100 euro - The Gold of the Pharaohs
Series: Austria - The Magic of Gold
An aura of mystery surrounds The Gold of the Pharaohs, the second coin in The Magic of Gold series, which traces the mysterious nature of gold in Ancient cultures. Made of pure gold, the ‘flesh of the gods’ and the symbol of eternity in Ancient Egypt, the coin features the death mask of the ‘boy king’, Tutankhamun. More than 3,000 years old, the most celebrated of all the famous burial objects uncovered in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings is still casting its spell in the 21st century. Inscrutable in its beauty, the face of Tutankhamun guards the secret of the Pharaohs and tells the story in pictures of what took place more than 3,000 years ago. In the 14th century BC, Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, declared the sun god, Aten, the one and only god and the Pharaoh his only representative on earth. When Akhenaten died in the seventeenth year of his reign, his successor was still a little boy, but Tutankhamun ascended to the throne just four years later. The Priesthood and officials, it is presumed, made Tutankhamun rescind his father’s reforms and restore ancient Egyptian polytheism by reintroducing the worship of multiple gods. Tutankhamun was not even 20 years old when he died. But thanks to Howard Carter, an iconic representation of the boy king lives on. The British archaeologist made a sensational discovery in 1922 when he came across Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. As symmetrical and unearthly as it appears, on the death mask, which weighs 12 kg, Tutankhamun’s face seems natural at the same time, as if the real face of the young Pharaoh has been covered with gold so that it will last for eternity. The coin’s obverse features a collage of Ancient Egyptian images, with Tutankhamun’s father Akhenaten in its centre. The elder Pharaoh is on his knees with hands raised in homage to the sun god, Aten, as the lance-shaped rays of the solar disk descend towards him. In the background we see a sarcophagus containing a Pharaoh, under which the hieroglyphic for gold can be seen.