Australia: Lunar Year of the Dog features on latest gold and silver coins

The Royal Australian Mint have released a selection of new coins which are in celebration of the upcoming new year, according to the Chinese Lunar cycle. Every year, the Lunar calendar also highlights a unique zodiac sign within the 12-year cycle, which features both mythical and real animals — all with specific traits and qualities for those born under each sign. The next year, which arrives in February 2018, will herald the Year of the Dog. If you were born in the years 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, or 2006 — you were also born in the Year of the Dog.

Those people born under the Dog sign are believed to have strong judgment and may not trust anyone readily, but once they do, they will be honest and sincere with their new acquaintances. They are absolutely gifted in getting along with friends and often choose to compromise. With a strong sense of loyalty, especially to friends, they tend to go all out to fulfill or keep a promise made to others. They are also prudent, loyal, reliable, compassionate, and ready to help others — often participating in charitable activities.

Aluminum-bronze coin.

Silver coin.

Gold coin.

The 2018-dated coins are the 12th, and the last, in the current series, which began in 2007. The reverse side includes a depiction of a standing dog based on a Chinese-stylised design. The script, or characters, denoting the Year of the Dog and year of issue, 2018, are also integrated into the design and are placed on either side of the primary design.

Aluminum-bronze coin.

Silver coin.

Gold coin.

The obverse depicts HM Queen Elizabeth II, as designed by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and used on all Australian circulation and most commemorative coins since 1999.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
$1 Aluminium-bronze 9 g 25 mm Brilliant Unc. 20,000
$1 .999 Silver 11.6 g 25 mm Proof 10,000
$1 .999 Silver 31.10 g 40 mm Proof 3,000
$10 .999 Silver 155 g 65.1 mm Proof 500
$30 .999 Silver 1,000 g 99.9 mm Proof 500
$10 .9999 Gold 3.10 g 17.5 mm Proof 1,500

Each coin is available individually and presented in a variety of options, from colourful blister-pack folders for the base-metal Brilliant Uncirculated coin, to custom cases ranging from red and blue fabric-covered boxes for the silver pieces, to wooden boxes for the gold coin. All precious-metal coins are accompanied by certificates of authenticity. For additional information on these and other coins released by the Royal Australian Mint. While the 2018-dated coins conclude this Lunar Series, the Royal Australian Mint is planning a new series beginning in 2019 which depicts new designs for another Lunar Year cycle of 12 years.

Design of Bob Dole Congressional Gold Medal approved at last Wednesday’s CCAC meeting

Last Wednesday, October 25, 2017, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) held a meeting to discuss the design of the upcoming Congressional Gold Medal to honor Bob Dole. Bob Dole is a lawyer, former congressman of Kansas, former Republican Leader of the United States Senate, and 1996 presidential candidate who is renowned for his valiant service in World War II. In 1942, he entered the United States Army’s Enlisted Reserve Corps, rising to second lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division. In April 1945, while fighting southwest of Bologna, Italy, in the Apennine Mountains, Dole was grievously injured in the upper right shoulder by German machine-gun fire and nearly succumbed to his injuries. For his service fighting in World War II, he was awarded five different medals, including the Purple Heart. He was additionally awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, shortly after being defeated in the 1996 presidential election by the latter.

Unlike the previous CCAC meeting, which concerned the design of the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coins, the Bob Dole Congressional Gold Medal design was agreed upon rather quickly by the various members, who favored design BD-R-04. The obverse features an image of Bob Dole with the Capitol behind him. Inscriptions on the obverse include SON OF KANSAS, SOLDIER, STATESMAN, and BOB DOLE.

For the reverse, we are treated to a Kansas wheat field with a quote from then-Senator Dole: FOR GREATNESS LIES NOT IN WHAT OFFICE YOU HOLD, BUT IN HOW HONEST YOU ARE, IN HOW YOU FACE ADVERSITY, AND IN YOUR WILLINGNESS TO STAND FAST IN HARD PLACES. Additionally, ACT OF CONGRESS 2017 is displayed along the bottom.

