A Different Mercury Coin
With all the focus on the release today of the 2016-W gold Mercury dime, properly called Winged Liberty or Liberty Head dime as numismatists know, collectors may not be aware that a different Mercury coin is also going to be released soon.
It is the second release in the Mint of Poland’s solar system series, which debuted last year with the issuance of the popular 2015 moon coin. These pieces are issued under the legal authority of Niue, and the 2016 coin features the planet Mercury, which is the smallest planet and the one closest to the sun.
Like the moon coin the new issue, which is expected to be available in May, will be dome shaped and comes with an antique finish, but for the Mercury issue it will be a yellow-colored antique finish to resemble the color of the planet.
In addition, the Mercury coin is embedded with a small piece of a real meteorite like the moon issue was. In this case it is the NWA8409 meteorite found in Northwest Africa, specifically in Morocco in 2013. This particular meteorite is worth $3,000 for one gram, and the fragment on the coin is worth about $70.
The reverse of the coin is convex-shaped and depicts the surface of the planet and has the meteorite fragment, while the obverse is concave and has a rather small effigy of Queen Elizabeth II like all Commonwealth coins as well as lots of surface details of the planet.
The mintage is just 666 pieces, and the coin comes in a wooden display box with a certificate of authenticity.
Coins depicting planets, meteorites, and other subjects related to astronomy and space have become very popular in recent years, as I explained in my article in the September issue of Coin World magazine (http://www.coinworld.com/news/world-coins/2015/09/space-themed-world-coins-more-popular-than-ever.html).
While there is never any guarantee, these coins also have a rather solid track record with the best example being a 2009 Cook Islands moon coin that is now worth 10 times its issue price.
The Mercury coin is available from sellers such as the Coin Shoppe (www.thecoinshoppe.ca), a Canadian company that ships frequently to the U.S. via Niagara Falls, and on eBay. The coin is priced at about $200 at the Coin Shoppe, while recent eBay sales have been about 10% higher at $220 and $230. Don’t be surprised if the coin reaches higher prices in the coming weeks.
The next coins in this series will depict Mars in 2017 and the Earth in 2018. With one coin a year and an impressive level of detail on these coins as well as their shape, low mintage, and rare meteorite fragments, the solar system series is shaping up to be a winner as well as an interesting and coherent set of coins.