Over the past seven months several world and private mints have launched new coin series that depict Nordic gods and Vikings, the Germanic Norse seafarers who ruled Scandinavia from the eighth to the 11th century.
Though the series are independent of each other, they share a similar theme; several individual coins even celebrate the same subjects. Each series’ basic format is similar, though the artwork varies greatly from one series to the next, and each also has other distinctive features.
Inspired by the success of the Perth Mint’s gods and goddesses of Olympus series of six coins issued in 2014 and 2015, the format for each of the various products is a rimless coin made of two or more ounces of .999 fine silver with an Antique Finish that is struck in high or ultra-high relief with intricately engraved details.
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Each coin is also limited in mintage, comes in an attractive display case, and is housed without a protective capsule due to the high-relief striking.
Issue prices vary, but are typically in the $150 to $200 range.
The first series, launched in September 2015, was issued by a private German mint on behalf of the Cook Islands. It will depict the pantheon of Nordic gods and began, like the others, with Odin, the king of the Nordic gods, and also a coin for Thor, followed by issues for Loki, Tyr, and Heimdall.
Each of these Cook Islands coins has a mintage of 1,000 coins. Antonello Galletta, owner of Powercoin in Italy, which distributes all of the Nordic gods series, said that this series is distributed by a German company, MDM.
Odin was a complex and enigmatic character in Norse mythology and literature, was chief of the Aesir tribe of gods, and his kingdom was known as the Asgard.
He had a tendency to disguise himself and is often depicted wearing a mask, a long hat, and a green coat. He is known as the king of the gods as well as the god of war and death, a sky god, and the god of wisdom and poetry. He was often accompanied by his wolves and ravens.
A different series, first announced last August, called “Legends of Asgard” was issued by the Choice Mint on behalf of Tokelau and was struck by the highly regarded Helvetic Mint in Switzerland. Choice Mint was founded last year by Brian Tully and Doug Beyers, who also own the U.S. coin dealership Choice Bullion.
This series also began with an Odin coin, dated 2016, but this one is made of three ounces of silver, has a 1,500-coin mintage, and has its serial numbers laser-etched on the edge.
Most notably, it uses what Choice calls “max relief,” an innovative approach to high-relief minting that has a depth of 3.5 millimeters. Typically, high and ultra-high relief coins achieve a maximum depth of 2 millimeters.