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First Coin Gargoyles and Grotesques Series: 2017 Decay Washington Cathedral High Relief Silver Coin

The first coin in the brand-new Gargoyles and Grotesques series, the 2017 1 oz. DECAY Gargoyles and Grotesques 1000 Francs silver coin, features the “Decay” gargoyle – one of the scariest gargoyles installed at the Washington National Cathedral. Learn more about this exciting new coin series, gargoyles, grotesques and how to add these low mintage coins to your collection today.

Chad Decay Gargoyles & Grotesques 1000 Fr Silver Coin 2017 Proof 1 oz. – Reverse

2017 Decay Washington Cathedral High Relief Proof Silver Coin – Obverse

What are Gargoyles and Grotesques? I have never heard of it.

Have you ever seen those “ugly” mystical creatures attached to the exterior of certain buildings (see below)? Those are called gargoyles – a term that is standalone enough to scare the living daylights out of most people!

Gargoyle – Look at those eyes and teeth!

Source of Image: Richard Rabel Interiors + Art

Believe it or not, but these animal-shaped, decorative waterspouts, dating as far back as 13,000 years, serve more than one purpose. The primary purpose is to direct rainwater away from buildings in order to minimize damage to stone walls.  Beyond this purpose, these waterspouts are decorative in nature. It also served during Medieval times as a means to encourage the illiterate masses to seek the sanctuary of the church. Gargoyles were representative of the horrors of hell!

Gargoyle – Lunch was bad!

Source of Image: Richard Rabel Interiors + Art

Another practice was to create gargoyles that look similar than the creatures worshiped by pagans. All done in a bit to attract pagans to the church. It worked like a charm!

Grotesque – Check that tongue!

Source of Image: Pinterest

When not used as waterspouts or drain-spouts, these grotesque forms should be referred to as chimeras or grotesques. Gothic buildings are all covered by a multitude of grotesques, weird and distorted forms that come over as “strange, fantastic, ugly, incongruous, unpleasant, or disgusting” (Wikipedia).

Proof and Antique Finish – Obverse and Reverse

The 2017 Decay Washington Cathedral high relief silver coin is available in two finishes, namely struck in proof and antique finish. Both of these low mintage coins share the same obverse and reverse. In addition, both are available for pre-order at First Coin Company (FCC).

Obverse – Chad Decay Gargoyles & Grotesques 1000 Fr Silver Coin 2017 Antique Finish 1 oz.

The obverse features the coat of arms of the Republic of Chad along with the following inscriptions: “REPUBLIQUE DU TCHAD” (Translated: Republic of Chad), “.999 FINE SILVER,” “1000 FRANCS CFA” (face value), “1 TROY OZ” and the year of issue “2017.” The Republic of Chad is a country located in Central Africa. The symbol of the Gargoyles and Grotesques series also appear on the obverse (see the symbol encircled in red below).

2017 1 oz. DECAY Gargoyles and Grotesques 1000 Francs Antique Finish Silver Coin – Obverse

Reverse – Decay Gargoyles and Grotesques Proof 1 Oz. Silver Coin 1000 Francs Chad 2017

The reverse features a detailed rendition of the “Decay” gargoyle as viewed from the front. A snake is featured slithering through one of its eyeballs. A part of the Washington National Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Decay Gargoyles and Grotesques Antique Finish 1 oz. Silver Coin 1000 Francs Chad 2017 – Reverse

Inscriptions on the reverse include: “Gargoyles & Grotesques,” namely the name of the new series that will focus on gargoyles, grotesques and the buildings they are attached to from around the world.

Washington National Cathedral – Decay and Darth Vader

The Washington National Cathedral, a National House of Prayer and the 6th largest cathedral in the world, is located in Washington, D.C.

Washington National Cathedral

Source of Image: Washington.org

This 301 ft (91.7 m) high building took 83 years from 1907 to 1990 to upgrade to its current form in various phases. It boasts a Neo-Gothic design, closely modeled on the English Gothic style of the late 14th Century. The design includes many gargoyles and grotesques on the exterior of the building – no less than a 112 in total!

“Decay” Gargoyle – Washington National Cathedral

Source of Image: Pinterest

The design of the building includes the “Decay” gargoyle installed in the 1960s – probably the scariest of the ones installed there. The very same one that is featured on the reverse of the 2017 1 oz. Silver Gargoyles & Grotesques Antique Finish coin, 1000 Francs – the first coin in this exciting new series!

A Darth Vader grotesque forms part of the Northwest tower of the cathedral – the “Dark Side.” It is the end product of a design competition held by the Washington National Cathedral in the 1980s. The 31-year-old Darth Vader grotesque (pictured below), installed in 1986, doesn’t seem able to spout rainwater, but it certainly has the Darth Vader look!

Darth Vader Grotesque – Washington National Cathedral

Source of Image: Wikipedia

Will the Darth Vader grotesque appear on a future release in the Gargoyles and Grotesques Series?

It is anyone’s guess, but we might be in for a pleasant surprise. In fact, see the photo below, is it not Darth Vader that is featured to the right of Decay? I will be damned if it is!

Can you spot Darth Vader in the image above?

Why should I add the 2017 Decay Washington Cathedral – Gargoyles & Grotesques – High Relief Silver Coin to my collection?

Here are reasons why you should place an order today:

First Coin in New Series: This is the first issue in a brand-new coin series called the Gargoyles and Grotesques series. No guarantees can be given, but such coins tend to do extremely well in the marketplace, especially low mintage coins like these.

Free International Shipping: Enjoy free shipping. Pre-order yours at First Coin Company. Where applicable, FCC will also refund any tax or VAT incurred (as per their Terms & Conditions).

Proof and Antique Finish: The coin is available in both a proof and antique finish – applied by hand.

Low Mintage Coins: The one with the antique finish will see a total mintage of only 799 coins. On the other hand, the proof coin will see an unbeatable tiny mintage of only 200 coins!

Goth Themed: The “Decay” gargoyle and the Washington National Cathedral theme are as Goth-like as it gets.

High Relief Coins: Both versions of these high relief coins come struck in ultra high relief. This make the details “pop out” nicely, especially with the coins in hand.

Legal Tender: Each coin is legal tender for a 1000 Francs (CFA) in the Republic of Chad.

Silver Content: Each coin comes packed with 1 oz. of .999 fine silver. The purity and weight of the silver are guaranteed by government.

Individually Numbered Coin with CoA: Each coin comes individually numbered on the edge with a corresponding certificate of authenticity (CoA). This adds to the uniqueness of each coin.

Box with Logo: Each coin comes seated in a black box with a symbol of the series on the exterior.

2017 1 oz. DECAY Gargoyles and Grotesques 1000 Francs Silver Coin – Box with Logo + CoA

Great Gift: This makes a great gift or addition to any collection.

The Darth Vader Connection: Is it Darth Vader to the right of Decay? You decide.

Add spice to your collection. Impress your friends. Be among the first to own this coin. Pre-order yours at First Coin Company today.

2016 Guy Fawkes Mask Coin – Free Anonymous Mask

The latest commemorative coin in one of the projects managed by Power Coin features a Guy Fawkes mask in high relief with a special black proof finish and 3D porcelain effect – all made possible by smartminting technology.

Pre-order yours from First Coin Company (FCC) in order to receive a free Anonymous face mask – a deal exclusively available at FCC.

2016 Guy Fawkes Anonymous Silver Coin - Reverse

2016 Guy Fawkes Anonymous Silver Coin – Reverse

First Legal Tender Guy Fawkes Mask Coin – 2016 Guy Fawkes Silver Coin

The 2016 Cook Islands 1 oz. Silver Black Proof Finish $5 3D Mask Porcelain effect – Anonymous Mask Coin is the first legal tender coin in the world to feature the Guy Fawkes mask – a symbol used by various anti-establishment protest groups, including the well-known hacktivist group, Anonymous.

This is a remarkable feat, especially considering that most – if not all – governments tend to shy away from symbols of protest – and understandably so. Now of course this is not a coin intended for circulation or to be used in commerce, but a low mintage coin made for the collector’s market. Nonetheless a remarkable feat and grand tribute to the Guy Fawkes mask and the idea of anonymous resistance.

