Last month the New Zealand Mint launched their new Warriors of History silver coin series with the Samurai coin. This month the series continues with the second installment, which is dedicated to the Vikings.
The Warriors of History series seeks to explore some of the most fabled and legendary warrior throughout history. People who's bravery and ferocity in battle have inspired their legends to live on long since their cultures have died out.
Even if you know precious little about the real life vikings of history, you are sure to recognize the name. You would have heard stories or seen a few movies inspired by their adventures. In truth the Vikings were a seafaring people from Scandinavia who lived in the late 8th-11th century. They were feared and respected in equal measure as both warriors, traders and global explorers. It was the Vikings that first discovered the Americas long before Columbus. They traded their goods as far as Baghdad.
These fierce pillaging Norsemen were master ship builders, and in their silently approaching longships would cause terror across northern Europe and modern day Britain with their raids of coastal towns and isolated monasteries. It is said that Viking warriors had no fear of death, as they believed that only a violent death could grant them entry to Odin's Hall in the afterlife. They fought with weapons such as the spear, sword and battle-axe.
The reverse of the coin maintains the same basic design as the Samurai coin, and this will obviously form the basis of the series moving forward. In the foreground, and to the right, is a single Viking warrior, wielding a battle axe and dressed in full battle gear. He stands on a beach, you can almost imagine him shouting his war cry, with the wind billowing through his long beard and braided hair. In the background are two longships, the first having just beached and the Viking raiding party jumping onto the beach wielding their weapons and shields.
The only wording on the reverse is the stylized word “VIKINGS” that appear to the top, just above the sail of the first longship. This in addition to “1oz 999 FINE SILVER” which is discreetly embedded into the sands under the warrior's feet.The Viking is colour treated with deep green, burnt orange and wine reds. Although the colours are muted on their own, when they are all used together they unite to give a bright almost cartoonish look. The rest of the coin is given an antique finish that works much better with the subject matter.
The obverse is nothing special, apart from the antique finish, and is the standard Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The legend appears in a clockwise direction along the rim and reads : “ELIZABETH II”, “NIUE”, “TWO DOLLARS” and “2016”. Simply indication the country of issue, denomination and date of issue.
The coin is packaged in the New Zealand Mint's trademark booklet display casing. The outside of the box is a light avocado green with a viking style pattern stamped onto it. The inside contains an image of a Viking longship on a stormy sea.
The 1oz silver coin is struck from .999 Fineness silver and measures 40mm(1.5748 Inches) in diameter. Only 5000 of these coins will be minted and the coin can be ordered directly from the New Zealand Mint for US$85.00 each.
I am quite a fan of the Samurai coin, as I noted in my review, but the Viking coin's cartoonish use of colour misses the mark for me. Perhaps it is just a personal preference but the Viking coin, while still maintaining the overall series aesthetic, somehow misses the mark for me personally. The background image works fine but the colourised portion I feel could have been handled better. Still an interesting series though and I am eagerly awaiting the next coin.
If you would like to view the entire Warriors of history series of coins, you can do so in the WNN Gallery section HERE