Ancient Myths Trojan Horse silver coin followed on by the legend of the Minotaur

It’s always a pleasure to get an exclusive look at a new coin and when it was as outstanding as last years Trojan Horse coin, it’s a real treat. The first in a new series called Ancient Myths, the coin was a superb example of this ever popular genre. Struck by the Mint of Poland for Magikos Coins, it remains one of the best ancient mythology themed coins available today.

This year sees the second in the series to be launched and it remains firmly seated in the Mediterranean region with the tale of the fabled Minotaur of Crete. The specification follows last years very closely as you would expect. Produced in two ounces of 0.999 silver and antique-finished, the coin is struck to a high relief and is rimless. Like the Trojan Horse coin with its wooden ‘shield’ inset into the reverse face, this one has an inset item of its own, one more appropriate for the subject.

The reverse face depicts the huge Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull of legend charging at the figure of Theseus clad in hoplite armour of the period. Brutal-looking and filled with rage, the Minotaur makes an imposing figure in this very dynamic scene set in the fabled labyrinth of the tale. The design is full of cool little touches; the remains of previous victims, the string that Theseus used to find his way back out of the maze, damage to the walls. The insert this time is made of brass and is the ball on the Minotaurs mace and chain. Integrated effectively into the art, it adds a depth to the coin, far more interesting than the usual mineral window.

The obverse depicts the entrance to the labyrinth, guarded by a Greek-style warrior. The required effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (the coin is issued for Niue) is present as a coin within a coin. Just the inscription ‘ANCIENT MYTHS’ sits outside of it. A small, classic reproduction of Theseus slaying the Minotaur is at the top of this face. Only the coin name ‘MINOTAUR’ sits on the main reverse face. The edge of the coin will carry a serial number that will also be printed on the enclosed Certificate of Authenticity.

Available to order shortly, the coin comes in a nice wooden box and will again be limited to just 500 pieces. It looks like this will be another of those series to watch from the Mint of Poland whose track record of late has been quite exemplary. Dealers that sold the Trojan Horse coin will no doubt have this one, including several of our sponsors, as will Magikos Coins who are responsible for this series.


Minos was one of the three sons from the union of Europa and Zeus; when Zeus took the form of a bull. Europa’s husband was the King of Crete, Asterion, who looked over the boys as if they were his own. When Aseterion died, it was unclear which of the three sons should ascend to power. Minos claimed that he had the support and authority from the gods to rule and to prove it, while sacrificing to Poseidon, he prayed that a bull would appear from the depths of the sea. Minos vowed to heaven that he would sacrifice the bull to Poseidon once it appeared and a magnificent bull did appear. Minos became king and banished his two brothers.

King Minos did not fulfill his vow to Poseidon; he kept the majestic bull for himself and sacrificed a different one to the god. Angered by the disrespect, Poseidon punished Minos by instilling a passion within the king’s wife, Pasiphae, for the bull. Queen Pasiphae, plagued by her divinely inflicted desires, sought the help of Daedalus and Icarus. For Pasiphae, Daedalus constructed a wooden cow coated with a real cow hide and placed it upon wheels. Daedalus, then, put Queen Pasiphae inside the structure and wheeled her into the meadow that her beloved bull grazed in. It was there that she met and laid with the bull, since the bull thought the wooden cow was real. It is from this union that the Minotaur was born. The queen named the beast Asterion and he became ferocious and monstrous. Asterion was unable to find a suitable source of food and so he started to eat people. In order to hide his wife’s disgraceful affair and on the advise of an Oracle, King Minos commanded Daedalus and Icarus to build a grand Labyrinth to house his wife’s son.

While the construction of the Labyrinth was underway, King Minos discovered that his only human son, Androgeos had been killed and he blamed the Athenians. He sailed against the Athenians and harassed them until they agreed to pay a tribute to Crete of seven maidens and seven youths every nine years. Theseus, son of the Athenian King Aegeus, was said to have volunteered for the third tribute of youths and boasted to his father and to all of Athens that he would slay the Minotaur. He promised that on the journey home he would raise his white sails if he was victorious or have the crew fly black sails if he failed and was killed. Upon reaching Crete, the daughters of King Minos: Ariadne and Phaedra fell deeply in love with him. Unable to cope with Theseus being eaten by her half-brother the Minotaur, Ariadne went to Daedalus for help.

Following Daedalus’ instructions, she handed Theseus a ball of string to help him find his way out of the Labyrinth. Upon entering the Labyrinth, Theseus tied one end of the string to the door and continued into the maze. He found the Minotaur in the furthest corner of the Labyrinth and killed him with jabs of his fist. After, Theseus simply follows the thread back through the maze to find his way to the doors. He finds and leads the other Athenians out of the maze and quickly sails off to Athens with Ariadne and Phaedra. On the journey home, Theseus abandons Ariadne on the island of Naxos and continues to sail to Athens with his intended wife, Phaedra. Theseus is overjoyed to be almost home but forgets to change the color of his sails from black to white. His father, King Aegeus, seeing the black sails from afar is overcome with grief and kills himself by jumping off a cliff into the sea. It is this act which secures Theseus’ place as the new Athenian king and explains the origin name of the Aegean Sea.


MINTS DESCRIPTION: The Minotaur, a mythical creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man, was the son of Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos of Crete. The terrifying humanoid monster was jailed in the Labyrinth, a maze inside the magnificent palace of King Minos. The Labyrinth was so complicated that no one could ever find the way out alive. Every year, seven Athenian youths and seven maidens were sent to Knossos to be devoured by the Minotaur.

The third year, Theseus, the son of Aegeus, decided to be one of the seven young men that would go to Crete in order to kill the monster and put an end to this barbarous human sacrifice. But he would never be able to exit the Labyrinth without the help of Ariadne, a beautiful princess who fell in love with Theseus, and helped him accomplish his dangerous mission.


COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIAMETER 50.00 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Inset brass mace
BOX / COA Yes / Yes