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Niue 2008 Amber Road or Route #2 - Gdansk Danzig $1 Silver Dollar with Amber Cabochon Jewel

Price: $129.95 $99.95
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51323
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Product Description

A huge amber jewel helps trace the ancient Roman Amber Route from the Baltic to Italy on this hard-to-find series!

Sold out at the Mint!This large, intriguing coin is the second in a new series tracing the ancient Roman "Amber Road" from the south shore of the Baltic Sea, in northern Europe, all the way to Roman Italy. Looking at this beauty, it immediately strikes one as different from most modern commemoratives:

The historic medieval crane name Zuraw is a significant feature of the harbor of Gdansk or Danzig, Poland.•  It has an antiqued silver finish, underscoring the ancient theme (form follows function);
•  The design is both intricate and out-of-the-ordinary;
•  Most obviously, there is a huge amber cabochon on the obverse, in a deep, almost blood-red, hue!

As a friend from Canada exclaimed when he first laid eyes on the first in the series, "That's one honkin' big jewel there, eh?" Yes, yes it is - the largest amber cabochon (rounded jewel) Poland has ever embedded on one of its coins. Please read on for more information on amber, the amber road, and Gdansk (Prussian Danzig).

This is the second entry in the ongoing Amber Route program. Each coin is minted by the Mint of Poland (the Warsaw Mint) and features a different destination or stop on the famed Amber Road of ancient Rome:
    1)  Kaliningrad (Königsburg), Russia
    2)  Gdansk (Danzig), Poland
    3)  Elblag (Elbing), Poland
    4)  Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland
    5)  Stare Hradisko, Czech Republic
    6)  Szombathely, Hungary
    7)  Roman Carnuntum, Austria
    8)  Aquileia, Italy

Previous coins minted by Poland with an amber jewel have sold out quickly and increased dramatically in price, and we expect this to be no exception. Please see the "Investment Note" lower on this page.

Click here to see the other coins in the Amber Route program!

Amber
A very large lump or nugget of raw amber, in a deep, rich golden orange color, with several fossils preserved in itThe Mint of Poland strikes coins for many smaller countries that don't have their own mints. The Warsaw Mint specializes in applying native Polish materials (including zircon crystal gemstones and fired-clay ceramic) to the coins it mints - in this case, amber. Poland is world famous for the quality of its amber, and in fact produces more amber than any other country, with nearly all washing ashore on its northern, Baltic Sea coast. Amber is the fossilized resin of prehistoric, coniferous trees, and is at least 40 million years old. It is not unusual to find extinct plants, insects, and more rarely larger animals fossilized in amber. These finds created the premise for the Jurassic Park novels and films, in which dinosaurs are genetically resurrected from blood preserved inside ancient, amber-bound mosquitoes.

Click here for more coins with embedded gemstones and jewels!

A modern but historically accurate replica of a Roman pugio or long dagger in its sheathThe Amber Road
Amber is an organic gemstone. As precious as amber is today, it was considered even more rare and desirable in ancient times. The Romans in particular valued it for making jewelry and decoration. Being valuable, it was paid for in precious metal coin and transported by the Roman Army itself in armed caravans made up of horse-drawn carts and protected by legionnaires armed with the gladius (short sword) and pugio (long dagger). The starting point was the current city of Kaliningrad (in Russia), the former Prussian city of Königsburg. As this was outside of the Roman Empire, armed escort was indispensable as the amber transport wound its way through the "barbarian" lands of the north. All of these aspects, from a Roman coin, to the pugio and sheath, to a legionnaire and a covered wagon, are depicted on coins in this program!

Click here for other coins featuring "coin-on-coin" designs!

Gdansk (Danzig)
Today known as Gdansk, Danzig is the principal seaport as well as the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodship of Poland. The city is close to the former boundary between West Slavic and Germanic lands and it has a complex political history, with long spells of Polish rule interspersed with periods of German control and two spells as a free city. For much of its history the majority of its inhabitants were German-speakers who referred to their city as Danzig, but after World War II it again became part of Poland. The German version of Gdansk, "Danzig", has been used by the German population (as well as in English) until the end of World War II.

The statue of the Roman god of the sea, Neptuen, is the emblem of the city of Danzig or Gdansk, Poland, as well as a fountain in the historic city market square.The city lies on the southern edge of the Gdansk Bay of the Baltic Sea, in a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trojmiasto), with a population of over 800,000. Gdansk itself has a population of 458,053, making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland.

Founded in 997 and traditionally an important seaport and shipbuilding center, Gdansk was a member of the Hanseatic League. (To this day many of the buildings in the old town are obviously of this era and design.) Danzig has a long and turbulent history, and has traditionally looked to the sea for its livelihood and source of revenue. It is for this reason that the Roman god of the oceans, Neptune, armed with a trident, is the city's emblem. The statue of Neptune that is found in the central square of the Long Market (depicted on this coin) was designed by Dutch architect and artist Abraham van den Blocke and dates to 1617! Not surprisingly, the chief landmark of the old harbor is the medieval port crane (Polish: krantor), named Zuraw, on the Motlawa river. This historic structure, huge by medieval standards, is depicted on this coin as well.

The ancient and historic Green Gate of the city of Gdansk or Danzig, Poland.Throughout its long history Gdansk faced various periods of rule from different states. Long a stronghold of the Teutonic Knights in the Middle Ages, between the World Wars Gdansk was a Free City, and issued its own coinage, including the rare and famous 25 Gulder gold coins of 1923 and 1930, which also depicted the city's statue of Neptune.

Gdansk is also important to modern Poland, and not just as its principal port. The city was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, under the leadership of Gdansk political activist Lech Walesa, played a major role in bringing an end to Stalinist rule across Central Europe.

Click here for more coins and medals depicting famous landmarks & monuments!

The Mystery of the Amber Room
The original Amber Room from the Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, a gift from Prussia to Czar Peter the Great Amber continued to fascinate the rich and powerful even after the fall of the Roman Empire. Often called the "The World's Greatest Lost Treasure" and "The Greatest Mystery of World War II", the greatest work of amber was an entire room constructed by German and Russian craftsmen in Prussia from 1701 to 1709. This was a complete chamber decorated with panels of solid amber and backed with gold leaf and mirrors for dramatic effect. The room measured about 600 square feet and contained over six tons (!) of amber.

The Amber Room subsequently had a fascinating history. Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the room to his then ally, Czar Peter the Great of Russia, who had it transported to Saint Petersburg. During the Second World War, after the Nazis overran western Russia, they captured the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo. The Amber Room was disassembled and transported to Prussian Königsburg (ironically taking our story, and our amber, full circle).

Here the Amber Room was lost to history when the city fell to the advancing Red Army in 1945. It may have been sunk on a retreating ship, blown to smithereens by aerial bombing, lost in a subterranean mine, storage vault or cave, or simply lost in the battle for the city - theories abound. One rumor places the room in a subbasement in the ruins of Königsburg Castle, sealed there by the Soviets. In 1997, a single Italian stone mosaic that was known to have been part of a set of four which had decorated the Amber Room turned up in the Western Germany with the family of a soldier who had helped pack up the room. Hope for the room's rediscovery was renewed, and the search for the fabled Amber Room continues.

Click here for the more coins and medals commemorating history!

A modern but historically accurate replica of a Roman pugio or long dagger and its sheathInvestment Note
This coin has a total mintage of only 10,000, which is very low for such a reasonably-priced silver coin. Taking into account the large size (nearly 39 mm in diameter - larger than an American or Canadian silver dollar!), the interesting theme from antiquity, the intricacy and beauty of the design, and the large amber jewel, we feel that this is a great buy-and-hold for any numismatic portfolio. Finally, consider the track record of the 2007 Vincent Van Gogh Silver Dollar from Niue, with an identical mintage: it sold out at the mint in about a month and now trades for over $200 in the market. For that matter, consider the first silver coin in this Amber Road series - the Kaliningrad coin now trades for over $200, if you can find it!

Click here for other beautiful silver dollars!

Obverse
An intricately-engraved depiction of the impressive medieval crane Zuraw sits behind a Roman coin and the statue of Neptune in the city's central market square, with a large cabochon of Polish amber to the left. The legends GDANSK and SZLAK BURSZTYNOWY ("Amber Route") complete the design.

Reverse
In the center, a Roman covered wagon pulled by two horses. The bust profile portrait of a Roman legionnaire oversees the transport. These images are superimposed on a map of the Baltic Sea, indicating the coastline and location of Kaliningrad. The legend above reads AMBER ROUTE. A profile portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, titular head of state of Niue, facing right and executed by Ian Rank-Broadley, as well as the date of issue and denomination, are also present.

Click here for the more great coins minted by the Mint of Poland!

Packaging

Each coin is encapsulated and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Specifications
Country Niue Island
Year of Issue 2008
Issuing Authority   Niue Island Monetary Authority
Minted By Mennica Polska, the Mint of Poland
   
Face Value One Dollar
Weight 28.28 g
Diameter 38.61 mm
Mintage Limit 10,000
   
Finish Antiqued or Oxidized Uncirculated with Amber Cabochon
Composition .925 Fine (Sterling) Silver
Edge Plain
Packaging Encapsulated

Niue
Niue is a small island nation in the South Pacific. Although it is completely self-governing and independent, it remains in free association with New Zealand, a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, hence the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its coinage. The country is located about 1,450 miles northeast of New Zealand. It is closest to Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. It is one of the largest coral islands in the world, with a total area of 260 square kilometers. Niueans are predominantly Polynesian; most are bilingual, speaking both Niuean and English.

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