Reverse: 2016 $5 Guy Fawkes Anonymous Mask High Relief Silver Coin

The reverse of this commemorative coin bears a special black proof finish and a Guy Fawkes mask in high relief with a 3D porcelain effect.

Guy Fawkes Mask Anonymous V for Vendetta 1 oz. Black Proof Silver Coin 5$ Cook Islands 2016 - Reverse

Guy Fawkes Mask Anonymous V for Vendetta 1 oz. Black Proof Silver Coin 5$ Cook Islands 2016 – High Relief

This is made possible by the revolutionary smartminting technology – a giant leap forward in the field of modern numismatics. A minting technology that continues to expand the boundaries in terms of what is possible when it comes to producing works of art, especially as far as commemorative coins are of a concern.

This side of the 2016 Guy Fawkes Anonymous Silver coin also bears the signature of famous rabble-rouser, Guy Fawkes – synonymous with the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but perhaps more importantly, synonymous with an appetite for resistance.

Obverse: 2016 High Relief .999 1 oz. Silver Guy Fawkes Mask Coin

The obverse of the coin bears a special black proof finish with a side portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – the ruling monarch of the Cook Islands.

5 Dollars Special Black Proof Finish 2016 Porcelain Effect High Relief 1 oz. Silver Coin - Obverse

5 Dollars Special Black Proof Finish 2016 Porcelain Effect High Relief 1 oz. Silver Coin – Obverse

Inscriptions on this side of the coin include: The “IRB” initials of British sculptor, Ian Rank-Broadley, a face value of “5 Dollars,” the country of issue “COOK ISLANDS,” the name and rank of the ruling monarch “ELIZABETH II” and the year of issue “2016.”

Origins of the Guy Fawkes Mask

The Guy Fawkes mask is a stylized rendition of Guy Fawkes, the most famous member of the Gunpowder Plot – also known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason. Fawkes and his fellow conspirators planned to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Lords on 5 November 1605 during the State Opening of England’s Parliament. It was an attempt to restore a Catholic head of state.

Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave

“Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave” By George Cruikshank

Unfortunate for them, their attempt failed after details of the plot was revealed in an anonymous letter that was sent to 4th Baron Monteagle, William Parker. Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder – and ultimately he and 8 others – were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

hanged, drawn and quartered

Hanged, Drawn and Quartered

Source of Image: Wikimedia

This was a process of excruciating pain and suffering, the fate of all men convicted of high treason in England from 1351. Interestingly, women convicted of high treason – for reasons of public decency – were burned at the stake.

V for Vendetta

The 2006 American film, V for Vendetta, placed the Guy Fawkes mask solidly on the map. It is worn in the film by a lone anarchist who aims to end the rule of a fictional fascist party by following the example set by Guy Fawkes.

Since then, this mask – with pointy beard and moustache – was first used in 2008 by hacktivist group, Anonymous.

V for Vendetta comic strip

V for Vendetta – Cover

Source of Image: dc.wikia.com

Interestingly, the original image of the mask was created by British graphic novel artist, David Lloyd. He created it to be used in a comic strip – V for Vendetta – written by Alan Moore.

Presentation and Packaging: 2016 Guy Fawkes Anonymous High Relief 5 Dollars Silver Coin

Each of these Cook Islands coins will ship in a luxury wooden lacquered box.

Why Purchase or Pre-Order the Guy Fawkes Mask – Anonymous – V for Vendetta – 1 oz. Silver Coin 2016 Cook Islands?

Guy Fawkes Mask: First legal tender coin to feature Guy Fawkes mask.

Commemorative Issue: This commemorative coin pays tribute to the Guy Fawkes mask. This mask is used worldwide in anti-establishment circles as a symbol of protest.

Free Anonymous Face Mask: Pre-order yours from First Coin Company (FCC) and they will include a free Anonymous face mask – this deal is exclusively available at FCC.

Free Anonymous Face Mask

Free Anonymous Face Mask

Guy Fawkes Signature: This 2016 commemorative coin comes with a signature of Guy Fawkes as can be seen on the reverse of each coin.

High Relief + 3D Porcelain Effect: The reverse includes a mask of Guy Fawkes in high relief with a 3D porcelain effect. This leaves an impressive contrast between the surfaces of this collector issue coin.

Low Mintage: This 2016 Cook Islands coin will see a maximum mintage and worldwide distribution of only 999 coins. 

Special Black Finish: This silver coin comes with a special black finish.

Smartminting Technology: Smartminting technology was deployed to make the special black finish, high relief and 3D porcelain effect possible.

Silver Content: This 2016 Guy Fawkes Silver Coin contains 1 oz. of .999 fine silver. It provides a protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coin.

Wooden Box: This Cook Islands coin ships in a luxury wooden lacquered box.

Retail Price Protection: Retail price protected by reputable world coin distributors.

Perfect Gift: This coin makes the perfect gift for the rebellious among us, especially those who form part of anti-establishment protest groups. It also makes a great gift for history buffs and coin collectors in general.

Availability of the 2016 Cook Islands 5 Dollars 1 oz. High Relief 3D Mask Porcelain Effect Coin

Pre-order yours from US-based, First Coin Company (FCC), and enjoy free US and worldwide shipping. FCC will also – where applicable – refund any tax or VAT charged (as per their Terms & Conditions). 

Why buy from FCC? In addition to the above, they have a rather unique product offering that include, but are not limited to: $10,000 ID theft protection, a $1,000 purchase guarantee and a $100 lower price guarantee (restrictions apply).

The first of these 2016 Guy Fawkes coins are expected to ship in October this year (2016), but pre-orders may be placed now. Avoid regret by securing yours now!

Guy Fawkes Mask - Anonymous - V for Vendetta – 1 oz. Silver Coin 2016 Cook Islands

Specs: Guy Fawkes Mask Anonymous V for Vendetta 1 oz. Black Proof Silver Coin 5$ Cook Islands 2016

Weight and Metal: 31.10 g of .999 pure silver

Strike: High relief

Finish: Special Black Finish

Diameter: 38.61 mm

Edge: Reeded

Denomination: $5 (NZD)

Country of Issue: Cook Islands

Year of Issue: 2016

Coin Mintage: 999

Fineness (% purity): 99.9%

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. Silver Coin

This year – 2016 – marks the 175th anniversary of the fall of meteorite Château-Renard in Loiret near Montargis in France on June 12th, 1841.

The Republic of Burkina Faso has authorized the issue of a commemorative coin with a face value of 1000 Francs CFA to commemorate this event. I cover this low mintage silver coin and more in this article.

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. silver coin - Reverse

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. silver coin – Reverse

2016 Château-Renard Antique Finish 1000 Francs CFA Burkina Faso Silver Coin

This .999 fine 1 oz. 2016 silver commemorative coin – with a diameter of 38.6 mm and weight of 31.10 g – comes with photo-realistic coloring, a hand-applied premium antique finish and a real piece of the Château-Renard meteorite.

This leaves a well-designed coin with beautiful contrasts in color of which no more than 750 will be minted and distributed worldwide.

Obverse: 2016 Château-Renard Meteorite Antique Silver Coin

The obverse of the coin is completely covered in an antique finish. It includes the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Burkina Faso – a landlocked country in West Africa.

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. silver coin - Obverse

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. Silver Coin – Obverse

Beyond the inscriptions on the Coat of Arms itself, inscriptions on this side of the coin include: “REPUBLIQUE DU BURKINA FASO” (at the top) and “1000 FRANCS CFA” (at the bottom).

Reverse: Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. Silver Coin

The reverse of this commemorative coin is by far the more impressive of the two sides…

The combination of photo-realistic coloring, real piece of the Château-Renard meteorite and premium antique finish – leaves not only a captivating scene – but a rather impressive work of art!

France, Loiret, 45, Gatinais, Montargis (Venice of Gatinais), City center, Briare canal (River: Loing)

Town On Riverbank Montargis, Loir, France.