Out of consideration for Bob Dole and his family, Congress has expedited the production of the Congressional Gold Medal that is set to honor him. Some additional Congressional Gold Medals which honor the service of others in World War II were awarded to Filipino veterans, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Monuments Men. The majority of the Mint’s military-related Congressional Gold Medals are available in 3-inch and 1.5-inch bronze versions as well. For more information on these medals honoring the service and bravery of the men and women in the United States military


Воины истории - гунны 1 унция Серебряная монета


Our Warriors of History coins bring alive the stories of some of the most legendary warriors, and we are delighted to be releasing a tenth coin in this much-loved collection featuring the Huns. Under Attila, the Huns became the most powerful, and most feared, military force in Europe and brought death and devastation wherever they went.

Warriors of History
Huns — 1oz Silver Coin

This new release features a coloured illustration of a Hun dressed to fight. He stands against an antique-finished, engraved background featuring Huns charging into combat.

This stunning coin comes presented in a sleek and stylish, themed rectangular coin case and the complementary Certificate of Authenticity can be found inside.

This coin would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in history, but with a limited mintage of 5,000 coins, make sure you get yours today!


Warriors of History - Huns Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Huns Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Zulus Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Zulus Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Mongols Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Mongols Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Ayyubids Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Ayyubids Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Apaches Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Apaches Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Romans Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Romans Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Knights Templar Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Knights Templar Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Spartans Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Spartans Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Vikings Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Vikings Silver Coin

Warriors of History - Samurai Silver Coin

Warriors of History — Samurai Silver Coin


Shop NZ Mint Coins


British Virgin Islands: Unique tri-colour coin celebrates milestone wedding anniversary of Elizabeth and Philip

The government and treasury of the British Virgin Islands have issued (24th October) a new and unique coin in celebration of an extraordinary anniversary, which will be observed on the 20th November within the British royal family. On this day, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will have been married for 70 years — this is a milestone anniversary never before reached by a reigning sovereign and consort in England or the United Kingdom.

HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip have had an astonishing life together and have dedicated their lives to the duty of monarchy in service to both nation and commonwealth. The couple first met at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1939 when the Queen was just 13 years old. They both began exchanging letters before eventually becoming formally engaged in 1947, following the Queen’s 21st birthday. The royal pair married later in the same year and on the 20th November this year, 70 years later, the royal couple will celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary. Princess Elizabeth was crowned just five years after their wedding, following the death of her father, King George VI, who died aged only 56. Although the transition changed their lives forever, the couple has always approached their royal duties with a sense of humour and affection for each other that, over the decades, has been a testament to their enduring love.

Hover to zoom.

This special collector’s coin is produced by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the treasury of the British Virgin Islands, and integrates a tri-colour concept within a three-ringed design. The reverse side of the coin has a great amount of personal significance, which includes many depictions of flowers. Every flower in the design relates to HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip’s milestone wedding anniversaries together. The .999 silver version of this beautiful coin is plated in two additional and different metals. The outer ring represents the 25th (silver) anniversary, celebrated in 1972, and shows irises to represent promise, faith, and wisdom. Ivy, representing wedded love, fidelity, and affection, is also depicted alongside myrtle — a Hebrew emblem of marriage. The myrtle present in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet was actually grown from the myrtle in Queen Victoria’s bouquet! The middle ring is gold plated and represents the 50th (golden) anniversary, celebrated in 1997. It contains roses to represent inner joy, happiness, and true love. Sweet pea and honeysuckle are also present, as they are the flowers that represent the birth months of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, respectively. The inner circle is platinum plated, representing the 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary, and contains an orchid, representing love and long life.

The central ring of the obverse features a dual effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II alongside her husband HRH Prince Philip, which is an exclusive design seen only on coins produced by the Pobjoy Mint. Sweet pea and honeysuckle are repeated on the centre ring of the obverse.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
$1 Cupro-nickel 28 g 38.6 mm Brilliant Unc. 10,000
$10 .999 Silver 31.1 g 38.6 mm Proof 1,947

The Proof silver coin is strictly limited to only 1,947 (to mark the year of marriage) issues, and includes the denomination of $10 on the reverse. A cupro-nickel version with the denomination of $1, depicting the same design as the silver Proof version, is also available — this coin is not plated. The Proof version is presented in a custom case and includes a certificate of authenticity, while the cupro-nickel version is presented in a branded soft vellum pouch. For additional information on both coins.


