In the Iron Age of Europe, the early Celts—who came from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany—created a polytheistic mythology and religion. This folklore of the Celtic people spanned for centuries before much of it was lost with the rise of Christianity. Even so, several characters you may already know have origins in Celtic mythology.
Provident is happy to offer the Celtic Lore series of silver rounds, which contains five designs featuring some of these popular characters. The original artwork was rendered in full color by world-renowned artist and illustrator Howard David Johnson, and further brought to life by master sculptor Luigi Badia. Each design will be available as a one ounce and five ounce round, in proof, antiqued, and colorized finishes. These limited edition mythic rounds are produced by the Osborne Mint, America’s oldest private mint, in partnership with Anonymous Mint.
The first round in the Celtic Lore series features the famous wizard who has become well loved throughout pop culture. Merlin originated as a Welsh wizard in the Arthurian legends written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1136. He was birthed by a mortal woman and sired by an incubus, giving him supernatural powers that led him to become a wizard and dragon master. The character Merlin is based on an earlier historical figure known as Myrrdin, who went mad and fled civilization after witnessing the horrors of war. Myrddin settled for a simpler life in the woods and received the gift of prophecy.
The Morrigan, known as the Queen of Battles, is the Celtic goddess of war, death, sovereignty, fertility, cattle, and crops. She is often pictured amongst crows and can shapeshift into a crow as well, commonly seen flying over battlefields. This tripartite battle goddess could also split into three sections known as Nemain, Macha, and Badb, each representing a different aspect of combat. The Morrigan is one of the main deities from the Tuatha De Danann (Tribe of the Gods), a mythological race of supernatural gods in ancient Ireland.
Featured in the early legends of Merlin, the Welsh Red Dragon was frequently seen on the battle flags of King Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders. The beast eventually became the national symbol of Wales, and can be found on the third coin in the Queen’s Beasts 10-coin series. The red dragon and white dragon are symbolistic of the struggles between Wales and England.
Known as Lord of the Wild Things, this Celtic antlered god is associated with fertility, life, wealth, and animals. Cernunnos is often pictured sitting cross legged with a snake in his hand and a stag nearby. He wears a golden torc around his neck to represent wealth, along with carrying a coin-filled purse.
This Irish female spirit is a foreteller of death. Mythology tells of her wailing to herald the coming of death. In some interpretations, the banshee is depicted as an old, disheveled hag. In other interpretations, such as ours, she is depicted as a young, beautiful woman with thick, billowing hair.
The Shared Reverse
Each design in the Celtic Lore series shares a common reverse that showcases Celtic knot work. These interlacing patterns of unbroken, endless knots are used extensively in Celtic artwork. Within the interwoven cords in this design, you’ll also find two wolf heads peering inwards from the outer rim of the round. The reverse also displays the name of the series, along with the weight and purity of each round.
We’re very excited to bring this mythical series to you! Rounds will be sequentially released with approximately six to eight weeks between each design. We’ll be sure to announce each release on our blog, on our website banner, and in our email newsletter.
Which design are you anxious to get your hands on?