X-Ray – Mummy
Cook Islands. 5 Dollars. 2022 Silver .999. 1 oz. 38.61 mm. Special technology: smartminting (Ultra High Relief), color application. Proof. Mintage: 999. B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.
Description of the Coin
The other side depicts an X-ray scan of the Mummy in white and blue against a black background; in the field the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley (IRB) on the right, around it the legend ELIZABETH II – 5 DOLLARS – COOK ISLANDS – 2022; on the uncolored rim X-RAY.
In the 19th century, a certain party game enjoyed great popularity among the English upper class: those who visited Egypt had their souvenir mummies brought to the parlor. The guests would then collectively untie the mummy’s bandages in order to look into a dead Egyptian’s face and get the most pleasant creeps. At that time, exporting mummies as souvenirs was not a crime; issuing official export permits was a profitable matter of routine for Egyptian authorities. After all, there were still so many mummies that they were occasionally used as heating material. Handling the matter respectfully was rather an exception until the late 1980s. The Egyptian National Museum, for example, used to display the mummies of the most powerful pharaohs stark naked to the intrusive eyes of tourists for a minor fee.
Our attitude towards mummies has changed since then. This development started with the use of X-rays, which allowed scientists to examine mummies without stripping them of their bandages. By now, state-of-the-art imaging technology is used for this purpose and scholars employ digital methods to reconstruct the face of the deceased. This made many people understand that mummies aren’t objects but deceased individuals who deserve to be treated with reverence and respect. Currently, a discussion is underway as to whether mummies should also have a right to rest in peace.
A new coin by CIT addresses this antagonism. The Liechtenstein innovators dedicated their second issue of the “X-Ray” series to the royal mummies of Egypt. Thanks to smartminting® technology, the sarcophagus depicted on one side, which is reminiscent in many ways of the well-known gold coffin of Tutankhamun, was turned into a monumental semi-sculpture. For the other side, CIT used cutting-edge color technology to create an authentic depiction of the X-ray image.
Once again, a marvel of modern minting technology poses the philosophical question of what the human body is: an archaeological object or an individual that is entitled to rest in peace in their grave?
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