Filipino veterans of World War II receive Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON – Filipino veterans of World War II received a Congressional Gold Medal today during a ceremony in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol.  It was awarded collectively to those who served honorably in an active-duty status between July 26, 1941, and December 31, 1946, under the command of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) within the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Philippine Scouts, the Philippine Constabulary, recognized guerrilla units, the New Philippine Scouts, the First Filipino Infantry Regiment, the Second Filipino Infantry Battalion (Separate), or the First Reconnaissance Battalion, including those commanding or serving as U.S. military officers or enlisted soldiers.

Filipino, Filipino-American, and American soldiers defended U.S. sovereign territory under USAFFE command after President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms in July 1941 to address rising tensions with Japan in the Pacific. Their valiant service was an integral part of the Allied victory over Axis forces in World War II and demonstrates a highly uncommon and commendable sense of patriotism and honor.

3-inch Congressional Gold Medal.

3-inch Congressional Bronze Medal.

The medal was designed and struck by the United States Mint, as authorized by Public Law 114-265. Its obverse displays part of the range and breadth of the Filipino veterans’ service in World War II. Depicted are a Filipino scout, a Filipino infantry regiment officer, and a guerrilla soldier. In the foreground is an infantryman on guard, symbolizing the soldiers’ fierce determination. The design features the inscription FILIPINO VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II. Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) designer Joel Iskowitz created the design, which was engraved by Mint sculptor-engraver Phebe Hemphill.

3-inch Congressional Gold Medal.

3-inch Congressional Bronze Medal.

The medal’s reverse displays both the American and Filipino World War II–era flags. UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES IN THE FAR EAST is inscribed along the top border of the design. The inscription of DUTY TO COUNTRY and the key locations of BATAAN & CORREGIDORLUZONLEYTE, and SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES are featured centrally. ACT OF CONGRESS 2016 is inscribed along the bottom of the design. Inscribed upon a scroll between the flags are the significant years of 19411945, and 1946. AIP designer Donna Weaver created the design, which was engraved by Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna.

The public law that awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino veterans of World War II also authorizes the Mint to strike and sell bronze reproductions of the medal.  The three-inch medal (product code 17MB), priced at $39.95, and the 1.5-inch medal (product code 17MC), priced at $6.95, will be available for purchase on October 25 at noon Eastern Time through the bureau’s online catalog and at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).  Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may call 1-888-321-MINT (6468).

The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the nation’s highest civilian awards bestowed by Congress as an expression of gratitude for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals, groups, or institutions. Past recipients include Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
About the United States Mint
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers. The Mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary in 2017 (#USMint225).

United States Mint announces new one-ounce platinum Proof coin series

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint announced today that it is launching a three-year platinum Proof-coin series starting in 2018 and continuing through 2020. The three-year program, titled “Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Platinum Proof Coin Series,” will feature newly designed 1-ounce Proofs struck in 99.95 percent platinum.

Since its inception in 1997, the American Eagle 1-ounce platinum proof coin has shared a common obverse that featured a portrait of Liberty. The coin’s reverse has hosted a variety of themed series, including “Vistas of Liberty,” “Foundations of Democracy,” “The Preamble to the Constitution,” and “Torches of Liberty.”

As the American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin Program enters its third decade, this marks the first time the Mint has issued a series featuring all-new obverse designs created concurrently by one designer, as well as a new common reverse (tails) design.

Created by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) designer Justin Kunz, obverse designs in this series represent Kunz’s interpretation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the core American principles in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

The series’ obverse designs portray Liberty planting seeds for future sustenance, lighting the way westward, and harvesting the well-worked crops. The inscriptions Life in 2018, Liberty in 2019, and Happiness in 2020 are likenesses of the handwritten words from the Declaration of Independence.

The 2018 obverse design features “Life” personified by Lady Liberty teaching a small child to sow seeds in a field. The sword she carries symbolizes the power to defend life. The furrowed earth represents the forethought and labor required to sustain life. The tree and stream represent nature, suggesting the need to be good stewards of an environment that sustains life.

The reverse design depicts an eagle in flight with an olive branch in its talons, by AIP designer Patricia Lucas-Morris, which will remain the common reverse throughout the series.

The first coin in the new series, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Platinum Proof Coin–Life, will be released in early 2018. Additional details will be available prior to each coin’s release. Visit our program page for more information on this series.

