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Modern Coin Mart has partnered with the renowned Commonwealth Mint to bring not one, but three, gorgeous coins issued by Fiji that feature stunning Eagle designs with a striking Ruthenium blackened finish that truly allows the fearsome eagle to pop off the coin. Keep reading to learn more about the three releases and their prolific designer, Joel Iskowitz.
The large bird of prey, the eagle, is a common emblematic design found on coins issued around the world. Various species of eagles can be found across several continents and many countries have adapted the fearsome bird to be symbols of their countries and national values. For example, the United States Mint’s Silver and Gold Eagle series, which feature the American Bald Eagle and the Perth Mint’s Wedge-Tailed Eagle series, which features their largest bird of prey, the titular Wedge-Tailed eagle. Due to the popularity of the fearsome creature, any innovative or dynamic designs that feature the bird, are often highly anticipated by numismatic enthusiasts around the world.
Now, ModernCoinMart has partnered with the renowned Commonwealth Mint to bring an exciting twist on a classic image. We are pleased to be the exclusive distributors of not one, but three gorgeous Joel Iskowitz designed coins that feature a stunning Ruthenium blackened finish that truly allows the fearsome eagle to pop off the coins.
Three different issues are included in this first ever Fiji Ruthenium Plated Blackened Eagle Proof series: a 1 oz. Ruthenium plated Silver Proof issue with a mintage of 20,000, a 1 oz. Ruthenium Plated Silver Gilt Proof issue with design devices plated in gold with a mintage of 10,000, and finally a mammoth Ruthenium plated Silver Proof 5 oz. issue with a scant mintage of 999 coins. The coins are all struck on .999 fine silver blanks and feature the same remarkable Joel Iskowitz design.
Both the obverse and reverse designs were crafted by renowned metallic designer Joel Iskowitz. His contribution to this series is more than notable because he previously designed coins for the United States Mint. More to follow on Mr. Iskowitz, his fruitful career, and his stunning design.
The obverse of the coins feature the Fiji Coat of Arms flanked by the dramatic portrait of an Eagle in ¾ profile, allowing the holder to get an up close and personal view of the Eagle’s head. The detail in its eye is particularly stunning.
The reverses feature an “action shot” of the eagle. Its design captures the energy of an Eagle descending from the sky, talons extended, mere seconds from seizing his prey. The fields of the coin are plated with black Ruthenium, giving the design a stunning dramatic effect. He soars over a mountainous background.
Joel Iskowitz is a former U.S Mint designer who participated in the United States Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) from 2005 until 2018. Many are probably familiar with his work as he has created more designs for U.S Mint coins than any other designer in U.S Mint history.
He designed 54 medals and coins for the United States Mint, including entries in the American Proof Platinum Eagle series, the First Spouse Gold series, numerous U.S. Commemorative issues, and many Quarter Dollar reverses across both the 50 States and Territories series as well as the America the Beautiful series. He was even granted the title of “Master Designer of the United States Mint.” Other notable accomplishments of his include the “Professional Life” addition of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial Series which featured an important aspect of each part of the former President’s life.
Most recently, he designed the reverse of both the 2019 Lowell National Historical Park Quarter and the 2019 War in the Pacific National Historical Park Quarter. He also designed numerous commemorative issues including the obverse of the Marshalls Service 225th anniversary commemorative clad dollar and the obverse of the 2017 Lions Club commemorative silver dollar.
On top of all his designs for the United States Mint, Joel Iskowitz has also crafted designs for stamps, books, and numerous paintings that are on display in the White house, Pentagon, and Capitol Building among many other renowned institutions like the Kennedy Space Center Museum.
Perhaps one of his most notable accomplishments, Joel Iskowitz is the only American to date that has created a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that has appeared on coins issued by the Commonwealth Mint.
To learn more about Joel Iskowitz and his prolific career, check out this interview from last year when one of our writer's Louis Golino spoke with the designer!
Ruthenium is a platinum group metal with the symbol RU and atomic number 44. It is one of the rarest metals on our planet and is often found in conjunction with other platinum metals and as the byproduct of nickel refining. The metal can be used in the manufacturing of electronics, solar cells, and in the production of chlorine, ammonia, and acetic acid. As you know now, it can also be applied to coins, acting as plating.
When applied to a coin, Ruthenium appears black, giving a stunning visual contrast to the design. All three coins in the series have had the metal applied to both their obverse and reverse, so both of Joel Iskowitz’s stunning designs pop off the coin.
The Commonwealth Mint & Philatelic Bureau Limited is a U.K. based enterprise that produces collectible commemorative coins and stamps for collectors. They also act as a contract mint producing coins for circulation for small countries including many British CommonWealths. They are known for their high quality of work, efficiency,.
Fiji is a small South Pacific archipelago of more than 300 islands with a scant population of 850,000 located north east of Australia and north of New Zealand. It is known for rugged landscapes, idyllic beaches, palm trees and spectacular coral reefs.
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