Mongolia 2013 Argali-Ovis Ammon 500 Togrog Silver Coin

A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing?

The extremely popular Mongolian Endangered Wildlife Series has just released their 2013 design: The Ovis Ammon.

For those who haven’t been following the series, it started in 2007 with the Gulo Gulo (Wolverine), which features Swarovski crystals (a luxury brand of Austrian crystals) for eyes and quickly rose in price.

The coins are .999 silver, have a face value of 500-tögrög or tugrik (about a third of a dollar), and include 1 ounce of the old Ag (silver).  The finish is a kind of sandblasted antique finish.

The gulo gulo now sells for somewhere between $1500-$3000.  With a mintage of 2500, demand is very high on the series, but enough people seem to be interested in arbitrage that a healthy amount of these coins seem to always be for sale.

The Gulo Gulo won Coin of the Year in 2009.  With a trademark artistic flair for a smashed-animal face fitting into the whole of the front of the coin, the series was developed by a company named Coin Invest and by all accounts is issued by the National Bank of Mongolia.  There was a two year break and the next minted coin, the Ural Owl was released in 2011.  The Owl was the 2013 “Most Popular Coin” winner.  2012 saw the release of the long-eared hedgehog, which quickly sold out.  Prices for the owl jumped to between 800$-1200 since the hedgehog’s release (they were hovering around $400 last year).

Now, the 2013 release features the ovis ammon- the massive mountain sheep of central Asia.  The male Ram has a head that hold’s nearly 10% of his bodyweight, and as an herbivore that lives up to 19,000 feet in elevation, it is a natural for the series.  It’s enemies (besides poachers), feature leopards and wolves, but if you’ve seen the snow leopard try to take one down in the BBC Planet Earth series, then you know that they are really only endangered by people.

Since the previous coins have sold out so fast, this issue has been priced higher and the pre-sales have seen the price soar to close to $600 (about twice the hedgehog).

For those that collect coins, it’s easy to see why.  There simply aren’t coins this impressive that come along very often.  To test the theory, show somebody who doesn’t collect a picture of one of these, and the response usually ranges from awe to laughter.  These are magnificent works of art, and while we wait to see if the hedgehog makes it 3 coins in a row with Coin of the Year honors, the Ovis Ammon (sheep), has come out strong.  Most of the sellers offering pre-sales have sold out, and for those considering them on the secondary market, two things are essential: the ability to avoid sticker price shock, and the fortitude to handle copious envy.

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  1. Bradley Gross says

    Great article Gabriel! I recently got into coin collecting and found this very insightful. I haven’t decided if I’m going to purchase the Ovis on the secondary market, but I’m not surprised that the price has risen so quickly. Anyway, thank you for a wonderful article.


  2. Schalk says

    It amazes me how popular this series is and what prices people are prepared to pay for the coins! The Argali is right up there with it’s design and is growing on me. I have noticed that others have now also jumped on the band wagon of antique finished coins:

    – Red Squirrel (Palau: 2012)
    – Kina the Spiny Anteater (Papua New Guinea: 2012)
    – Predatory Mammals – Lutra (Fiji: 2012)

    Although these new series are already commanding higher prices, I suspect that they will never reach the same desirability as the Mongolian coins that clearly have an edge on design.

  3. Sam H says

    So how does one go about buying on these, other than the secondary market? does the Mongolian mint sale direct to the public?

  4. G says

    I think the company Coin Invest allots them to distributors. All of the distributors seem to be coin companies in Europe. Some of these (powercoin in Italy and pariscoin in France) also sell on ebay. Coin Invest Trust is based out of Liechtenstein, and they marketed the coin and accepted the Coin of the Year Award. They are the company that you have to partner with to get the coins, and from what I’ve read, it’s similar to the way the US Mint distributes bullion through authorized resellers.

  5. G says

    Schalk: it will be interesting to see how the other antique finish coins do. I also have to admit this design really grew on me. I actually like it and the hedgehog the most, I think… but the owl is really nice as well. Then there’s the wolverine…

  6. Frankie says

    I’ll give this a miss unless I can buy it for close to issue price. EUR350 what some dealers charge is just nuts imho.

    I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed, MCM is the official distributor for a 1oz lunar bullion by Tokelau which has a 50k mintage and apparently is the first one they ever issued:
    It can be bought from their website for less than from fleabay.
    Personally, I like the design and since you can get it for very close to bullion I wouldn’t miss out as a bullion and/or lunar coin collector. Since it’s the first it’s bound to increase in value down the road. The mintage is also low for a bullion coin.

  7. zeman says

    I mention that before that i could have bought the Mongolia 2013 coin for 299 Euro, but still didnot agree with the high price, at that price i will keep my fiat currency, good call on the Tokelau coin Frankie.

  8. Schalk says

    Gabriel, the last sentence in your article runs very true 🙂

    I managed to buy the Gulo Gulo a couple of years ago for less than $100.00, the Owl for $111.00 and the Hedgehog for $175.00 – all from Euro Collections – but I am hesitant to speculate on their price for the Argali.

    I am also curious as to how the other antique finished coins will do in future. I do like the Lutra coin. I am not sure whether Coin Invest Trust minted any of them as their are no info on their site and the only Country they have minted for in the past is Palau.

    I also find it very hard to choose between the Mongolian coins – but I do have a favourite and that is the hedgehog.

  9. hw says

    Thanks Michael for bringing this to my attention. I didn’t know about these coins. I think they are very “unique”. The swarovski crystal adds to the design. I picked one up at Paris Coins for 361 Euros. Around $482.

  10. Saucexx says

    I love the designs but the cost is way out my ballpark. I’m skeptical that these prices will hold over the long term too.

    As a side note, my GF who has NO interest in coins told me to buy the Owl when she saw it. Of course when I mentioned the price…………………..

  11. saucexx says

    Hah! It’s not like it’s a diamond!

    Seriously, She asked me to buy the owl because she LOVES owls. I have a whole house full of them.

  12. G says

    It looks like the prices have gone up slightly in the past few weeks. I don’t see any for below 600$ now.

  13. Bob A says

    I just rolled the dice for one of these. Just had to. Didn’t tell the wife, especially considering I can buy 13 kooks for this price. But heck, I’m a gambling man, and bought one here ( earlier today for about 349.00 (eur) and now it it is up to $449.00. Wow. But at the end of the day it is 1 oz of sliver, and last I checked spot was under 29.00. But like a Michael Angelo painting, people pay up. 🙂

  14. M says

    Mongolia doesn’t have a mint. These are developed by CIT and distributed via Wholesale. Various world mints strike these.

  15. J Weir says

    Need to find who minted the 2014 Wildlife Protection coin, the Otocolobus Manul
    Mine is missing its right eye.
    Appreciate any help in this regard.
    I have contacted Swarovski but haven’t received much assistance.

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