Greek mythology is almost as popular as Vikings are in numismatics these days. The New Zealand Mint has an entire series dedicated to the theme and Art Mint have this year released a stunningly well designed coin to launch their own series to name a few. The newest edition to this sub-category however is the British Pobjoy Mint, who have now issued on behalf of the British Virgin Islands the 2017 Pegasus reverse proof silver coin.
Following on the remarkable success that the Pobjoy Mint has enjoyed with the Isle of Man reverse proof angel coins, and considering the fact that Pobjoy will no longer be the official Isle of Man mint come 2017, it is perhaps understandable that they would want a product to replace the angel series with. And so it would appear that the British Virgin Islands Pegasus coin might just be that coin. After all the design aesthetics of both coins are remarkably similar. Both feature a reverse proof finish portraying a classic image from mythology on a 1oz silver round.
According to legend, Perseus was sent to kill the monstrous Medusa famed for having writhing snakes instead of hair. With the ability to turn anyone unfortunate enough to gaze on her face instantly to stone. The God Hermes and the Goddess Athena came to the aid of Perseus and presented him with special gifts, including a shield which Perseus used as a mirror so he did not have to look directly at Medusa when he confronted the most famed of the three Gorgons. After Perseus beheaded Medusa it is said that the great winged horse Pegasus was born from the blood of the fallen monster.
There were many that wanted to capture Pegasus but none could tame such a magnificent creature. After sleeping in the temple of Athena, Bellerophon had a vision of the goddess holding a golden bridle. When he awoke the bridle alone remained before him. He ran from the temple and found Pegasus drinking at a spring. Bellerophon then approached Pegasus and put the charmed bridle on the winged horse’s head with very little difficulty and, with the bridle in place, Pegasus became gentle and tame and Bellerophon became his master.
The reverse of the coin features the reverse proof image of Pegasus being rained in by the goddess Athena on a frosted background. The Pobjoy Mint's mintmark appears just below Pegasus' hind legs. The denomination and metal purity are inscribed to the bottom of the coin : “Ag .999. 1 OUNCE” and “ONE DOLLAR”.
The design itself is taken from a series of airmail stamps issued by Greece in 1935. The set features wonderfully illustrated images of Greek Mythology like Helios, Icarus, Hermes and here the 7 Drachma stamp is nicely adapted to feature on this one ounce silver coin.
The obverse features a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth exclusive to the Pobjoy mint, approved by Buckingham Palace. The effigy is set against a frosted background, with the legend encircling it along the rim. In a clock wise direction, the obverse legend reads : “BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS”, “QUEEN ELIZABETH II” and “2017”.
The piece has a maximum mintage of 50 000 coins and is available directly from the Pobjoy mint for £18.73(US$23.68 at the time of writing) upon release. The coin is struck from pure 999 silver to make a 1oz(31.103 gram) silver crown measuring 38.6mm(1.5196 Inch).
If this is indeed meant as a possible replacement for the Angel coin then I for one say that the Pobjoy Mint did a good job. The Pegasus coin is classical and stylish in look, although there is some room for improvement still. As a silver bullion coin I think they will find success in this one and we at WNN look forward to see what else the Pobjoy Mint might have up their proverbial sleeve for the next year or two.