Source of Image: GettyImages.com

The Château-Renard is pictured in the sky as it is falling near Montargis – the second largest city in Loiret, France. This commune can be found on the river Loing in North-Central France.

Francis Picabia - Banks of the river Loing

Banks of The River Loing by Francis Picabia (1879-1953)

Source of Image: Cultured.com

This 142 km (88 mi) long river – described by some as smooth and wide – is known for scenes of breathtaking beauty as captured in numerous paintings and photographs. The river cannot be seen on the coin itself, but nonetheless something worth mentioning. 

Inscriptions on this side of the coin include: “CHÂTEAU-RENARD” (at the top) with “FRANCE 1841-2016” and “1 OZ AG .999” (at the bottom).

Château-Renard Meteorite

According to The Meteoritical Society, Château-Renard is the official name of the meteorite of 30 kg that fell in France on June 12th, 1841.

This meteorite – classified as a L6 – consists of at least two large fragments: One weighs 13.6 kg (30 pounds) and the other 2.72 kg (6 pounds). The L6 classification means that it is “an ordinary chondrite from the L group that is petrologic type 6″ (The Meteoritical Society).

Château-Renard 14.0 g

A piece of the Château-Renard (14.0 g) as can be seen in the collection of Peter Marmet.

Source of Image: Peter Marmet Collection

Interestingly, Château-Renard is depicted on the coin in flight during night time. However, according to the American Journal of Science and Arts (Volume 42), which published the meteorite’s fall, as was reported in the New York Observer on August 14th, 1841: “between one and two o’clock in the afternoon, the sky being without a cloud, an explosion was heard at Chateau Renard, in the department of Loiret, louder than several pieces of artillery firing together.”

Thus, while not historically correct, it makes for a more appealing coin to depict the meteorite’s fall during night time.

Why pre-order and/or buy the Château-Renard Meteorite – France – 2016 1 oz. Pure Silver 1000 Francs CFA coin – Burkina Faso?

Reasons to pre-order and/or buy this meteorite-themed coin include, but are not limited to:

175th Anniversary of Astronomical Event: This antique finish 2016 silver coin will be issued to commemorate an astronomical event that happened a 175 years ago – the fall of the Château-Renard meteorite.

Real Piece of the 175 year old Château-Renard Meteorite: Each of these coins will come with an inlay consisting of a real piece of the Château-Renard meteorite.

real meteorite

It is unclear what the size of the meteorite piece will be, but this will make the coin even more valuable. It is said that 1 gram of meteorite normally sells for up to $300 – and we thought that gold fetches top dollar!

Low Mintage: A maximum of only 750 of the 2016 Château-Renard Antique Finish 1000 Francs CFA Burkina Faso silver coins will be minted and distributed worldwide. This leaves a low mintage, highly collectible meteorite-themed coin.

Antique Finish and Photo-Realistic Coloring: Each coin will come with a premium antique finish applied by hand and photo-realistic coloring on the reverse. This creates a beautiful contrast in color, leaving a coin with exceptional eye appeal (see below).

Château-Renard Meteorite

Silver (Ag) Content: The .999 fine 1 oz. silver content creates a protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coin.

Legal Tender: The coin is legal tender for 1000 Francs CFA of the Republic of Burkina Faso – a landlocked country in West Africa. This for one means that its silver content is government guaranteed.

Lock in the Launch Price: Lock in the launch price by pre-ordering yours from First Coin Company now. Don’t delay – the price will go up as demand for the coin increases.

Separate CoAs: Separate Certificates of Authenticity (CoAs) are included for both the coin and meteorite inlay.

Luxurious Display Case: Each coin comes seated in a luxurious Château-Renard themed wood display case. See the image below.

Luxurious Display Case

All-in-One Gift: This coin makes a great gift and/or addition to any collection, especially to the collections of those who collect meteorite and coins. Here is an excellent opportunity to buy meteorite, a solid silver coin and a work of art – all in one go!

Specs: 2016 Burkina Faso 1000 Francs CFA Château-Renard 1 oz. Antique Silver Meteorite Coin

Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. silver coin

Buy Meteorite – Availability of Château-Renard Meteorite 1 oz. Silver Coin

This 2016 meteorite-themed coin is available on pre-order at First Coin Company – a dealer authorized to sell this coin.

Why buy from them? They have a rather unique product offering that include, but are not limited to: Free local and international shipping, a $10000 ID theft protection, a $1000 purchase guarantee, a $100 lower price guarantee and will even go as far as to refund any Customs charges that may apply (restrictions apply).

The first of these coins are expected to ship in September this year (2016). Pre-orders may be placed now. Avoid regret and higher prices by securing yours today.

Pre-Order: 2016 Burkina Faso 1000 Francs CFA 1 oz. Antique Silver Château-Renard Meteorite Coin

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Collectors who like the Château-Renard coin, might also be interested to learn more about the following coin…

2016 High Relief .999 1 oz. Silver Martian Meteorite Coin

Niue Solar System Coin Series: 2016 Martian Meteorite High Relief Silver Coins

Planet Mars a.k.a. the “Red Planet” – which has no liquid water on its surface – is an inhospitable, yet fascinating place. Here is an opportunity to own a piece of Mars in the form of limited edition, high relief, antique finish silver coins with rare, real Martian meteorite inlays. These coins are the second issue in the popular Niue Solar System Series.

2016 High Relief .999 1 oz. Silver Martian Meteorite Coin

2016 High Relief .999 1 oz. Silver Martian Meteorite Coin – Reverse

2016 $1 Niue Martian Meteorite High Relief Silver Coin

This 1 oz. .999 fine silver coin, authorized by the island country of Niue, boasts a meticulously, hand applied partial antique finish, colorized objects, mirrored fields (backgrounds) and a real piece of Martian meteorite in high relief.

Reverse: 2016 High Relief .999 1 oz. Silver Martian Meteorite Coin

The reverse features three meteorites in an antique finish. The meteorite in the foreground includes a real piece of Martian meteorite, Northwest Africa 6963 (see below for more information). In addition, the reverse of this 38.61 mm in diameter silver coin features a breathtaking, colorized rendition of Mars and what seems like Jupiter further away in the distance.

Inscriptions on this side of the coin include: “MARTIAN METEORITE NWA 6963”and “1 OZ AG 0.999.”

Obverse: 2016 Niue $1 Mars 1 oz. Antique Silver Martian Meteorite

A side portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, against a background that looks like the surface of a meteorite (if not Mars). This side is fully covered in an antique finish and feature the following inscriptions: “NIEU ISLAND 2016 ELIZABETH II” and “ONE DOLLAR.”  

Obverse 2016 Mars High Relief $1 Niue Silver Coin

Obverse – 2016 Mars High Relief $1 Niue Silver Coin

2016 $50 Niue Martian Meteorite High Relief Kilo Silver Coin

This high relief, antique finish 2016 Niue silver coin boasts a super high silver content – 1 kg of .999 fine silver (32,118596 troy ounces of silver)!

In addition to the above, although not 100% the same, it features many of the same design elements that can be seen on the 2016 Niue 1 oz. Silver Antique Finish $1 Martian Meteorite NWA 6963 (see above). Needless to say, the design elements really stand out on this large diameter (100 mm) kilo coin – leaving a coin of breathtaking beauty, a work of art!

Reverse: 2016 High Relief .999 Silver Martian Meteorite Kilo Coin

The same elements as on the Niue 1 oz. Martian Meteorite coin, except for a larger scale and the inscription “1 OZ AG 0.999” that is replace with “1 KG AG 0.999” on the kilo coin.

Obverse: 2016 Niue $50 Mars Kilo Antique Silver Martian Meteorite

A side portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, against a smooth background. Inscriptions on this Niue legal tender coin include: “ELIZABETH II,” “2015,” “50 DOLLARS” and “NIEU.” All elements on this side of the coin are covered in an antique finish.

