Ibex Coins, on behalf of the Republic of Chad, has released the first of an intriguing new series of high-relief silver coins called “Gargoyles and Grotesques.” The subjects, as the name suggests, are those strange and fantastical creatures that have decorated buildings since ancient times, peering from the peaks of gothic windows, crouching on rooftops, and scaring away evil spirits. A specific type of grotesque, the gargoyle, has an architectural purpose: it serves as a downspout, directing rainwater away from the sides of a building. The new series takes a look at these devices on cathedrals and other buildings around the world.
The first coin in the series is “Decay,” one of many gargoyles that ornament the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and help protect the stonework from water damage. “Decay” is the 15th gargoyle from the left above the second row of windows on the south nave. It’s described in the cathedral’s self-tour literature as a “gruesome creation [that] features the skeleton of a winged monster entwined in a snake.” As the description goes on to say, “If you look carefully, you can see the snake crawling out of its eye socket. This image was derived from ancient symbolism to represent ‘man’s awareness of dark forces waiting to devour him.’”
“Decay” is struck in high relief and is available in both a Proof and an antiqued finish. Each coin is Republic of Chad legal tender, denominated 1,000 francs, and has a serial number engraved on the edge. The obverse design shows a chilling view of the gargoyle from below, as if it is springing toward the viewer from the cathedral that towers behind it. On the field above the design is the series name, Gargoyles & Grotesques.
The reverse of the coin depicts the coat of arms of the Republic of Chad: a shield with horizontal, zigzagging lines representing Lake Chad, with the rays of a sun rising above the shield represent new beginnings. The shield is supported at the left and right with a goat (representing the northern part of the country) and a lion (representing the southern part), respectively. From the point of the shield dangles a medal representing the National Order of Chad. Below the shield, a scroll bears the motto UNITE, TRAVAIL, PROGRES (“Unity, Work, Progress”). The legends surrounding the field are REPUBLIQUE DU TCHAD, 1 TROY OZ, 1000 FRANCS CFA, and .999 FINE SILVER. The date, 2017, is below the banner in the field. Above the coat of arms is an interlocking monogram, GG, for “Gargoyles & Grotesques.”
|1,000 francs||.999 silver||31.10 g||38.61 mm||Proof||200|
|1,000 francs||.999 silver||31.10 g||38.61 mm||Antiqued||799|
Each serial-numbered coin comes in a presentation box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The coins are available from Coin Update sponsor First Coin Company. ❑