H.P. Lovecraft – Cthulhu
Palau. 20 Dollars 2022. Silver .999. 3 oz. 45 mm. Antique finish. Mintage: 750 pieces. Special technology: smartminting® (Ultra High Relief), color application. Minted by B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.
Description of the Coin
One side depicts the tentacled head of Cthulhu above the sea. Its tentacles are wrapped around a sailing ship, which is tiny in comparison; in the field incuse 2022.
The other side features numerous tangled tentacles, and between them the silhouette-like portrait of H.P. Lovecraft. Legend H. P. LOVECRAFT / 1890 / 1937. Above, the coat of arms of Palau with the circumscription REPUBLIC OF PALAU 20 $.
Even those who don’t know the name of the American author H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) will find that his creatures look very familiar to them. After all, the most important author of the 20th-century Gothic tale of terror has had a lasting impact on our imagination with his Cthulhu mythos. Long before Tolkien, Lovecraft created a coherent anti-world as a background for many of his short stories. It was adopted by countless successors to make it the setting of their own tales.
In 1926, Lovecraft completed the short story “Call of Cthulhu”, which was dismissed as trivial literature at the time. In this complex narrative structure, which only reveals the plot to the reader in bits and pieces, Lovecraft formulated the Cthulhu myth for the first time: Hidden in the real world, there is an anti-world that is ruled by the Great Old Ones. These terrible creatures aren’t subject to any kind of law of nature, so they have godlike powers and thus threaten human life. Cthulhu, to whom CIT dedicates this coin, is Lovecraft’s first creation. His awakening marks the start of man’s battle against the Great Old Ones for dominion over the Earth.
Cthulhu is a remotely humanoid being of great power, which came to Earth several hundred million years ago and sleeps in a sunken city. Woe betide you if he awakens! His face is a tangle of tentacles that he can use to drag even the most powerful fleet into the depth of the sea within a heartbeat.
With this commemorative coin of the island state of Palau, CIT set a numismatic monument to a fearsome creature and its creator. For this purpose, CIT combined an ultra-high relief created by smartminting® technology with the most delicate color application.
Those who look into Cthulhu’s brown eyes might remember that the awakening of the Great Old Ones can also be understood symbolically: Palau, the issuer of this coin, will be one of the first victims if sea levels continue to rise.
* * *
CoinWeek Podcast #155: Ultra-Modern Coins Take Over
Mobile phone users. Stream this podcast for free by downloading the podomatic app or subscribe to the CoinWeek Podcast on iTunes.
In this episode of the CoinWeek Podcast, we have a lively, interesting, and provocative conversation with Chang Bullock and Orlando Lorenzana of CIT, where we talk about how ultra-modern coins (or postmodern coins, as we call them) have taken over the contemporary coin market and how CIT’s innovations in color and coin minting technology are changing the game for private and sovereign mints.
You cannot walk away from this podcast without learning something about the way minting has changed–and has always been changing throughout the course of monetary history–and we hope it will give you a clearer picture of where we are heading.