Obverse 2016 $50 Niue Martian Meteorite High Relief Kilo Silver Coin

Obverse – 2016 $50 Niue Martian Meteorite High Relief Kilo Silver Coin

Presentation and Packaging: 2016 Niue Martian Meteorite Silver Coins

Both coins come in boxes with colorful packaging, CoAs and special certificates for the meteorites.

Presentation and Packaging 2016 Niue Martian Meteorite Silver Coins

Presentation and Packaging – 2016 Niue Martian Meteorite Silver Coins

What is a Meteorite?

All meteorites – solid pieces of debris from asteroids, comets or meteoroids – originate from outer space. Meteorites come in various shapes and sizes – the largest known meteorite that is still intact is the Hoba meteorite in Namibia. Interestingly enough, all meteorites are named after the places where they are found – it was no different in terms of Martian Meteorite NWA 6963, which was discovered in Northwest Africa (NWA) in 2011.

Martian Meteorite – Northwest Africa 6963 (NWA 6963)

This Martian meteorite was originally a rock that formed on planet Mars. The impact of an asteroid or comet dislodged it from Mars and it ended up on Earth in various pieces. The pieces discovered of Northwest Africa 6963 collectively weigh 8-10 kg. One piece is pictured below.

Northwest Africa 6963

Piece of Northwest Africa 6963

Source of Image: Encyclopedia of Meteorites

Why buy the 2016 Mars High Relief $1 Niue Silver Coin and the 2016 Mars High Relief $50 Niue Silver Kilo Coin?

Reasons to buy these space-themed coins include, but are not limited to:

Second Issue: Second issue in popular Solar System coin series. The first issue in the series is the Niue Island 2015 1$ Lunar Moon Meteorite The Rock NWA 5000 1 oz.

Low Mintage: A maximum of only 500 of the 2016 Mars High Relief $1 Niue silver coin will be minted. This while the mintage of the kilo coin will come in at a fraction of that number- no more than 99 of the 2016 Niue Kilo Silver Antique Finish $50 Martian Meteorite NWA 6963 will be minted and distributed worldwide.

Antique Finish, High Relief Coin & Colorized: Both of these impressive Niue coins come in high relief with antique and colorized finishes. The antique finish is applied by hand.

Silver (Ag) Content: Both the 1 oz. and kilo coin contain .999 fine silver – this creates a protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coins.

Rare Martian Meteorite: Each coin comes with a real piece of Martian meteorite, Northwest Africa 6963. Up to date, over 61,000 meteorites have been discovered on Earth – yet, only a 132 of that number were identified as Martian, which makes Martian meteorite super rare!

Legal Tender: Both coins are legal tender of the island country of Niue. The 1 oz. coin has a face value of 1 New Zealand Dollar and the kilo coin a face value of 50 New Zealand Dollars.

Save Money: Get a $650 discount on the kilo coin by using the code 7SKU at First Coin Company (FCC) – enter the code at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking EDIT. Best offers may also be sent to them. Pre-order yours here.

Separate CoAs: Separate Certificates of Authenticity (CoAs) are included for both the coins and meteorite inlays.

Spaced-themed Coins: Space-themed coins are becoming increasingly popular and it is no different here – these are expected to sell out fast!

Specs: 2016 Martian Meteorite 1 Oz. Silver Coin

specs 1 oz mars coin

Specs: 2016 Martian Meteorite 1 Kg Silver Coin

2016 mars kilo coin

Buy Meteorite – Availability of 2016 Martian Meteorite High Relief Silver Coins

These 2016 space-themed coins are available on pre-order at First Coin Company (FCC) – a dealer authorized to sell these coins.

Why buy from FCC? They have a rather unique product offering that include, but are not limited to: Free local and international shipping, a $10000 ID theft protection, a $1000 purchase guarantee, a $100 lower price guarantee and will even go as far as to refund any Customs charges that may apply (restrictions apply).

The first of these coins are expected to ship in June this year (2016). Pre-orders may be placed now. Avoid regret and higher prices by securing yours now:

Pre-Order: 2016 Niue $1 Mars 1 oz. Antique Silver Martian Meteorite

Pre-Order: 2016 Niue $50 Mars Kilo Antique Silver Martian Meteorite

[Use code 7SKU for a $650 discount on the kilo coin. Enter the code at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking EDIT]

Congo ANGKOR WAT 10,000 Francs Silver coin 2016 Antique finish Ultra High Relief 1 Kilo / 32.15 oz

Congo ANGKOR WAT 10,000 Francs Silver coin 2016 Antique finish Ultra High Relief 1 Kilo / 32.15 oz

Metal: Silver
Mintage: 100
Fineness (% purity): 99.9%
Content (Troy OZ): 32.15
Denomination (CFA): 10,000 Francs
Weight: (g) 1000 (1 Kilo)
Diameter: (mm) 100
Year of Issue: 2016
Country: Republic Of Congo
Quality: Antique finish
Exterior Decoration Real malachite insert; Ultra High relief Minting
Package type includes Special wooden coin box
Certificate of Authenticity: Yes

Mandala Art Series: 2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin with Malachite Stone Inlay

The second coin in the Mandala Art Series, the Fiji 2016 10$ Mandala Art II – Celtic 3 oz. silver .999 antique finish coin, is now available on pre-order at First Coin Company (FCC). The price offered by FCC, includes local and international shipping. They will also refund any Customs charges that may apply.

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin Reverse

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin – Reverse

Mandala Art Series

The extremely low mintage .999 fine 3 oz. solid silver coins in this series feature Mandala art – a form of art that is said to exhibits radial balance (harmony and unity), although each mandala comes with unique meanings of its own.

Mandala art incorporates mandala, a circle that represents the universe. It has great ritual and spiritual significance, especially in religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. These Indian religions, also classified as Eastern religions, all originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions can be found throughout the world today.

Mandala art can get very complex, but beyond the outer circle, the basic form of a mandala is a square with four T-shaped gates that lead to an inner circle.

Here is to give you an idea of how mandala art is created…

Combination of Mandala and Celtic Art

The Fiji 2016 10$ Mandala Art II – Celtic 3 oz. Silver .999 antique finish silver coin seems to be a combination of mandala and Celtic art.

The latter, like the former, is difficult to fully define. This is what makes both exciting forms of art, especially when combined. Celtic art is in essence art that is associated with the Celts – people in Europe who speak the Celtic languages, including those ancients with an uncertain language, but who shared stylistics and cultural similarities with the former.

Malachite Stone

The Fiji 2016 10$ Mandala Art II – Celtic 3 oz. Silver .999 antique finish silver coin comes with an impressive Malachite stone inlay – an opaque, green banded mineral that normally forms deep underground (see image below).

Malachite Stone

Malachite Stone

Source of Image: Consciousjewelry.com

This mineral and/or stone, used as a mineral pigment in green paints up to the the 1800s, got its name from the Greek word “Μολοχίτης λίθος” (molochitis lithos). This Greek word means “mallow-green stone,” a name derived from the leaves of the Mallow plant – which closely resembles malachite.

Spiritual significance…

Malachite, a Stone of Transformation, is said to be both spiritually inviting – the inviting flow, movement and energy in its lines – and a stone that demands respect – opaque power and strength. Furthermore, it is praised for its ability heal on multiple levels, both physical and spiritual. It is said to stimulate the Life Force of both aura and body – drawing out all impurities – personifying the deep healing green of nature.

Other uses…

It serves various other uses since ancient times, but that is the scope of another work.

Fiji Celtic Mandala Art Series 3 Oz. Ultra High Relief Silver Coin – Obverse

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin Obverse

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin – Obverse

The obverse includes the coat of arms of the Republic of Fiji, an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, along with the following inscriptions: “FIJI 2016,” “3 oz,” “AG 999” and “10 DOLLARS.”

The coat of arms include the words:

“Rerevaka na Kalou ka doka na Tui”

[Translated: “Fear God and honour the Queen.”]

 Fiji 2016 10$ Mandala Art II – Celtic 3 oz. Silver .999 Antique Finish Coin – Reverse 

The reverse (see image at top of page) includes an impressive Mandala, Celtic art combination with a Malachite stone inlay in the center. This side includes no words or letters in terms of the inscriptions – the art work speaks for itself!

