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Niue 2008 Amber Road or Route #1 - Kaliningrad Konigsburg $5 Gold Proof with Amber Cabochon Jewel

Price: $1,199.95 $999.95
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51380
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Product Description

A huge amber jewel helps trace the ancient Roman Amber Route from the Baltic to Italy in precious GOLD on this new, ultra-low-mintage series!


Sold out at the Mint!This interesting coin is the first 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.

Demand for the first issue in the silver Amber Route series was overwhelming! The mint sold out on pre-release and we were allocated - that  is, our allotment was slashed to a fraction of what we originally ordered. We subsequently sold out in short order as well. We have been again allocated with the gold series. Therefore, we strongly suggest that if you want this extremely low mintage gem in precious gold at our incredible wholesale price that you act now. This is the first gold coin ever minted by the Mint of Poland with an amber jewel. There are only 2,000 in the world and it is already sold out at the mint. For more information please see the "Investment Note" lower on this page.

Looking at this coin, it immediately strikes one as different from most modern commemoratives:

The landmark Königsburg Castle circa 1910, seat of the kings of East Prussia•  It has an antique-style design, echoing its topic (form follows function);
•  The design is both intricate and out-of-the-ordinary;
•  Most obviously, there is a huge amber cabochon on the obverse!

As a friend from Canada exclaimed when he first laid eyes on this beauty, "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 Kaliningrad (Prussian Königsburg)

This is the first entry in the ongoing Amber Route coin program. Each coin is minted by the Mint of Poland (Mennica Polska, the Warsaw Mint) and will feature a different destination or stop on the famed Amber Road of ancient Rome. 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!

The 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 A modern but historically accurate replica of a Roman pugio or long dagger in its sheathdecoration. 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 this coin!

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

Kaliningrad (Königsburg)
This city of Kaliningrad stands on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Its city center skyline is dominated by the tall profile of Königsburg Castle. Kaliningrad has an interesting history. Today, it is the capital and largest city of the Kaliningrad Oblast, the westernmost part of Russia. Interestingly, Kaliningrad is an isolated Russian enclave, with no land connection to the rest of Russia! In fact, Kaliningrad lies just north of Poland and is actually west of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia).

At the time of the Romans, the Germanic tribe of the Goths held the Tuwangste Fortress on the site of the later Königsburg Castle, which was originally built as a fortress of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, eventually becoming the residence of the Grandmasters of the order. Later, Königsburg (literally, "the king's town" or "city of the king") would become the capital of East Prussia, with the castle serving as palace and primary residence of the Hohenzollern rulers. Kaiser Wilhelm I was crowned in the castle church in 1861. As such, it boasted an extensive and renowned library collection and a museum with nearly 240,000 artifacts! Unfortunately, this magnificent and historic structure was severely damaged at the end of the Second World War in the battle for Königsburg, with the ruins being leveled in 1968, as part of a Soviet de-Prussianization initiative ordered by Leonid Brezhnev.

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

The Mystery of the Amber Room
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 The original Amber Room from the Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, a gift from Prussia to Czar Peter the GreatII", 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 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!
Investment Note
Each coin in the Gold Amber Route program has a total mintage of only 2,000, which is extraordinarily low for any gold piece struck by the mint of Poland. Consider the Mint's recent 2008 Beijing Olympics 200 Zl Gold Proof. It had a total mintage of 13,500 (nearly seven times the mintage of the Amber Route Gold Proof), and sold out very quickly at the Mint! Taking into account the Gold Amber Route's large size (it's the same size as a standard Polish 200 Zl gold proof, the largest gold commemorative currently minted by Mennica Polska), the interesting theme from antiquity, the intricacy and beauty of the design, and the large amber A modern but historically accurate replica of a Roman pugio or long dagger and its sheathjewel, we feel that this is a great buy-and-hold for any numismatic portfolio. Finally, consider the track record of the 2008 Silver Amber Route - Kaliningrad coin! It sold out at the mint on prerelease and now trades for about triple its issue price.

Click here for other great gold coins!

Obverse
An intricately-engraved depiction of the magnificent Königsburg Castle sits behind a Roman coin and pugio (dagger), with a large cabochon of Polish amber to the right. The legends KALININGRAD 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 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 5 Dollars
Weight 15.50 g
Diameter 27.00 mm
Mintage Limit 2,000
   
Finish Proof with Amber Cabochon
Composition .900 Fine Gold
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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