About the United States Mint
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers. The Mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary in 2017 (#USMint225).

United Kingdom: Christmas holidays feature on latest crown and legacy sixpence coin

The Royal Mint have released a new crown coin which is designed especially for Christmas time and holiday gift-giving. This is the first time a crown coin has ever been retailed featuring this festive time of year. This year’s Christmas coin celebrates the very heart of Yuletide traditions with an original Christmas-tree design — the perfect way to remember a wonderful time spent with family and friends.

As each calendar window is pried open by eager hands, the big day gets closer and closer. It’s almost time to choose a tree, wrestle it through the front door, retrieve the decorations from the attic or basement, and begin the fun of wrapping the family’s tree in tinsel, string it with twinkling lights and shiny baubles hanging from every branch, and — as if by magic — the chilliest time of the year is transformed into the warmest.

During the holiday season, many think of the three wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — the three traditional offerings to baby Jesus born in the manger. During the holiday season, bags of chocolate coins symbolising treasure have been offered as small gifts. In this spirit and tradition, Christmas and coins go hand-in-hand. The new crown holiday coin is the perfect gift which will be remembered and saved as a treasured holiday keepsake.

Hover to zoom.

The new crown coin is designed by printmaker Edwina Ellis and includes a most familiar image: A typically decorated Christmas tree, capturing the excitement of the festive season through the stars. Baubles and candy canes adorn the branches of the tree — the centrepiece of any home at Christmas.

The obverse side includes the definitive fifth effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark and used on all circulation, collector, and commemorative coins since 2015. The coin’s denomination of 5 POUNDS is included on the legend around the Queen’s portrait.

A legacy-denominated silver coin was also released by the Royal Mint in time for the festive holidays and gift-giving season — a new sixpence silver coin. This familiar coin of half a shilling was discontinued in 1971 when the United Kingdom adopted a decimal form of currency consisting of 100 pence to the pound. The traditional system of pounds, shillings, and pence (12 pence equal to 1 shilling and 20 shillings making up 1 pound) had been in place since the Tudor era, and as a result of the changeover, the old sixpence’s face (or equal) value became 2.5 new pence and was discontinued as a coin. In years gone by, and as part of this coin’s tradition, a sixpence was included in a Christmas pudding, and the one who finds the coin in their serving has good luck for the coming year — not to mention the princely sum of sixpence to spend.

The last, or fourth, Sunday before Advent in the Anglican Church calendar (which falls between the 30th October and 5th November inclusive) is also remembered as “Stir-up Sunday.” This is the traditional day to get stirring and baking, and when the little silver coin is dropped into the mixing bowl, this is the time to make a wish and look out for a very special addition after Christmas dinner on the big day.

The coin is produced according to its former specifications to be an updated design of this legacy coin, were it still in circulation. Designed by John Bergdahl, the reverse depicts the Queen’s cypher of E II R surrounded by a garland. The year of issue, 2017, is divided in half and placed on each side of the crown. The denomination of SIX PENCE is placed above the primary design.

The obverse side includes the definitive fifth effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark and has been used on all circulation, collector, and commemorative coins since 2015.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
Sixpence .925 silver 3.35 g 19.4 mm Brilliant Unc. To meet demand
5 pounds Cupro-nickel 28 g 38.6 mm Brilliant Unc. To meet demand

This 2017-dated crown coin is struck only in cupro-nickel, possesses a Brilliant Uncirculated finish, and is presented in a practical and festive Christmas-card format. The Christmas sixpence coin is struck in sterling silver and minted in Brilliant Uncirculated quality as well. The latter coin is presented in a colourful folder featuring a Christmas pudding on the cover — a festive reminder of the coin’s Yuletide tradition with many families. For more information on this and other coins offered by the Royal Mint.

Austria: Tercentenary of the birth of Empress Maria Theresa marked with second silver coin

The Mint of Austria have unveiled (16th October) their second new coin ahead of its official issue in November. It marks the tercentenary anniversary of the birth of the Habsburg Empire and Austria’s only female ruler to date: the Empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780). Maria Theresa became empress upon the death of her father, Emperor Charles VI (1685–1740), Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor.

