The obverse shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, below the inscription QUEEN ELIZABETH II ISLE OF MAN 2019 / FIVE POUNDS in the hub of a Celtic cross, of which the beams and the surrounding ring are adorned with Celtic interlace decoration.
The reverse is dedicated to King Manannán: It shows him in front of the Celtic cross in full armor, down on one knee, with his head humbly lowered. In front of him, he holds his sword, Fragarach, on which the triskelion of the Isle of Man can be seen. On the left arm, he carries the victory-bringing shield. Above, is the inscription MANANNÁN / 1st KING OF MAN.
In 2019 the Isle of Man dedicates a spectacular commemorative coin to their name-giving hero, the Warrior-King Manannán. Manannán is the trickster of Celtic mythology, the hero, who, with his great ideas, inspired even the gods to succumb. As the son of the sea god Ler, he disposes of an abundance of magical objects, which he generously lends to the heroes leaving for battle. These include his sword named Fragarach (“the answerer”), his horse Enbarr of the flowing mane, his ship Scuabtuinne (“wave sweeper”), that flies over the sea without sail and oar, and his coat, that with the help of the magical fog Feth fiada (“mist of the Lord”) renders one invisible and invulnerable.
Manannán is a hero that appears in many Celtic myths and often introduces a decisive turn of events, but seldom plays the central part. Even if he guards the way to the world-beyond and supports the dead on their way to the afterworld, he does not display his power, but humbly steps back to leave the stage to others. The depiction of him on the commemorative coin thus shows him kneeling, head-lowered, and has his face concealed by a helmet.
Thanks to smartminting technology, the sculpture of the hero of Eirinn and the first king of Mannin (“Isle of Man”) has become a small, three-dimensional piece of art that inspires the viewer to dream of mythical times, during which a single honest man, with the help of the gods, was able to turn the destiny of the world toward a better future.
To learn more about the coin, please click here.