The Perth Mint of Australia has released a new silver proof three coin set celebrating six horses of lore and legend that hold a special place in our hearts and culture. With two horses depicted on the reverse of each coin, the complete set features the Hippocamp, Kelpie, Slepnir, Unicorn, Qilin, and Pegasus.
With the head of a horse and the tail of a sea creature, the hippocamp (or hippocampus) was thought to be the adult form of the common seahorse. Their brave and faithful character made them the ideal partner for the heroes and gods of antiquity.
These mythical creatures were first depicted on coins around four hundred years before the Christian era, powering the chariots of important ancient Greek, Phoenician and Etruscan sea gods including Poseidon. The hippocamp united with its master’s cause, helping many classical heroes to victory on the battlefield. Their strength and loyalty were legendary, and earned them a central place beside the important characters in artists’ depictions of classical tales.
Mythological British tales describe the kelpie as a blue, white, green or black horse spirit, which lives in the rivers and streams of Scotland. With slick wet skin, a dripping mane and tail, the kelpie was a sly creature that would trick its human prey into a watery grave.
Wandering calmly beside a waterway, the kelpie would tempt a weary traveler onto its back. Once mounted, its skin transformed, becoming so sticky, riders were at once trapped; unable to free themselves from the horse’s body. The kelpie immediately charged at great speed into the depths of the water, drowning the rider who was never to be seen again.
Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse found in ancient Norse poetry and mythology. Of tremendous strength and agility, he was given to Odin, father of all the gods and men, who rode him through the air and sea. Sleipnir is the son of Loki, god of mischief, and the great stallion Svaoilfari.
Sleipnir’s eight legs represent the eight directions of the compass. They allowed Odin to travel between the world of the gods, the world of man, and the underworld.
His name refers to the great speed and power which glides him across the Earth.
From the fifth century before the Christian era, sightings of the unicorn in the remote parts of India and Germany have fascinated scholars and artists alike. This graceful white horse, with a single horn spiraling to a point from the middle of its forehead appears in the Bible, art and ancient accounts of natural history.
The unicorn is a wild horse that can be tamed only by a maiden. As a symbol for Christ during the Middle Ages, the search for the unicorn was akin to the quest to find the Holy Grail. Their horns were highly prized, and said to purify water and cure illness. Throughout the years, the unicorn has come to represent purity, strength and courtly love. They continue to appear on coats of arms, symbolizing the potency of nature.
Chinese records from the fifth century before Christianity describe the qilin as a horse-dragon hybrid covered in flames, with a horn protruding from its forehead. Similar to the unicorn in the West, the Eastern qilin is thought to appear directly before or immediately following the passing of a wise ruler. Legend has it that the birth of Confucius was foretold by the arrival of a qilin.
Often dazzling in appearance, the qilin’s body is as bright and colorful as precious metals, stars, fire, water or gemstones. It is a symbol of justice, wisdom and harmony. Through their noble actions, the qilin exemplifies the very best of the human spirit.
Ancient Greek tales describe Pegasus as a white winged horse that sprung to life from the monster Medusa’s head, after it was removed by the hero Perseus. Upon seeing Perseus kill Medusa, her two sisters chased after the hero seeking revenge, whereupon Pegasus lifted Perseus onto his back, flying him away to safety.
A gentle creature, known to be helpful and kind, Pegasus came to symbolize wisdom, fame and the source of creativity used by poets.
Upon his ascent to heaven, as a reward for his service and loyalty, Zeus transformed Pegasus into a constellation, to be forever admired in the night sky.
The obverse of each coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II with an inscription indicating the monetary denomination. The coins are issued as legal tender under the authority of the Government of Tuvalu.
Each of the three coins are struck in 1 troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver to proof quality with a diameter of 40.60 mm. The maximum mintage for each is 1,500 pieces.
The Horses of Lore and Legend Silver Proof Three Coin Set comes in a high gloss black presentation case with illustrated shipper and numbered certificate of authenticity.
For additional information or to place an order, place visit the Perth Mint product page.