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Beginning in 2004, a collaboration between Coin Invest Trust (CIT) in Lichtenstein and B.H. Mayer, a Mint in Germany resulted in the array of unbelievable coinage known as the Tiffany Art Coin Series. The combination of CIT’s high-quality coin designs and concepts, the Mayer Mint’s top-notch minting standards and the inclusion of authentic Tiffany Glass Art on every coin has resulted in true numismatic beauty. No modern world coin series has received as many Krause Coin of the Year awards as the coins this Tiffany Art series.
The coins have grown to such popularity, that early issues are demanding prices that have been increased by thousands of dollars from their original price! No other modern coin series has seen so many early issues increase so much in value on the secondary market.
This impressive, collectible coin series is the brainchild of Thomas Ryser, a CIT employee who was interested in the stained glass used in Tiffany lamps and windows. This stunning artwork was originally created by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), an art nouveau artist with a worldwide following. Louis was the son of Charles Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany and Co.
Ryser came up with the idea of inserting pieces of iridescent Tiffany glass on coins that showcase the different artistic styles of important architectural landmarks from various periods of history. The glass is inserted into a window within the structure featured on each side the coin, and each issue has two pieces of Tiffany glass with a different color for each release. Since no two pieces of this special glass are the same, each coin is unique. Moreover, the window is integrated into the design, which when combined with the other features of the coin creates a 3D effect - as if one were looking at the actual building!
The 2017 issue was released early in the year, and it depicts the Wells Cathedral - an Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset in the U.K. This building is considered the first truly gothic art building ever constructed. Built around 1310, the church is dedicated to Saint Andrew the Apostle and is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful and poetic of English cathedrals. Unlike other English medieval cathedrals that combine different artistic styles, Wells features architecture that is harmonious and entirely gothic.
Gothic art is a style of medieval art that began during the 12th century in Northern France, succeeding the Romanesque style, which spread throughout Europe. It continued until the 16th century, when it was supplanted by Renaissance art. Gothic art was used not just in architecture but also in many other forms of art such as frescos, sculptures, stained glass and illuminated manuscripts.
The Wells Cathedral is the best example of what is known as decorated gothic art and architecture, which features a geometric and flowing design style, tall interior columns, and ribbed vault and window tracery which can be seen on the coin. The beauty of the Lady Chapel is shown on the coin’s obverse, while the reverse shows a fine depiction of the Chapter House. Like the previous issues in this impressive series, these designs feature remarkable artwork and very intricate designs that bring out the beauty and artistic flourishes of the buildings depicted.
Each 2017 Palau Tiffany Art - Wells Cathedral Silver Antiqued $10 coin is struck from 2 oz. of .999 silver over a large diameter of 50 mm. The impressive detail on each coin is accomplished through a marvelous, fully-struck high relief design. It is enhanced even further with an antiqued finish, which is skillfully applied over the entire surface of the coin. Only 999 of these impressive coins were struck!
In addition to the popular 2 oz. version with a mintage of 999 coins, there is also a 1 kilo-sized, $50 coin with a limited mintage of just 99 pieces. This second, larger size has been used since 2014 when it was first introduced. Both versions are available from MCM, in very limited quantity.
According to CIT, the striking and die preparation for just one side of each release can take an entire week, which gives an idea of the care and attention to detail that goes into making these coins. The coins are issued as legal tender under the authority of the Pacific Island nation of Palau.
In recent years, other Mints have produced series of coins commemorating art and architecture in an attempt to compete with the success of the Tiffany Art series. However, none one of them can compete with the sheer popularity of CIT’s Tiffany Art series. The company has firmly established its series’ position at the top of this genre of collectible coins and is constantly improving its minting technology.
One of the most notable technological improvements since last year’s issue is the addition of Smartminting© . A revolutionary technology from CIT, Smartminting© allows coins to be struck with wide diameters and detailed, ultra high relief – all while using less silver. This is done by reducing the thickness of the coin, and transferring that silver to the devices or diameter.
The second improvement is the addition of a special, micro-engraved security feature dubbed “SeQrySign” (Security, Quality and Design). This tiny hallmark cannot be reproduced by counterfeiters. As long as you see it, you can rest assured that your Tiffany coin is authentic.
No other coin series about art and architecture achieves the minting standards or aesthetic appeal of the Tiffany Art coins, which will continue to remain in demand all over the world. In addition to their sheer attractiveness, these coins help provide the owner with a greater appreciation of the major artistic styles of the past and of iconic architectural landmarks around the world.
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|