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Niue Island SECRETS of PENA $2 Silver Coin Crystal Art Series 2014 High Relief Antique Finish 2 oz

The Niue Island Secrets of Pena 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin is the third issue in the Crystal Art coin series by the Poland Mint. The first two coins in the series are the Niue Island Secrets of Lichtenstein 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin (2012) and the Niue Island Mysteries of Wawel 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin (2013).

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Mintage of the Niue Island Secrets of Pena 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin is limited to 688 coins, which makes it extremely limited and highly sought after, especially considering that the mintage for the first two coins in the series was respectively, 999 coins per issue. This is not even to mention the success of the first two coins in the series this far, especially the first coin that was issued in the series, namely the Secrets of Lichtenstein coin that was issued in 2012.

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The Niue Island Secrets of Pena 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin has a real Green Agate crystal inlay and depicts the Pena National Palace in Portugal, which is located in São Pedro de Penaferrim on top of a hill above the town of Sintra.

The Pena National Palace

The Pena National Palace – Source of Image: Wikipedia

The palace, a national monument and declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, is known in Portuguese as the Palácio Nacional da Pena and is seen as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It was declared a national monument after the 5 October 1910 revolution in Portugal, when more or less 2,000 soldiers and sailors of the Portuguese Republican Party, carried out a coup d’état in which they did away with the constitutional monarchy and formed a republican regime in Portugal.

5 October 1910 revolution

5 October 1910 Revolution – Source of Image: Wikipedia

Queen Amelie

Queen Amélia – Source of Image: Wikipedia

It should therefore not come as much of a surprise that Queen Amélia, the last queen of Portugal, spent her last night at the Pena National Palace before she fled to France. She visited Portugal for the last time in 1945 and died on 25 October 1951 in Le Chesnay, France, at the age of 86.

The Pena National Palace has a remarkable history…

The history of the Pena National Palace started during the Middle Ages (or Medieval period) when a chapel was built on top of the hill above Sintra. The chapel was built in honor of Our Lady of Pena and construction, as per tradition, only started after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

The Chapel

The Chapel – Source of Image: Wikipedia

The chapel was visited by several monarchs, including King John II and his wife Queen Leonor in 1493, as well as King Manuel I. The last king mentioned was so impressed by it that he ordered the construction of a monastery which housed no more than 18 monks. It is the very same monastery that was severely damaged by lightning in the 18th century and later reduced to ruins by the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, when Lisbon and the surrounding areas were almost completely destroyed. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 100,000 people lost their lives, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history.

The ruins were left untouched for many years until King Consort, Ferdinand II, bought the old monastery, the surrounding  lands, a few other estates in the area and the nearby Castle of Moors in 1838. He gave instructions to Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege, a Lieutenant-General, mining engineer and German amateur architect, to transform what was left of the monastery into a Romantic style palace that could be used by the Portuguese royal family as a summer residence.

The Pena National Palace 1.jpg

The depiction of a newt, symbolizing the allegory of creation of the world – Source of Image: Wikipedia

Construction started in 1842 and ended in 1854. The palace would have been completed in 1847, but King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II were very decisive on matters of symbolism and decoration. E.g. the King’s suggestions, or rather instructions, included the addition of vault arches and both Medieval and Islamic elements. The King even went so far as to design an ornate window for the main façade, which was inspired by chapter house window of the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar. However, it is certainly nothing out of the ordinary when one learns that Ferdinand II was not only a highly intelligent, but also an artistically-minded individual with modern and liberal ideas.

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The Arches Yard, chapel and clock tower – Source of Image:  Wikipedia

The Pena National Palace became the possession of King Ferdinand’s second wife, Countess of Edla, Elisa Hensler, when the King passed away at age 69 on 15 December 1885 in Lisbon, Portugal. Interesting enough the King was born on 29 October 1816 in Vienna, Austria, as a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He was proclaimed King Dom Fernando II after the birth of his son, Dom Pedro V of Portugal, on 16 September 1837, but his reign as King ended after the death of his wife, Queen Maria II, to whom the ruling power belonged according to Portuguese Law. He received an offer to assume the throne of Spain in 1869, an offer which he rejected.

