Many world mints offer coin series which feature representations of the animals of the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. One such series which recently caught my eye is offered by the Republic of Belarus with the coins struck by the Mint of Poland.
In a previous post, I had showcased some issues from the Belarusian Folk Legends series which I had added to my collection. Similar to those coins, the Belarus Chinese Lunar Calendar series coins feature very intricate and distinctive designs.
The series appears to have started recently with a 2012-dated issue representing the Year of the Snake. The reverse design features a stylized image of a snake coiled into a spiral, with a gold plated Chinese hieroglyph at center. Around the image are spirals, stars, an ornamental pattern, and an inscription which translates to “The Year of the Snake”. The overall design and the spiral effect fit well with the circular shape of the coin.
The obverse design, seems like it will be used with slight variation throughout the series, features an intricate arrangement representing the passage of time. At center, there is a depiction of the sun, the moon, the inner gears of a clock, and the hands of a clock with a cubic zirconia gem inlaid at the base. The twelve years within the calendar cycle appear surrounding. Various elements of the design and the “2013” year are gold plated. The metal purity of “Ag 925” and the “2012” date appear around the edge with additional inscriptions which translate to “The Republic of Belarus” and “20 Rubles”.
The latest release for the Year of the Horse features a fanciful depiction of two horses coming to meet at the center of the coin where a gold plated Chinese hieroglyph appears. The design is completed with ornate patterns at the border and stars in the field.
The obverse of the coin carries the same basic design of the prior year, with the central gem colored orange and the “2014” date highlighted in gold.
I have added both of these coins to my collection and will likely stay on board for the entire series.