Tortoise

Cook Islands. 5 dollars. 2020. Silver .999. 1 oz. Approx. 30 mm. Antique finish. Mintage: 999. Special Technology: smartminting©. B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.

Description of the Coin

One side features a tortoise in the style of Aeginetic staters. At its right and left, C-I for Cook Islands.

The other side features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley (initials: IRB); around it the name of the ruler, the issuing nation and the denomination.

Background

Every year, the sunset behind Cape Sounion’s temple of Poseidon attracts thousands of tourists from Athens to the countryside. Only a few of them know that Sounion is located right next to the place where the famous silver mines of Laurium were once. The world’s first international currencies were made from the precious metal mined there. Even before Athens, the inhabitants of the island of Aegina exploited these mines. They used them to strike coins that were widely accepted as means of payment from the Black Sea to Egypt, from Ephesus to Marseille, from Syria to North Africa.

The coins of Aegina were first minted around AD 700 and are thus among the earliest coins of the world. They all depict the impressive motif of a tortoise, the sacred animal of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who protected sea travel from her temple above the harbor of Aegina.

Due to their stunning motif and high relief, classic Aeginetic coins featuring the tortoise are considered to be among the most beautiful coins struck in antiquity. Smartminting© enables us for the very first time since antiquity to recreate the incredible relief of these ancient coins. CIT Coin Invest makes use of this new technology to set a numismatic monument to a monument of economic history.

Further Information

www.cit.li/coins/tortoise-2020
 

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