer list it yet (we only got details late Friday night), but wholesale prices are very attractive. For the collector who loves their art coins, this should be a bargain way to get a high-quality coin. With some of the Powercoin issues hitting €1,000+ on the aftermarket, this is an opportunity for those on a tighter budget to have some fun as well. Boxed with a COA, it should be up for pre-order any time now. There’s a video lower down, but its only 480p resolution. We’ll try to get a hi-def one.

UPDATE: Removed reference to smartminting.

UPDATE: Added high-res version of video

LADY WITH AN ERMINE by Leonardo da Vinci

Painted by the Renaissance Italian artist in 1489-90, Lady with an Ermine is a 54 x 39 cm painting in oils on a walnut wood canvas. Da Vinci is only known to have painted four portraits of women, including the legendary Mona Lisa, so this one is a rarity. The subject of the painting is Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of his patron, Ludovico Sforza, a man that would go on to become Prince of Milan, and who commissioned, amongst other works, the famous The Last Supper painting, also by Leonardo.

Despite on first glance appearing to be a simple portrait, it follows Leonardo’s lifelong interest in depicting the dynamics of movement. Here, Gallerani is shown turning to her left as if listening to someone in that direction, and uses a compositional technique comprising a pyramidic spiral. She is shown in three-quarter profile, something also innovated by Da Vinci, and holding an Ermine, a white-coated stoat.

In 1798, Prince Adam George Czartoryski, a Polish nobleman with an interesting history of his own, purchased the painting, incorporating it into the Czartoryski family collections at Puławy. Over the following centuries, it was repeatedly rescued from invaders – the Russians in 1830, and the Nazi’s in 1946. Returning to Kraków it was kept on display until moving to the newly reopened Czartoryski Museum on 19 December 2019. It was purchased, along with the rest of the collection, in 2016 by the Polish government for €100 million.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver and copper
WEIGHT 1.0 gram silver / 60 gram copper
DIMENSIONS 58.0 x 51.0 mm
MODIFICATIONS Colour, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes