November 9, 2017 – Desert nomads in the Erg Chech, near Taoudenni in Mali, witnessed a spectacular event in early July 2007. Accompanied by loud detonations and clouds of smoke, a meteorite hit the earth, spreading 100 kg of rock over a 20 km long strewn field. The meteorite, today known as Chergach, belongs to the class of chondrites, composed of the oldest and heaviest elements of our solar system. Encased in the rock mass are not only metals but also countless small silicate grains.
“Meteorite Impact – Chergach”, created by CIT.
A real fragment of this meteorite is embedded in each of the “Chergach Meteorite” coins, designed by CIT for the Cook Islands. Just like the spectacular “Tamdakht Meteorite Strike” from 2016, the “Chergach” coin is a deliberate overstrike. Compared to its predecessor the concave deformity is even more pronounced, making it appear as if having countless cracks. The coin imitates a meteorite impact and its resulting crater.
Cook Islands / 2 Dollars / Silver .999 / 1/2 oz / 38.61mm / Mintage: 2500.
The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Elizabeth II of England next to a breakthrough, as well as the name of the issuing nation, nominal value, and the year of issue. Due to the ragged relief, the reverse looks like a crater with a breakthrough in the centre.
The coins combine several minting technologies. First, a convex-concave coin is deliberately overstruck to create a breakthrough which imitates the impact. The realization of that alone is technically very challenging. After creating the overstrike, which is responsible for the natural-looking crater landscape, a special finish is applied on the crater side of the coin, enhancing the plasticity of the representation.
The exciting obverse is not simply produced in proof-like quality but, in a complex technical process, made to evoke the slightly grainy texture of the warm, golden Sahara sand.
The coins were minted by B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH. Collectors can purchase the issues through specialty dealers.
Please find more information on these coins here.
Interesting facts about the Chergach are gathered at the website of The Meteoritical Society.
To view pictures of large Chergach meteorite rocks, visit the site of Meteorite Recon.