Description of the Coin
Inspired by the coins of ancient Syracuse, one side features the head of the nymph Arethusa facing left, and around her are two small dolphins. Below is the text CI for Cook Islands.
The other side features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley (initials: IRB). Around it are the name of the ruler, the issuing nation, and the denomination. The 250-dollar gold coin also features weight and precious metal content.
CIT has been issuing its successful “Numismatic Icons” series since 2020, re-inventing ancient coin motifs in a modern style. The fourth issue is dedicated to the spring nymph Arethusa. She illustrates the Greek belief that the wonders of nature were divine gifts.
When the Corinthian settlers were looking for a site for their new city of Syracuse, they chose the peninsula of Ortygia, which had a freshwater spring. This meant that the water supply was guaranteed even during a siege. The Syracusans considered the fact that there was fresh water on a peninsula surrounded by the sea a divine miracle, a gift from the spring nymph Arethusa. They ritually worshipped the spring and offered rich sacrifices. It was only later that poets developed a complex myth linking the spring of Arethusa to the forefather of all fresh waters, the river god Alpheus.
For several centuries, the image of Arethusa adorned the coins of the city of Syracuse. Her head, with ever-changing hairstyles, was designed by the greatest artists. The most beautiful coins of all time were produced with these dies, which were, for example, created by Kimon.
CIT has set a numismatic monument to this icon of Greek coinage. The modern descendants of Kimon made use of state-of-the-art smartminting technology and an elaborate Antique finish patina treatment. Three versions of this issue will be released: The classic silver coin, an extremely beautiful gold version, and a small gold coin, which has been part of the series since 2022.
If you want to experience all three dimensions of this coin, you have to watch the corresponding film: