New Releases

Griffin Recognized on New CIT Issue

Published May 24, 2024 | 2 min read

By Louis Golino

Coin Invest Trust (CIT) unveiled its spring 2024 line-up earlier this month. The launch includes a Cook Islands coin depicting a griffin, a mythological creature that combines a lion and an eagle. 

The Gryphon is the fifth release in the European company’s Numismatic Icons series, which pays tribute to classic numismatic motifs. The series began in 2020 with the tortoise, Athena’s owl in 2021, Pegasos (or Pegasus) in 2022, and Arethusa in 2023.

Each sold out quickly and has become hard to find. They are each worth substantially more than their issue price.

King of All Creatures

The coinage of ancient Greek city-states often featured mythical creatures. One such creature is the griffin—a hybrid with the head and wings of an eagle and the body, tail, and hind legs of a lion. Since the ancient Greeks recognized eagles as the “king of the birds” and lions as the “king of the beasts,” they saw the griffin as the king of all creatures. 

In mythology, griffins are the guardians of gold and protectors of precious treasures. