New Silver Coin Celebrates 40 Years of Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast

Iron Maiden (Silver Edition)

Cook Islands. 5 Dollars. 2022. Silver .999. 1 oz. Obsidian Black. 38.61 mm. Mintage: 1,982. Special technology: Color. B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.

Description of the Coins

One side features the cover of the third studio album of the English heavy metal group Iron Maiden with the title “The Number of the Beast”.

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

In 1982, when the third studio album of the English heavy metal group Iron Maiden was released, nobody could have imagined that the cover, which was the subject of heated discussions at the time, would be featured on the back of a coin bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II about one generation later. When it was released, The Number of the Beast provoked public burnings.

Conservative activists protested in front of concert halls and claimed that the group would spread Satanic content. Stephen Harris, the founder and main songwriter of Iron Maiden, once complained that most opponents of The Number of the Beast did not even know the lyrics: “They just wanted to believe all that rubbish about us being Satanists”.

 

Of crucial importance to this misinterpretation was the cover depicting Eddie, the group’s mascot, also known as “Eddie the Head”. Eddie had been part of the Maiden’s stage shows since the late 1970s and was part of their image. Eddie not only adorns the group’s own Boeing 747–also known as Ed Force One–but every cover of Iron Maiden. For The Number of the Beast, the British artist Derek Riggs had Eddie pull the strings of a devil puppet, which in turn guided a small Eddie puppet. The artist has said that a 1960s comic inspired him to create this artwork. Rod Smallwood, the manager of Iron Maiden, explained that the original concept of the cover was to question who was actually responsible for evil.

Despite or because of these controversies, the album turned out to be an enormous commercial success. It was Iron Maiden’s first number one hit in the British charts. Moreover, The Number of the Beast is considered today one of the most important albums in the history of heavy metal.

CIT has created a numismatic monument to The Number of the Beast with a coin that shows that the provocation of 1982 is now part of popular culture. Eddie has become an integral part of it, so much that in 2015 people actually believed an April Fool’s joke about Eddie being the first fictional person to be knighted by the Queen.

Further Information

www.cit.li/coins/iron-maiden-number-of-the-beast-silver-edition/

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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.
 

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