Their top-ranking coin is the 2016 Women of France / Queen Mathilde 1-ounce, 200 euro gold coin from Monnaie de Paris (shown above). The coin was CoinWeek’s Gold Medal choice because “[its] design expertly balances modern mint techniques with an appropriate reverence for the period it depicts. The intricate use of texture and the heavily stylized artwork does not take away from what is essentially a simple and clean design.”
Of the obverse depiction of “Reine Mathilde,” the mint says, “Around 1050, Matilda of Flanders (c. 1031–1083) married the Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard, who would become William the Conqueror and King of England in 1066 following his victory at the Battle of Hastings.” The reverse depicts imagery from the Bayeux Tapestry, which was “commissioned by Odon de Bayeux (William’s half-brother and bishop of Bayeux from 1049 to 1097), [and] records the events that took place from 1064 to 1066 during the Norman conquest of England. Legend has it that Queen Matilda created the tapestry, assisted by her ladies-in-waiting.”
The first of CoinWeek’s two Silver Medal coins is the 2016 Wildlife in Our Sights / The Fox 16-gram, 100-euro gold coin from the Austrian Mint. “It is the opinion of CoinWeek,” says the website, “that the resulting coin was the best design of an impressive year for the Vienna-based mint. In total, four 2016 Austrian Mint coins appeared in CoinWeek’s Top 10 tally.” (The third coin in the Wildlife series, depicting a European grouse called a capercaillie, is WMNB’s favorite for “best gold coin” in the COTY Awards for best 2015-dated coin.)
The fourth coin in the Wildlife in Our Sights series depicts a single fox on the obverse, and an adult with two fox kits on the reverse. Of the design, the mint writes, “At home in habitats as varied as the edge of the Arctic and the deserts of North Africa, foxes are even a common sight in cities the size of London during the hours of darkness. Foxes have colonized many suburban areas and as settlements have spread, so has the fox. The ability of such a wild animal to live in relative harmony with humans shows the strength of our association with foxes and the affection that many of us have for them.”
To read about the second Silver Medal coin and the Bronze Medal coin, and learn more about the first two selections, check out CoinWeek’s December 14 post, “Queen Matilda, Platinum Eagle Proof Named Two of CoinWeek’s Best Coin Designs of 2016.” ❑
The “Women of France” coins (which currently include both Queen Mathilde and Joan of Arc) are available in both gold and silver, and can be ordered directly from the Monnaie de Paris or from vendors such as APMEX. The “Wildlife in Our Sights” series (100 euro gold only) can be purchased directly from the Austrian Mint, APMEX, and other vendors.