Antique Finish, Ultra High Relief, 3D Effect and High Silver Content

Besides the art itself, and the coat of arms and inscriptions mentioned, this ultra high relief (UHR) silver coin boasts a 3d effect and comes with manually and/or hand applied antique finish. It also comes packed with 3 oz. of .999 fine silver, which forms a nice protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coin.

Packaging and CoA

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin Packaging

2016 Fiji Celtic Ultra High Relief 3 Oz. Silver Coin – Packaging

Each coin comes seated in a luxurious black “MANDALA ART CELTIC” box with silver print along with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity (CoA). The serial number can also be found on the edge of the coin, which is certainly a nice value add.

Why should you be interested in the Fiji 2016 10$ Mandala Art II – Celtic 3 oz. Silver .999 Antique Finish Coin with Malachite Stone Inlay?

  • Miniature Work of Art: This coin features mandala art combined with Celtic art on its reverse, which makes it on more than one level, a miniature work of art.
  • Ultra High Relief with 3D Effect: The details really stand out on this ultra high relief coin with 3d effect.
  • Extremely Low Mintage: A maximum of only 500 of these coins will be minted and distributed worldwide.
  • Legal Tender: This coin is legal tender of “10 DOLLARS” (Fijian dollar). This for one means that its silver content, weight and purity are guaranteed by the government of the Republic of Fiji.
  • Antique Finish: The coin comes in an antique finish. This is the result of special treatment, leaving the coin with the appearance of an old, treasured coin – something that is highly sought after in the marketplace.
  • High Silver Content: This .999 fine silver coin comes packed with 3 oz. of silver. This creates a protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coin.
  • Luxurious Packaging: Each coin comes seated in a luxurious black “MANDALA ART CELTIC” box with silver print.
  • Individually Numbered CoA: Each coin comes with its very own individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity (CoA). The serial number can also be found on the edge of the coin.

Specs

Metal: 3 Troy oz of 99.9% pure silver

Finish: Antique

Diameter: 50 mm

Weight: 93.3 grams

Edge: Smooth

Denomination (FJD): $10

Year of Issue: 2016

Mintage: 999

Country of Issue: Fiji

2016 St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican Ultra High Relief Concave Silver Coin

The second coin in the 4 Layer Minting Series, the 2016 St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican High Relief Concave 3.22 Oz. silver coin, is now available on pre-order at First Coin Company (FCC). Use the discount code: ncr5peter for a special 5% discount (enter this code at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking EDIT).

2016 St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican High Relief Concave 3.22 Oz. silver coin side view

2016 St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican High Relief Concave 3.22 Oz. Silver Coin

This coin follows the highly successful release of the first coin in the series, namely the Cook Islands 2015 Temple of Heaven Silver Coin.

4 Layer Minting Technique – Depth or Low Relief 5 mm – Ultra High Relief

The ultra high relief, concave or dome-shaped silver coins in the 4 Layer Minting Series are minted using a relatively new, groundbreaking 4 layer minting technique. This 4 layer minting technique makes a depth or low relief of 5 mm with three-dimensional space (3d effect) possible.

The design is at the same time struck in ultra high relief. This is on the back of the concave shape of the coin and the special minting technique deployed.   

4 Layer Minting Technique – Cook Islands 2015 Temple of Heaven Silver Coin 

This coupled with antique finishes and great designs leave breathtaking coins, especially in large diameter. Each coin in the series has a 55 mm diameter – leaving ample space to bring the designs truly to life, especially in terms of the 3d effect.

I am of the opinion that this coupled with a high silver content (3.22 oz.) and low mintage (999 coins per issue) have contributed largely to the success of the series this far. I expect it to be no different this time around.

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican – Old St. Peter’s Basilica – Circus of Nero

As the name suggests, the $20 Dollar 4 Layer High Relief St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican Cook Islands silver coin, features a part of the famous Italian Renaissance church – the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply: St. Peter’s Basilica.

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

Source of Image: Livemocka.com

This church – a remarkable example of Renaissance architecture and art – is located within the papal enclave in the Vatican City State, commonly referred to as the Vatican City, or simply: The Vatican. This walled state within Rome is the smallest state in the world – it consist of more or less 44 hectares and has a population of 842.

Michelangelo - Painter, Architect, Poet, Sculptor

Michelangelo – Painter, Architect, Poet, Sculptor

Source of Image: Biography.com

St. Peter’s Basilica – one of the largest churches in the world – was primarily designed by Carlo Maderno, Donato Bramante, Gain Lorenzo Bernini, and probably the most famous of them all: Michelangelo (see image above). The basilica has the largest interior space of any church ever built (15,160 m² or 163180.88 sq ft) – enough space for 60,000 people! This Italian Renaissance church dominates the skyline of Rome – the capital city of Italy (see image below). 

skyline of Rome, the capital city of Italy

Rome Skyline

Source of Image: Flickr.com

One can get to the top of the dome created by Michelangelo by taking 491 stairs (or about 320 stairs if you make use of the elevator). I got claustrophobic by merely watching the video below, especially the part where there is not enough space for a step railing; just enough space for a hanging rope to support oneself.

Climbing St. Peter’s Basilica’s Dome, Rome

Source of Video: asafscher

Old St. Peter’s Basilica 1

Old St. Peter’s Basilica

Source of Image: Touristdreamed.blogspot.co.za

The Old St. Peter’s Basilica (see image above) was replaced by the existing one when the cornerstone of the latter was laid on April 18, 1506. The old building stood from the 4th to 16th centuries – it was built during the reign of Roman Emperor, Constantine I, over the historical site of the Circus of Nero. Despite these changes, it is known in Catholic tradition as: The House that Peter Built.

Circus of Nero

Circus of Nero – Christian martyrs last prayer

Source of Image: GlobalSecurity.org

The Circus of Nero (see image above) was the site of the first state-sponsored and organized martyrdoms: the persecution and killing of Christians in 65 A.D. This started after Nero Caesar (see image below), known as the “Beast of Rome” (also identified as the beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation), blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome in 64 A.D.

Nero Caesar

Nero Caesar – Emperor, Theater Actor, Poet

Source of Image: Biography.com 

As a point of interest, the name of the best-selling burning software called: Nero Burning ROM (see image below)… points to that part of history. It adds to speculation that Nero ordered the burning of Rome himself in order to blame the Christians – was it a false flag event?

nero Burning ROM

Nero Burning ROM – Burning Software

Source of Image: Hit2k.com

St. Peter’s Basilica, described as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom” and “holding a unique position in the Christian world,” is traditionally seen as the burial site of Saint Peter – the first pope and one of Christ’s 12 Apostles or Ambassadors.

Vaticano – St. Peter’s Basilica

Source of Video: EWTN

It is said to contain the tombs of a 100+ people, including no less than 91 popes. It also houses the tomb of Queen Christiana of Sweden – who abdicated her throne to convert to Catholicism. It is also the last resting place of Holy Roman Emperor, Otto II, called the Red.

The above and more, despite not being the mother church of the Catholic Church, makes it one of the holiest Catholic shrines in the world. In addition, contrary to popular belief, it is not a cathedral of the Diocese of Rome or even a cathedral at all – it is not the seat of a bishop – a requirement for it to be a cathedral.

2016 Cook Islands 100 gram St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican 4-Layer Coin – Reverse

2016 Cook Islands 100 gram St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican 4-Layer Coin - Reverse

2016 Cook Islands 100 gram St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican 4-Layer Coin – Reverse

A prominent feature of the church is the impressive ceiling of its dome or lantern as featured on the reverse of the Cook Islands 2016 Saint Peter’s Basilica silver coin. It is brought stunningly to life through a relatively new and groundbreaking 4 layer minting technique as mentioned above.

The three dimensional or 3d effect it creates is truly breathtaking. Photos of course don’t do it justice – it is one of those coins that is best experienced with coin and magnifying glass in hand.

