World Coins

Spain honors painter Hieronymous Bosch on coins

Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch is the latest subject of commemorative coins from Spain to celebrate artwork in Spanish museums.

To mark the 500th anniversary of his death, the Royal Spanish Mint is issuing its first square color coin. The square coin is component of a set of three quadrangular silver coins with scenes from Bosch’s most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights

A gold €400 coin completes the Treasures of Spanish Museums IV program; it depicts parts of two other of Bosch’s works, The Haywain Tripytch and The Temptation of Saint Anthony.

All three masterpiece paintings are housed in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Three Proof .999 fine silver coins, available only in the set, compose a triptych depicting The Garden of Earthly Delights.

The painting dates from between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was between about 40 and 60 years old, and is his best-known and most ambitious surviving work.

The three scenes of the inner triptych, three panel series, are probably (but not necessarily) intended to be read chronologically from left to right.

The two outer panels are depicted on €25 coins measuring 60 millimeters tall and 30 millimeters wide, with the center coin twice as wide as the coins depicting the outside panels and denominated €50.

The left panel (and thus the left coin) depicts a scene from paradise, the Garden of Eden, as God presents Eve to Adam.

The central panel is a broad panorama of socially engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit and hybrid stone formations. 

In the right panel is a vision of hells, replete with portrayals of the torments of damnation.

The reverse of each silver coin identifies the country, year of issue and the program name (all in Spanish), with a central vignette composed of part of the scene that is in color on the obverse. 

The Proof .999 fine gold €400 on its obverse shows the central panel of The Haywain Tripytch, a work that, like The Garden of Earthly Delights, has heaven and hell/good and evil as its overarching theme.

The reverse of the gold coin shows the Temptation of St. Anthony, a work long attributed to Bosch. In 2016, researchers “downgraded” the work, claiming it more likely is from the hands of an admirer and not Bosch himself, but the finding was dismissed by Prado Museum officials. 

The silver €25 coins each weigh 67.5 grams while the silver €50 coin weighs 135 grams; the set’s product limit of 2,000 is the mintage limit for each piece. 

The gold €400 coin weighs 27 grams, measures 38 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 1,500 pieces. 

The silver coin set has an official issue price of €480 and the gold coin is released at the official issue price of €1,340.

To order the coins, visit the Royal Spanish Mint webstore

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