May 5, 2016 – The Milestones of Mankind 2016 – Egyptian Labyrinth coin, produced by Coin Invest Trust for the Cook Islands, unites so many highlights that it might itself become a milestone of modern numismatics. It shows the Egyptian Labyrinth of the German polymath Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) in great wealth of detail.
Aerial view of the Medinet Habu Temple of Ramses III where the labyrinth was located under ground. Photograph: ThomasSD / Wikimedia Commons.
Already in the ancient world, the Egyptian Labyrinth was known as an architectural world wonder. Located in the temple area of the Pyramid of Amenemhat III (1844-1797 BC) in the Faiyum Oasis in Hawara, the labyrinth, which according to the Greek geographer Herodotus consisted of 12 magnificent roofed courtyards and 3000 lavishly decorated rooms altogether, served as the last resting place for rulers and holy crocodiles. Since Roman times, the labyrinth had been used as a quarry so that not much was left of it by the time of its excavation around 1900.
The most widely known reconstruction of the labyrinth by Athanasius Kircher is complemented on the coin by a central micro-labyrinth, which is playable thanks to a miniscule ball. Even the boxing reflects the issue’s theme as all of the 999 boxes of the limited edition put together form a labyrinth.
Cook Islands / 10 Dollars / silver .999 / 50 mm / 50 g / Design: Coin Invest Trust / Mintage: 999.
The obverse shows the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Elizabeth II of England, also her name, the title of the issuing nation as well as the nominal value.
The reverse depicts the Egyptian Labyrinth of Athanasius Kircher and features a playable micro-labyrinth inlay in the centre. Engraved are the inscriptions MILESTONES OF MANKIND, EGYPTIAN LABYRINTH, and the year of issue.
Using CIT’s own innovative smarminting© technology permitted to achieve a heretofore unseen relief height and sharpness, and perfectly carved out details.
The coin was minted by using CIT’s own innovative smarminting© technology. The result is a heretofore unseen relief height and sharpness, and perfectly carved out details. B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich minted the coins.
All boxes of the 999 pieces limited edition together form a labyrinth.
For the Cook Islands, Coin Invest Trust has coupled the Egyptian Labyrinth of Athanasius Kircher with a fully functional micro-labyrinth inlay on its Milestones of Mankind 2016 – Egyptian Labyrinth coin. The new smartminting© technology allows for an unprecedented relief height, sharpness, and precision of detail. All boxes of the 999 pieces limited edition together form a labyrinth.
Further information is available on the Coin Invest Trust website.
Recently an archaeological expedition scanned the remains of the labyrinth in Egypt. You can learn more about this project on the official website.