Dome of St. Peter's Basilica

Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

Source of Image: NeelyWang.com

The following inscription can be found on the reverse of this 2016 ultra high relief, antiqued finish silver coin:

“TV ES PETRVS ET SVPER HANC PETRAM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEAM. TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI CAELORVM.”

This very same inscription can be found on the inside of the real life dome in letters 6.6 ft (2 meters) high. Translated it refers to the following as contained in the Vulgate translation of the Bible in Matthew 16:18–19:

“…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”

[Food for thought: Did Jesus Christ not perhaps refer to Himself? Is He not the Cornerstone that His Church would be built upon?]

However, probably due to a lack of space, the following inscription that can be found below the lantern in real life, don’t seem to be included on the coin itself:

“S. PETRI GLORIAE SIXTVS PP. V. A. M. D. XC. PONTIF. V.”

[Translated: “To the glory of St Peter; Sixtus V, pope, in the year 1590, the fifth of his pontificate.”]

Other inscriptions on the reverse of the St. Peter’s Basilica 2016 Cook $20 4 Layer Technique .999 Silver (3.22 Oz) coin include “St. Peter’s Basilica” and the year of issue, namely “2016.”

St. Peter’s Basilica 4 Layer Silver Coin $20 Cook Islands 2016 – Obverse

2016 Saint Peter’s Basilica Silver Coin - Obverse

2016 Saint Peter’s Basilica Silver Coin – Obverse

The obverse features a side portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, as done by famous British sculptor, Ian Rank-Broadley.

His initials (“IRB”) is inscribed on the reverse of the coin along with the following inscriptions: “ELIZABETH II” (the ruling monarch), “20 DOLLARS” (NZD) and “Cook Islands” (the issuing authority or country of this coin).

Packaging and CoA 

This low mintage, concave or dome-shaped coin comes seated within an impressive and stylish Vatican book style case (see image below). In addition, each coin comes packaged with an individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity (COA).

Cook Islands $20 2016 4-layer Silver 100 grams St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican Coin

Availability

This 2016 Saint Peter’s Basilica silver coin, which is legal tender in the Cook Islands, will only be available for delivery in April this year (2016). However, the coin is currently on pre-sale at First Coin Company (FCC) – a great opportunity to secure one or more and lock in the price.

Enjoy a special 5% discount when you use the discount code: ncr5peter at FCC (enter this code at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking EDIT).

Why should you be interested in the Cook Islands $20 2016 4-layer Silver 100 grams St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican Coin?

  • 3D Effect: The reverse of this coin features the ceiling of the St. Peter’s Basilica at 4 different depths, leaving an impressive 3d effect.  
  • Second Coin in Series: It is the second coin in the popular 4 Layer Minting Series and/or 4-Layer Coin Series. The first coin in the series, the Cook Islands 2015 Temple of Heaven Silver Coin, did very well. It is now listed at a price of $449.99, compared to a starting price of $299.90.
  • Low Mintage: A maximum of 999 of these coins will be minted and distributed worldwide. In my opinion, the maximum mintage is high enough to make the series accessible to more than one collector, yet low enough not to flood the market with these highly collectible silver coins.
  • High Face Value: The coin has a relatively high face value of “20 Dollars” (NZD) – roughly the equivalent of 13 US Dollars (USD) and change. It is legal tender of the Cook Islands – an island country in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • Concave or Dome-Shaped: The coin is sure to be a hit among collectors of concave or dome-shaped coins, especially considering its 5 mm depth and the 3d effect as mentioned above.
  • Antique Finish: The coin comes in an antique finish. This is the result of special treatment, leaving the coin with the appearance of an old, treasured coin – something that is highly sought after in the marketplace.
  • High Silver Content: This .999 fine solid silver coin comes packed with 3.22 oz. or 100 grams of silver. This creates a protective value floor beyond the collector’s value of the coin.
  • Large Diameter: The coin has a diameter of 55 mm (2.16535 in) – making it over 35% bigger than the popular American Silver Eagle. The latter has a diameter of 40.6 mm (1.598 in). The large diameter leaves more space to appreciate the beauty of the design, especially the finer details on the coin.
  • Ultra High and Low Relief: 5 mm lowest/highest relief on the back of a relatively new, groundbreaking 4 layer minting technique used. This technique creates a stunning 3d effect.
  • Book Style Packaging: Each coin comes seated within a stylish Vatican book style case and/or box. It can be stored away like a book or kept in a prominent spot as a display piece. It can even be used as a secret book safe.
  • Individually Numbered CoA: Each coin comes with its very own individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity (CoA).
  • Historical Christian Connection: The connection goes far beyond the modern day Catholic Church. E.g. the St. Peter’s Basilica was built on the historical site of the Circus of Nero – the site of the first state-sponsored and organized martyrdoms of Christians.
  • Perfect Gift: This coin makes the perfect gift to those who have a passion and appreciation for art, architecture and history. Christians in general, and those who collect concave or dome-shaped shape coins, should find it an interesting and appealing gift and welcome addition to their collections.
  • 5% Discount: Orders yours from First Coin Company (FCC) and enjoy a special 5% discount when you use the discount code: ncr5peter (enter this code at the menu of your shopping cart by clicking EDIT).

The price offered by FCC, includes local and international shipping. They will also refund any Customs charges that may apply. The current price is at $299.90, but will increase as the demand for the coin increases. The system was designed by FCC to reward the “early birds” among us. This makes it important to lock in the starting price by placing your pre-order today.

Specs

Metal: 3.22 Troy oz of 99.9% pure silver

Finish: Antique

Diameter: 55 mm

Weight: 100 grams

Edge: Reeded

Denomination (NZD): $20

Year of Issue: 2016

Mintage: 999

Country of Issue: Cook Islands

This highly collectible, low mintage, antique finish, ultra high relief, concave and solid silver coin with 3d effect doesn’t come cheap – and with good reason!

Solar Eclipse Burkina Faso Super Moon 3 oz. Silver Coin

Great news is that the Burkina Faso 2015 1500 francs Eclipse of the Sun Proof-like Silver Coin is now available on pre-order at First Coin Company. Be sure to order yours today!

2015 Solar Eclipse 3 oz. Silver Coin 1500 Francs Burkina Faso

I discuss this extremely low mintage African coin in this article. I also discuss the rare astronomical and/or lunar event that took place on March 20, 2015 – the subject of this coin. I also provide more information pertaining to the issuing authority of this coin: The Republic of Burkina Faso – a fascinating country in its own right. 

This limited edition, 3 oz. .999 fine solar eclipse themed silver coin (see image above) is set to turn a few heads. It is not the first of such coins to be issued, but certainly one of the more attractive ones. It will be issued to commemorate the total solar eclipse which took place on March 20, 2015.

A solar eclipse in itself is not a rare event, a few occur every year. Even total solar eclipses, which are deemed less frequent, normally occur every 1-2 years… so what’s the big deal with this Burkina Faso, African coin you might ask?

Solar Eclipse, Super Moon and Equinox on March 20, 2015 – Super Rare Event

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon totally obstructs the image of the sun as viewed from the earth. This happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth, blocking all direct sunlight.  

A super moon (“supermoon”) is when the moon appears to be at its largest due to the shortest distance between it and the earth. This happens when the moon travels on its elliptic orbit, an orbit with an eccentricity of less than one, and reaches the perigee (see image below).

elliptic orbit of the moon

Night and day are more or less of the same length during an equinox. It is an astronomical event during which the flat, two-dimensional surface (plane) of the Equator moves passed the center of the sun.

What makes the total solar eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 so special is that it happened at the same time as the spring equinox of the Northern Hemisphere and the autumn equinox of the Southern Hemisphere.

The previous occasion this happened was in 1662 and it is only expected to happen on March 20, 2034 again – making what happened on March 20, 2015 a super rare lunar event!

Solar eclipse of March 20, 2015

Total solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 as seen from Longyearbyen, Norway.

Source of Photo: Damien Deltenre

The total solar eclipse on March 2015 was triggered by a super moon (“supermoon”) during a new moon phase – when the moon and sun had the same ecliptical longitude. Only the shadow or silhouette of this new moon was visible from the earth.