The Pena National Palace 3

The palace seen from above – Source of Image: Wikipedia

Queen Maria II died on 15 November 1853 at age 34 when Princess Anna, her 11th child was born. Both mom and child died. The Queen was warned several times prior to this incident about the risks associated by giving birth frequently, the very same risks that resulted in the death of her mother, who died as a result of complications following a miscarriage after many births. However, she largely ignored the warnings of her doctors and allegedly said: “If I die, I die at my post.” It is no wonder that she was later given the surname “The Good Mother”, because she took motherhood very seriously.

The Noble Room

The Noble Room – Source of Image: Wikipedia

Shortly after Elisa Hensler inherited the Pena National Palace she sold it to King Luis, the second son of Queen Maria II and King Ferdinand II. The palace was frequently used by his family until 1889, during his reign as King of Portugal and the Algarves (1861-1889).

Queen's Fern Garden

Queen’s Fern Garden – Source of Image: Wikipedia

The palace was bought by the Portuguese State in 1889 and its original colors were restored by the end of the 20th century when it was repainted. It is said to be one of the most notable expressions in the world of Romanticism, which was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement during the late 18th to early 19th century. It was the very movement which made its protests known largely through music, literature and visual arts. It was a revolt “against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature” (Wikipedia).

More about the coin

The Niue Island Secrets of Pena 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin is exquisite to say the least, even more so than its predecessors, namely the Secrets of Lichtenstein and the Mysteries of Wawel coins mentioned above.

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One of the reasons for this is the new innovative minting technology ArtCam that the Mint of Poland has used in the production of this coin, giving it a high sharpening relief similar to Tiffany Art coins, and much higher than the coins that were previously issued in the Crystal Art series.

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ArtCam is the same minting technology that was used to produce the Tiffany, Minerał Art, Volcano and Mesopotamia coins. Only the height of the relief is much higher than in the Tiffany & Mineral Art relief is 0,5-0,6mm. This while  Crystal Art Pena and Mesopotamia has 0,9- 1,00mm high relief. In addition to this, the deeply struck Niue Island Secrets of Pena 2 oz Crystal Art $2 silver coin has a bright antique finish to it (not brown), again making it similar to Tiffany Art. You can see this in the photos above and in the video below, which include footage and/or photos of the actual coin in hand. The real Green Agate crystal inlay mentioned above, also gives a much better visual effect than other colors.

On the other hand, the first two coins in the series were produced with minting technology used with gypsum to the stamp, which was manually carved by the sculptor (old technique), based on a sand blaster in high pressure to create the high relief. This left the Secrets of Lichtenstein coin with dents and both coins with not enough sharpening on the relief, especially the Mysteries of Wawel coin. This affected the uptake of the Mysteries of Wawel coin negatively, although it is still an extremely beautiful coin as can be seen in the video below.

However, the first coin, the Secrets of Lichtenstein coin, is still doing extremely well. It is currently selling at eBay auctions at $320 per coin and upwards (including shipping). It seems that collectors like the full design of the palace on the coin.

The uptake of the Mysteries of Wawel coin was also negatively affected by the fact that it was sold through too many distributors, while it is not the case with the Secrets of Pena coin. This time around there will only be 4-5 distributors worldwide, including First Coin Company, which have the exclusive rights to distribute the coin here in the States.

In addition, the reduced mintage of 999 to 688 also helps to set the Secrets of Pena coin further apart from its predecessors.

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Why should you be interested in this coin?

  • 3rd coin of the “Crystal Art” series.
  • Reduced mintage – worldwide mintage maximum 688 coins.
  • High sharpening relief – much higher than in the coins previously issued (Wawel and Lichtenstein).
  • New innovative minting technology used (ArtCam).
  • Spectacular bright real Green Agate crystal.
  • Exclusive by The Mint of Poland.
  • Elegant gift box with image of the Pena National Palace.
  • Series runs from 2012 (one coin per year).
  • Certificate of Authenticity.
  • Precious metals content (2oz of silver) .

Specs

Secrets of Pena Specs

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Be sure to get more information here.