Monday, October 19, 2009

Mennica Polska Issues 3rd Coin in Popular Amber Route Commemorative Series

The third coin to be issued in the "Amber Route" series of gold and silver proof coins is also the first to be released in 2009. The coins commemorate the ancient town of Elblag, located in the north of Poland and like previous issues in this popular collector series, each coin is enhanced with a genuine half-sphere of natural amber embedded into the coin itself.

Niue Island 2009 $1 Elblag Amber Route Silver Proof

The Amber Road is an ancient trade route, leading from Asia to Europe, used predominately by the Romans to transport precious natural amber from the Baltic and North seas, back to Rome. While Rome is best known for using the route, it was also used years before the Romans to move amber to Greece and Egypt, via routes from northern Europe to the Mediterranean Sea. The old Prussian town of Laup (Mokhovoye, in the Kaliningrad Oblast) and the seaport town of Truso (now Elblag) are thought to be the starting points for the route heading south.

The series of coins issued by Mennica Polska include one gold coin and one silver coin for each city being commemorated along the route. The coins are struck to the highest standards of proof by the mint, and feature similar designs for both coins, with the exception of their denominations. All up there will be 8 coins released in the Amber Route series, honoring the towns of Kaliningrad (Russia), Gdansk, Elblag and Wroclaw (Poland), Stare Hradisko (Czech Republic), Szombathely (Hungary), Carnuntum (Austria) and Aquileia (Italy), each with a natural piece of high quality amber embedded as part of the reverse design.

This third release pays tribute to Elblag, the ancient town located in the North of Poland on the Baltic Sea. The town is built on the site of the seaport known a Truso, one of the alleged starting points for the route. Truso was destroyed by fire sometime in the 10th century and lay in ruins until the 13th century when the Tuetonic Knights built a citadel there during the Prussian Crusade. From there a town was built.

The silver proof has been struck from 28.28 grams of 92.5% silver on a 38.61mm flan. The coin has been treated to give it an antiqued appearance of old money. It comes encapsulated and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity confirming the mintage of 10,000 coins. The gold proof coin is struck from 15.50 grams of 90% gold on a 27.00mm flan, and is also encapsulated and presented with a certificate. The mintage of the coin gold is set at a tiny 2000 coins released worldwide.

Niue Island 2009 $5 Elblag Amber Route Gold Proof

The reverse design of both coins is the same, and features a depiction of the St Nicholas Church, the medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in Elblag, together with a dual portrait Roman coin, as used in the times of the amber route, and a Roman goblet. In the bottom portion is the 10.00mm half sphere of natural amber, while at the top is the inscription "Elblag - Szlak Bursztynowy" (Elblag - Amber Route). The obverse, common to all coins in the Amber Route series, has the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, together with the country and year of issue and the nominal face value ($1 for silver, $5 for gold). Above is the image of a horse-drawn cart, as used to transport amber to Rome, together with the profile of a Roman guard set against the background of the Baltic coast. At the top is the "Amber Route" inscription.

Other coins available in this series are:

2008 $1 Kaliningrad Silver Proof - BACK IN STOCK!
2008 $1 Gdansk Amber Route Silver Proof
2008 $5 Gdansk Amber Route Gold Proof

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