2021 Austrian €100 Gold of the Incas
- August 26, 2021
From the 13th to the 16th centuries, the Incas ruled over a huge, highly developed empire made up of hundreds of Andean tribes, the origins of which were derived from a sacred place, star or animal. The official religion was the sun cult. Temples dedicated to the sun were built throughout the realm, which at its peak stretched from Ecuador in the north to parts of Chile and western Argentina in the south. The best known is the Coricancha, which was located in Cusco in present-day Peru, the political, military and administrative centre of the Inca empire. Unfortunately, the temple, and little else besides, did not survive the Spanish conquest of the late-sixteenth century.
So in awe of the sun were the Incas that they believed gold to be its tears and a representation of the sun’s regenerative powers. This may explain why gold had a purely spiritual meaning for the Incas and why they were such skilled goldsmiths. The smelting and crafting of gold were religious rituals for the Incas, who crafted incomparable works of art with the precious metal. Their sun temples were decorated with gold, which is even believed to have adorned the walls, both exterior and interior. Among the living, only the ruler was allowed to wear gold jewellery as proof that he was of divine birth – a descendent of the sun god himself, no less.
The coin’s obverse features a stylised lama in the centre, which is modelled on gold offerings. Behind it stands an opening in a highly decorative wall, a reference to the Coricancha, the ‘Golden Temple’. To the right is a deity with tears rolling down his cheeks. A Quipu, or knot record, the system used by the Incas to communicate information and keep records, is shown on the bottom left.
The coin’s reverse shows an Oréjon, a golden votive offering of an Inca nobleman, against an ornamental background. The figure’s distended earlobes are the result of the earpieces typically worn by the Incas.
All six coins in the Magic of Gold series feature ancient art treasures and the word ‘gold’ is written on each of them in the respective script of the culture they explore: Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, the Incas, the Scythians, India and China.
Weight: 1/2 ounce – 15,56 g
Condition: Proof quality
Each coin comes in a box with a numbered certificate of authenticity
Sources: Austrian Mint and NUMISMAG