Amongst the new coins revealed by the Art Mint at this year's Berlin World Money Fair, is the brand new series entitled the Celestial Bodies collection.
Ever since pre-historic times the sun, moon and stars have fascinated people from every conceivable corner of the world. Some of the first recorded instances of Sun worship stems from around 12 000 BCE in the Mesopotamian Religion as described in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
And the sun and moon were personified by different deities in Greek, Roman, Egyptian and eastern religions to mention but a few. From philosophy, religion, astrology and astronomy – the sun and moon have been debated and studied for millennia.
Our very concept of time is governed by the sun and moon to this day. The Gregorian calendar system is based on the Earth's orbit around the sun, and the resulting seasonal shifts.
In art too the sun and moon have been depicted in countless fashions. From the 1493 Nuremburg Chronicle to Georges Melies' 1903 classic A Trip To The Moon.
In their new Celestial Bodies series, the Art Mint, seeks to further explore the most recognisable natural celestial bodies in the solar system. Starting with a three coin series depicting the sun and moon. The designs seem to be, at least in part, inspired by illustrations from Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle, first published in 1493.
The reverse design of the first coin depicts a large radiant sun, with a smiling face at it's centre. The surface and fields of the coin is left with an antique finish, while the image of the sun itself is treated with a selective gold cladding.
The obverse design is shared across all three coins and is again individually treated with an antique finish. At the centre we see a highly detailed rendition of Ian Rank-Broadley's effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the coin's legend which reads : “ELIZABETH II”, “NIUE”, “FIVE DOLLARS”, “2017” and “Ag 999”.
The Queen's portrait is contained in a decorative circular frame, somewhat resembling the border of a clock face. There are three overlapping squares surrounding that frame, forming a sort of twelve pointed star at the edge. Between these are the twelve symbols for the zodiac. This part of the design is rounded off by another decorative border with eight sections each containing eight 'notches', inter spaced with eight astrological symbols representing the eight planets in the solar system. The final element of the obverse design is the stylised depictions of the sun and moon, placed at the two and seven o'clock positions respectively.
As the first coin represents the sun then the second coin here represents the moon. A crescent moon shaped face is superimposed atop of a more realistic sculpted image of the moon's cratered surface. Surrounding this are numerous stars, some forming constellations.
The final coin in the series combines the first two into a single conjoined design. The right side of the coin represents night with a crescent shaped moon and night's sky behind it. In contrast the left side depicts the sun with six planets in it's orbit to the background. Again the coin is treated to an antique finish with the exception of the sun which is selectively gold plated.
All three of these coins are struck from 2oz of pure .999 Fineness silver, measuring 50mm(1.9685 inch) in diameter. Produced under the authority of the island nation of Niue, the coins have an official face value of five Dollars. The coins will be shipped in a custom presentation box. With a total mintage of 500 coins per design, each coin has it's own unique mintage number stamped into the edge of the coin.
The coins are expected to be available to collectors by late April or early May 2017, at which time they should retail for around €320.00(US$340) each.