Steampunk – Jet Pack
Cook Islands. 20 Dollars 2021. Silver .999. 3 oz. 50 mm. Antique finish. Mintage: 888 pieces. Special Technology: smartminting (Ultra High Relief), combined with partial gilding. B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.
Description of the Coin
One side features future means of transportation in steampunk style: on the right, the foreground is dominated by a man depicted from behind wearing a jet pack; he is looking at a locomotive, a small dog, a man on a penny-farthing, and a man in a hang-glider; in the background: an armillary sphere and an aerial tramway. The jet pack and the front part of the locomotive are highlighted by gilding. The jet pack shows the year 2021.
The other side depicts a circular construction of various gearwheels and other functional elements; off-centered is a circular area with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to the right, around it is her title, the name of the country, and the denomination; along the edge a broad ribbon with the name of the series STEAMPUNK.
The first issue of CIT’s Steampunk series was sold out in no time. The reason for this was probably its innovative and aesthetically pleasing look. With this series, CIT picked up a phenomenon of popular culture known as steampunk or retrofuturism. Novels, movies, and, above all, comics depict in the style of the 19th century how individuals face a high-tech, often inhospitable future. The French author Jules Verne is probably the most important point of reference for steampunk culture. He is considered the most famous representative of 19th-century science fiction literature. Many of his novels deal with journeys – to the moon, to the center of the earth, or around the world. It is therefore quite appropriate that CIT hid three allusions to the author in the design of the Jet Pack issue: the author’s first name can be read on the left shoulder pad of the central figure; his portrait is depicted on the left of the locomotive; the word NEMO, representing one of Jules Verne’s heroes, is depicted on the control panel of the jet pack.
This close connection to Jules Verne is also fitting regarding the topic of this issue. After all, he is said to have been the first to invent the concept of a jet pack in his 1886 novel Robur the Conqueror. The idea inspired many American superhero comics of the early 20th century. Regarding movies, the jet pack probably made its most spectacular appearance in Thunderball, when Sean Connery used it in his role as number 007 to escape from his enemies. Since then, the jet pack has become a standard prop of the science fiction genre.
CIT dedicates the second issue of the Steampunk series to the jet pack. Like its predecessor, the coin impresses with an ultra-high relief in an antique finish, with highlights that were applied by means of exquisite gilding. This process requires the highest precision of craftsmanship and is extremely elaborate: traditional craftsmanship combined with state-of-the-art minting technology – you could call that steampunk too.
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