A loving wife, caring mother of 16 children, and hard-working absolute ruler, Empress Maria Theresa was perhaps the early prototype of the modern empowered woman. Born on the 13th May 1717, Empress Maria Theresa unexpectedly came to power at the age of 23. Although unprepared for the role of ruler, she was nevertheless driven by the four cardinal virtues: Courage, justice, clemency, and prudence. Maria Theresa managed to navigate at the helm of the Habsburg Empire for 40 years, during which time she steered her immense economically, socially, and culturally diverse territory on a highly successful course. The embodiment of both monarchic and matriarchal virtues, even during her own lifetime, the imposing empress made it difficult for historians to distinguish between the woman and the myth.

Hover to zoom.

The second coin’s design, or inspiration, focuses on the second of the four elements marked by her rule: Justice. The design of each of the four coins planned in this remarkable series is based on specific historical medals made during the empress’s years on the throne. The obverse, which was created by Anton Wiedemann (1724–1792), shows the empress and her husband, Francis I. Added to the updated design are the coin’s denomination and commemorative inscription.

The reverse depicts the empress as the allegorical figure of “Justice” along with the word itself positioned to the left of the standing figure. The year of issue is displayed in roman numerals, MMXVII, underneath the figure.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
20 euro .925 Silver 20 g 34 mm High-relief Proof 30,000

As with the first Proof-quality 20 euro silver coin in the Empress Maria Theresa series, issued earlier this year, the second coin, “Justice and Character,” is minted in extra-bold relief in a similar style to collector medals. The three-dimensional and bold relief of the series deliberately gives each coin a special antique look and underlines the multi-faceted role that the empress played in the history of Austria. Each coin is presented in an attractive case with a numbered certificate of authenticity. A custom case designed to house all four eventual coins is also available. Pre-issue ordering is available until the 8th November, with dispatch being scheduled from the 13th November. The remaining two coins in the series are scheduled for issue 3, entitled “Clemency and Faith” (25th April 2018), and issue 4, “Prudence and Reform” (3rd October 2018). For additional information on this and other coins offered by the Mint of Austria.

New Zealand: The story of how Māui captured the Sun told on new gold and silver coins

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand have issued (18th October) four new coins which feature an exceptional tale that is one of the most familiar legends in the Polynesian world. The legends of Māui are stories shared across many Polynesian islands, despite the considerable distance between islands such as Hawaii, Tonga, and even New Zealand — the similarities between many of the legends is uncanny. The legend of Māui slowing the sun is one well known across the Pacific. Sick of having only fleeting moments of daylight to work by, Māui decided to find a way to slow the sun. With the help of his brothers, Māui snared the sun and forced him to travel slowly across the sky.

Hover to zoom.

The 2018-dated coins are produced by the BH Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH on behalf of the Reserve Bank and are designed by New Zealand artist Dave Hakaraia of Wellington. The set consists of two gold and two silver coins, with the gold and silver coins sharing the same reverse design. The heroic legend of Māui capturing and slowing the sun is depicted in these two coins. The mighty sun, Tamanuiterā (or Rā) is depicted on one coin, while Māui is portrayed holding fast the ropes he used to slow Rā on the second coin.

The obverse depicts HM Queen Elizabeth II, as designed by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, and has appeared on all New Zealand circulation and most commemorative coins since 1999.

Silver set: The mighty sun is captured with detailed gold plating on one silver coin, and the coins are placed in their acrylic case which mimics the legend. The ropes held by Māui are etched into the surface of the acrylic coin holder which lines up with the ropes attached to Rā so that Māui appears to still be holding the sun in place.

Gold set: The two coins are housed within a carved, wooden case with patterns of the rope crisscrossing on the lid; this set of coins tells a popular tale through their highly detailed finish.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Sets
$1 x 2 .999 Silver 31.1 g 40 mm Proof 1,500
$10 x 2 .9999 Gold 15.5 g 30 mm Proof 150

The gold and silver coins are available to purchase only in sets. They are presented in individual capsules and housed in custom presentation cases which are specially designed to enhance the design of the coins. For more information on these and other coins issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

The Story About the Maori Hero Māui Who Slowed the Sun

One evening, Māui and his brothers were making a hāngi, which is a traditional Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven, for their evening meal. They had just finished heating the stones when the sun went down and it quickly became too dark to see. Māui was annoyed with having to eat his food in the dark. He stood in the light of the fire and addressed his people exclaiming that they have to rush to do their chores and gather food before the sun sets. He asked why they should all be slaves to the sun, declaring that he would catch it before it rises, and teach it to travel slowly across the sky. One of his brothers was quick to criticise the plan, not believing Māui could possibly do such a thing and pointing out the impossibility of the task, saying that it was much bigger than any bird Māui ever caught. Another brother advised that the heat alone would surely burn Māui to death.