The total eclipse on March 2015 could only be seen in a narrow band from Svalbard and the Faroe Islands in Europe. Other parts of the world experienced it as a partial solar eclipse – due to its changing path of totality as observed from one geographical location to the next (see image below).

The next time Europe will observe a total solar eclipse again will be on August 12, 2026. This makes the simultaneous solar eclipse and equinox of March 20, 2015 an even rarer event.

Total Solar Eclipse

Path of Totality

Eclipse of the Sun – 2015 3 oz. Fine Silver Coin – Partly Colored and Gold Plated – 1500 Francs

This 2015 Burkina Faso solid silver coin is of proof quality and comes packed with 3 oz. of .999 fine silver – three times the silver contained in an American Silver Eagle (ASE)!

It weighs 93.3 g and has a diameter of 55 mm (2.16535 in) – over an inch bigger than the ASE in diameter. This leaves ample space for the design to come to life, especially on the reverse of the coin (see image below).

Eclipse of the Sun Solar 3 oz. Silver Coin 1500 Francs Burkina Faso 2015

2015 Solar Eclipse 3 oz. Silver Coin 1500 Francs Burkina Faso – Reverse

The reverse design features the surface of the moon in breathtaking detail, including deep craters – different finishes were used to make it super realistic.

In addition, the design incorporates a depiction of the total eclipse that took place on March 20, 2015. The eclipse is not depicted in its totality. This left room to introduce a partially gold plated sun into the design – something that really stands out in the design, especially in combination with the colored elements.

Inscriptions on the reverse of the 1500 Francs 2015 Burkina Faso – Eclipse of the Sun 3 oz. include: “SOLAR ECLIPSE 2015” and “3 OZ .999 FINE SILVER.”

2015 Solar Eclipse 3 oz. Silver Coin 1500 Francs Burkina Faso – Obverse

2015 Solar Eclipse 3 oz. Silver Coin 1500 Francs Burkina Faso – Obverse

The obverse of this legal tender coin seems to have an antique finish. In addition, it features the coat of arms of the Republic of Burkina Faso along with the following inscriptions: “REPUBLIQUE DU BURKINA FASO” and its face value of “1500 FRANCS CFA.”

Burkina Faso – Issuing Authority – Africa is not for Sissies

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that were originally known as the Republic of Upper Volta. It was renamed in 1984 to “Burkina Faso” by the President at the time, Thomas Sankara. This former French colony has seen its fair share of upheaval, including many governmental changes.

https://youtu.be/lVuM6GRwS24

Speaking of which, a military coup d’état was carried out by the Regiment of Presidential Security on September 16, 2015. They were forced by the African Union, ECOWAS and the armed forces to reinstate Michel Kafando as Acting President a few days later on September 24, 2015.

Coup Leaser Gilbert Diendéré during happier times

Coup Leaser Gilbert Diendéré during happier times

Source of Photo: Watchdog News

The coup leader, Gilbert Diendéré (see image above) – the Acting President for a mere 7 days – apologized and is facing heavy charges. This certainly adds to the appeal of this coin – assuming of course one has an appetite for the rebellious side of Africa. 

Why add the Solar Eclipse, Burkina Faso, 2015, 3 oz. Silver, 1500 Francs coin to your collection?

  • Rare Lunar Event: This African coin commemorates a rare lunar event that can only be observed in 2034 again – almost 20 years from now!
  • Reverse Design: This limited mintage 3 oz. .999 fine silver coin boasts an extremely attractive reverse design – consisting of various finishes (proof, gold plated, colored and frosted).
  • Luxury Display Case: This silver coin comes seated in a luxurious display case and/or box (see image below).

Solar Eclipse, Burkina Faso, 2015, 3 oz. Silver, 1500 Francs, Eclipse of the Sun

Luxurious Display Case and/or Box

  • Legal Tender: The coin is legal tender for 1500 Francs in the Republic of Burkina Faso – the issuing authority of this coin.
  • Precious Metals Content: This solid silver coin is partially gold plated and comes packed with 3 oz. of .999 fine silver – 3 times the amount of silver contained in an ASE. This provides a protective value floor beyond the numismatic value of this limited edition coin. In addition, this collector issue proof quality coin is relatively well priced compared to its 3 oz. collector issue counterparts. However, it is certainly not a coin that one can expect to pick up close to silver spot, especially considering the low mintage of only 999 coins. This substantially pushes up the design, minting, marketing and relating costs per unit and/or coin.
  • Certificate of Authenticity (CoA): This coin will come with a CoA and it will probably be individually numbered.
  • Extremely Low Mintage: A total of only 999 of these coins will be minted and distributed worldwide. This certainly adds to the appeal of this extremely low mintage coin.
  • Free International Shipping + Tax or VAT Refund: Pre-order yours from First Coin Company (FCC), one of the authorized dealers, and enjoy free international shipping. FCC will also refund any tax or VAT when applicable. These are expecting to ship within February this year (2016).
  • Perfect Gift: This impressive African coin makes the perfect gift for any occasion – it will certainly turn a few heads!

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Coin

The second coin in the ongoing “Lunar Skulls” series of coins is now available on pre-order, the 2016 Republic of Palau – $5 Year of the Monkey 1 oz. .999 Silver Coin – it is set to ship mid-February this year. Pre-order yours at First Coin Company – an authorized distributor/dealer of more than 25 mints from around the world.

This young, exciting lunar-themed series of silver coins features a favorite of many collectors: SKULLS – as in skulls of dead animals that form part of the Chinese Lunar calendar (which features 12 animal signs). It kicked off in the latter part of 2014 with the release of the 2015 Ghana – 5 Cedis Year of the Goat 1 oz .999 Silver – the first coin released in the series. It took the market by storm with a fresh, “twisted” and downright badass approach to lunar-themed coins (see image below).

2015 Year of the Goat Skulls Proof Coin

2015 Year of the Goat Skulls Proof Coin – Reverse

2015 Year of the Goat Skulls Proof Coin - Obverse

2015 Year of the Goat Skulls Proof Coin – Obverse

(First Coin in Series)

The latest release, the 2016 Palau – Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls coin (see image below), is just as badass as its predecessor out of the same series. It features the skull of a monkey on its reverse – Are those shades??? The skull boasts some seriously large fangs – the kind of monkey you don’t wish to meet in the flesh! 

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Proof Coin

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Proof Coin – Reverse

Inscriptions on the reverse include: “1oz .999 Silver,” “Lunar Skulls,” “2016” and “Year of the Monkey.” It also include the Han character used to refer to a monkey or ape, namely 猴. The designer’s signature is absent on this year’s issue. Word is out that SM Mint hired a new designer, but it’s unclear who exactly got the job. It is a bit of a bummer, but certainly not a train smash. I suppose no signature leaves room for a cleaner design, although a signature would have been nice. 

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Proof Coin Obverse

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Proof Coin – Obverse

The obverse of this 2016 silver skull themed coin features the inscriptions “REPUBLIC OF PALAU” and “5$” along a Rainbow’s End theme. Palau, which is an island country consisting of 250 islands, is known as ” The Rainbow’s End” – and with good reason. Palau boasts breathtaking scenery, rich biodiversity and fascinating people and places of historic and other interest… 

https://youtu.be/BkUHfJaP–4

Why buy and/or pre-order the 2016 Palau: Lunar Skulls Year of the Monkey coin?