When the commotion had eased, Māui took the sacred jawbone of his ancestor from his belt and waved it in the air. He declared that he had achieved many things that were thought impossible: Gaining fire from Mahuika (the Māori fire deity), he caught the greatest fish in the world, he had descended to the underworld, and many more feats. With this magic jawbone, gifted by Murirangawhenua (one of Māui’s Grandmothers), Māui declared he would succeed in conquering the sun.

Luckily, the majority of the people agreed that Māui had achieved many great feats, and they decided to help Māui in his quest. The next day, Māui and his whānau (extended family) collected a huge amount of flax, and Māui then taught them how to make flax ropes — a skill he learned when he was in the underworld. They made square shaped ropes called tuamaka, flat ropes called paharahara, and twisted the flax to make round ropes. After five days the ropes were completed, and Māui said a special karakia (prayer) used to invoke spiritual guidance and protection over them.

Taura nui, taura roa, taura kaha, taura toa, taura here i a Tamanuiterā, whakamaua kia mau kia ita!

During the night, Māui and his brothers hoisted the ropes and travelled towards the east to where the sun first rises. They hid under trees and bushes during the day, so the sun wouldn’t see them approaching. They collected water in calabashes (bottle gourds) as they travelled, which Māui said was necessary for their task ahead. On the 12th night, Māui and his brothers arrived at the edge of a huge, red-hot pit, dug deep into the ground. Inside the pit, Tamanuiterā, the personification of the sun, was sleeping. The brothers were silent, terrified at what might happen if he awoke. Māui immediately ordered his brothers to build four huts around the edges of the pit to hide their long ropes. In front of the huts, they used water to soften the clay and build a wall to shelter them. Māui and his brothers then spread their flax ropes into a noose, only just finishing before dawn, when the sun was due to wake.

Māui described that when Tamanuiterā rises and his head and shoulders are in the noose that he will call for his brothers to pull tight on the ropes.However, one of the brothers became worried and wanted to run while he still had time. He asked Māui why they are doing this and called their mission madness. Māui’s brother was worried that they will be burnt alive but if they ran now, they might escape with their lives. The two brothers tried to sneak away but Māui caught sight of them through the corner of his eye.

He admonished them that if they ran away now the sun would see them when he rises from his pit and they would be the first ones to die — declaring there is no turning back now.

With no time to answer, the sun had begun to wake and was rising from the pit. They quickly ran back to their huts, grabbed hold of their ropes and hid behind the wall of clay, trembling as they waited for Māui’s orders. Māui hid and watched until he saw the best opportunity to strike. As expected, Tamanuiterā slowly emerged from the deep pit, not knowing that a trap was set for him. Before he could realise, his head went through the noose and then his shoulders. Māui suddenly jumped from his hut and yelled to his brothers, giving the order to pull on the ropes. At first, the brothers were too scared to come out but Māui yelled again for them to quickly pull the ropes before it’s too late, or they would be scorched to death. Just then the sun peered down to the edges of the pit and saw Māui standing before him. Tamanuiterā was furious. He hurled a ball of fire towards Māui, but he ducked in time, holding tightly to his rope and once more chanting his karakia:

Taura nui, taura roa, taura kaha, taura toa, taura here i a Tamanuiterā, whakamaua kia mau kia ita!

The brothers swiftly jumped from their hiding places, grabbing their ropes just before Tamanuiterā could free himself from the noose. As the sun roared in anger, Māui fought off the intense heat and moved to the edge of the pit. He raised his magic jawbone above his head and brought it down hard on the sun. The magic forces from the jawbone flashed like a bolt of lightning. Suddenly, Tamanuiterā demanded to know why Māui was trying to capture him in such a manner, to which Māui answered that from now on, he would have to travel slowly across the sky. Never again would the Maori length of the day be dictated by the speed of Tamanuiterā.