Here are reasons why I am of the opinion that this 2016 Year of the Monkey coin is an absolute must have:

  • Second Coin in Series: This 2016 Year of the Monkey silver coin is the second coin in the young and upcoming “Lunar Skulls” series.
  • Minted by BH Mayer: This 5 generations old mint, based in Germany, is renowned for minting various modern world coins of high quality. Coins produced by them include the Tokelau Lunars, coins in the multi-awarding winning Tiffany Art series and various other modern world coins – too many to list here.  
  • Higher Quality, Original Mint Capsule: Each coin ships in its original mint capsule. The capsules are said to be of a higher quality this time around.
  • Matching Serial Numbers: Each coin and its corresponding certificate of authenticity (CoA) comes with matching serial numbers. A 2 coin set with matching serial numbers, which include both the proof and BU version, are also available.
  • Serial Numbers Edge of Coin: Unlike with the 2015 issue, the serial numbers are now featured on the edge of the coin. This is to provide for a cleaner design.
  • Different Finishes: A proof and uncirculated (BU) version of the coin will be available again, but with slightly different finishes than the last time around. E.g. the BU version will have more of a BU finish this time around – unlike the matte uncirculated finish of the 2015 issue. Word is out that SM Mint intends to keep the current format and finishes for the remaining releases (10 out of 12 remain).
  • Limited Mintage: No more than 500 proof and 2000 BU coins will be minted and distributed worldwide. In my opinion it is just enough not to crowd the market, but also enough to keep the series going. For a series to be successful (assuming all else are constant), it needs to be affordable and accessible to a relatively large number of collectors. Whether the mintages of future issues will be slightly increased in order to accommodate more collectors stand to be seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the case, provided that the series picks up nicely on the back of the low mintage first and second issue coins now available.
  • Brand New Project Management Team: The Son-Montuno Mint (SM Mint), the main distributor and facilitator of these coins, appointed a brand new, more experienced and professional project management team to assist with the 2016 release. They also decided to issue the 2016 skull coins under the legal authority of the Republic of Palau – instead of the legal authority of Ghana – as was the case in the 2015 release. The Palau-BH Mayer combination is said to be a highly efficient, winning combination.
  • Legal Tender: This 2016 monkey coin is legal tender for 5 US Dollars in the Republic of Palau. The USD is used as official currency in this island nation.
  • Silver Content: Each of these solid silver coins contain 1 oz. of .999 fine silver. This provides value beyond the numismatic or collector’s value of the coin.
  • Perfect Gift: This coin makes the perfect gift for any occasion – it will certainly be the talk of the table (if not the town)!
  • Worldwide Demand: This 2016 skull coin and series enjoy worldwide demand, although I am of the opinion that the broader market is still catching up. This provides a great opportunity to get in before these go mainstream.
  • Lunar Coins: Chinese Lunar calendar themed coins are extremely popular. I expect it to be no different here, especially given the uniqueness of coins in the “Lunar Skulls” series.
  • Skull Coins: The subject of skulls seem to fascinate a great number of collectors, including me. Personally I don’t know exactly why, but it might be a Hollywood thing driven by TV shows such as Bones, The Walking Dead and what not. Who knows for sure?

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Uncirculated Version - Obverse

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Uncirculated Version – Obverse

(You’ve got to love those shades!)

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Uncirculated Version - Reverse

2016 Year of the Monkey Lunar Skulls Uncirculated Version – Reverse

Can the positive momentum which earmarked the release of the first coin be revived?

Yes. I am certain it can be revived. A bit of background first…

The first coin in the series was well-received in the market, but the positive momentum seem to have died down. Despite a mintage limit of 500 proof and 2000 uncirculated (BU) coins – the first coin in the series has surprisingly not sold out yet. I do not for a second think it is a result of the coin being bad (or undesirable to any extent of the imagination).

In my opinion a combination of factors might have played a role, including the following:

  • A rapid increase in prices followed the release of the first coin: Were prices pushed up too far too quickly, outside the reach of most budgets? I can see how prices can be an issue to a portion of the market, but it was never intended to be a pure silver bullion play, especially in terms of the collector issue proof version issued. Prices almost tripled since its release. I am of the opinion that these extremely low mintage coins are fairly priced, especially considering the money, time and effort that went into producing these skull coins.
  • Extended delays experienced in terms of the delivery of the final product: The SM Mint was still a brand new outfit in 2014 when the first coin in the series was released. Like most new outfits, they certainly experienced their fair share of grow pains, especially with the project management team hired at the time. However, when all was said and done, the 2015 Year of the Goat Lunar Skulls coin was delivered – despite all the setbacks and delays. Even better though, as mentioned above, they’ve hired a brand new, more professional and more experienced project management team to assist with the 2016 release – so things are looking up! This came on the back of multiple issues experienced with the previous team. 
  • Did the broader market participate in the release of the first coin?: I highly doubt it. I am of the opinion that there are still many collectors out there who are not aware of its existence and of the existence of the series itself. Hopefully that will change soon.

The above leaves a golden opportunity in my opinion – to acquire both these Lunar Skulls coins; the 2015 Year of the Goat, as well as the 2016 Year of the Monkey, before the market catches on. These lunar coins are for lack of a better choice of words: SERIOUSLY BADASS!

Compare these coins to the average and rather boring alternative lunar coins out there – and it should blow your socks off! In my opinion, these coins are the exact opposite of what is wrong with most lunar coins out there. In fact, these coins offer an ideal opportunity to protest against all the half-assed lunar coins out there. Pre-order yours from First Coin Company while stocks last!

Available on Pre-Order: Eclipse of the Sun – American Silver Eagle

The 2015 1 oz. .999 American Silver Eagle counts among the world’s favorite silver bullion coins – a coin that enjoys strong world-wide demand. Here is an opportunity to own a post-mint enhanced, limited edition of this popular coin… the 2015 USA Eclipse of the Sun American Silver Eagle – the second in the eclipse series!

1 oz. Black USA Liberty Eagle 2015 Eclipse of the Sun Ruthenium Gilded BU 1$ - Reverse

1 oz. Black USA Liberty Eagle 2015 Eclipse of the Sun Ruthenium Gilded BU 1$ – Reverse

The Golden Rose Gold edition of the US legal tender 2015 Silver Eagle comes packed with 1 troy ounce of three nines fine (.999) silver – even more impressive – it comes fully plated with Ruthenium, a rare metal in the platinum group, and partially in 24 karat rose gold!

2015 USA Eclipse of the Sun American Silver Eagle - Obverse

2015 USA Eclipse of the Sun American Silver Eagle – Obverse

The enhancements were made by a private mint in Germany – known for producing coins of outstanding quality. This leaves a breathtaking and unique coin, which makes a great addition to any collection.

Why should you buy the 1 oz. Black USA Liberty Eagle 2015 Eclipse of the Sun Ruthenium Gilded BU 1$?

This silver bullion coin is legal tender for 1 US Dollar. The federal government guarantees its .999 fine 1 oz. silver content. This provides a protective value floor beyond the collector market.

The previous issue in the series did extremely well. The same is expected this time around, although no guarantees can be provided. Now is the time to lock-in the price before any price increases.

It is advisable to pre-order the Eclipse of the Sun Silver Eagle at the current price of $89.90. It is available on pre-order at First Coin Company (FCC), the exclusive distributor in the USA. In addition to free local and worldwide shipping, First Coin Company offers to refund any tax or VAT when applicable.

ECLIPSE OF THE SUN - LIBERTY - 2015 1 oz. Silver EAGLE Coin Ruthenium Rose Gold - Wooden Box 1

ECLIPSE OF THE SUN - LIBERTY - 2015 1 oz. Silver EAGLE Coin Ruthenium Rose Gold - Wooden Box

ECLIPSE OF THE SUN – LIBERTY – 2015 1 oz. Silver EAGLE Coin Ruthenium Rose Gold – Wooden Box

This unique 2015 Silver Eagle comes with an individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) and luxury wooden box. This is not your average run-of-the-mill offering, but a red hot collector issue item of which no more than 888 will be available worldwide.

1 oz. Black USA Liberty Eagle 2015 Eclipse of the Sun Ruthenium Gilded BU 1$ - CoA

1 oz. Black USA Liberty Eagle 2015 Eclipse of the Sun Ruthenium Gilded BU 1$ – CoA

The USA 2015 1$ American Eagle Walking Liberty – Eclipse of the Sun 1 oz. Ruthenium coin comes fully plated with ruthenium and partially with gold. Ruthenium with atomic number 44 belongs to the platinum group on the periodic table. It has a silvery white metallic appearance. The presence of ruthenium certainly helps to enhance the value of this 2015 Silver Eagle.