Although Tamanuiterā tried to struggle free, it was impossible to break free from the ropes, and again, Māui showed him the power of his magic jawbone. Defeated, Tamanuiterā finally gave up the fight and Māui instructed his brothers to let go of their ropes. From then on, Tamanuiterā travelled slowly up into the sky and the days became longer for Māui and his people, giving them plenty of time to fish, gather food, and do their chores. Māui’s power and ability were never questioned again since he had succeeded in taming the sun. From that day to present, Tamanuiterā has always travelled slowly across the sky.

Germany: Noted historian and father of modern archaeology honoured on new silver coin

The Verkaufsstelle für Sammlermünzen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (VfS) have released (12th October) their latest silver coin for the year which marks the tercentenary anniversary of the birth of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), the founder of scientific archaeology and art history. The coin is the fifth and final silver-coin issue scheduled for 2017.

The genius and writings of Winckelmann, more than of any other single critic, reawakened the popular taste for classical art and were instrumental in generating the neo-classical movement in the arts.  Born in the affluent kingdom of Prussia as the son of a cobbler, Winckelmann’s formative years were deeply influenced by the study of Greek, particularly of Homer. Although he was from a modest background, Winckelmann managed to attend university and studied theology at the University of Halle in 1738 and medicine at the University of Jena from 1741 to 1742. It was not until 1748, as personal librarian to Count von Bünau at Nöthnitz, statesman and historian from the Electorate of Saxony, that he came into contact with the world of Greek art. In 1755, Winckelmann authored the formative essay, “Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst” (Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks). In his publication, he upheld the notion:

The only way for us to become great, or even inimitable if possible, is to imitate the Greeks.

During his lifetime, his essay became the essential manifesto of the Greek ideal in education and art and was soon translated into several languages. Under the influence of the Saxon court, he embraced the Catholic faith, entered into the service of the future Cardinal Achinto, and exchanged his homeland for the city of Rome — then considered second only to Paris as the world’s cultural centre. While in Rome, Winckelmann rose to the esteemed position of librarian of the Vatican, president of antiquities, and later became secretary to Cardinal Albani — who had one of the great private collections of classical art.

Winckelmann’s personal visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum during the early years of their discovery and excavations led to his communications in the form of “open letters,” which exposed the blunders of amateur treasure seekers and helped put these excavations into competent hands. For this and his catalogue of ancient gems, he has been regarded as the father of modern archaeology.

While Winckelmann was journeying north over the Alps, his friend, the sculptor and restorer Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, managed to persuade him to travel to Munich and Vienna, where he was received with honour by the empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Sadly, on his way back to the Alps, he was murdered in a hotel in Trieste on the 8th June 1768, by a man named Francesco Arcangeli — allegedly for the medals that Empress Maria Theresa had given him. Winckelmann was buried in the churchyard of Trieste Cathedral.

The coin is designed by the artist Andre Witting from Berlin. The obverse side depicts a classical side profile of Winckelmann facing to the left. The commemorative inscription around the portrait reads 300 GEBURTSTAG JOHANN JOACHIM WINCKELMANN with the years of his birth and death 1717 – 1768 placed just under the portrait. The artist intentionally designed the portrait with a more classical approach, based on many antique coins.

The reverse shows an eagle, the national insignia of the Federal Republic, with the inscription BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND along with the coin’s value of 20 EURO and the mintmark F which references the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Mint in Stuttgart. The year 2017 and the 12 stars representing the original member states of the European Union are placed on the lower half on either side of the depiction of the eagle. In addition, the indication SILVER 925 is seen just below and next to the coin’s year of issue. The edge of the coin includes the lettering EDLE EINFALT UND STILLE GRÖSSE.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
€20 .925 Silver 18 g 32.5 mm Uncirculated To meet demand
€20 .925 Silver 18 g 32.5 mm Proof 145,000 pieces

The coin is available in both Uncirculated (for its face value in banks and post offices) and Proof quality which are included in the annual year set complete with all five €20 silver coins issued during the year. With the issue of this last silver coin, the set is now also available for purchase. For additional information on this and other coins released by the VfS, the official sales office for collector’s coins of the Federal Republic of Germany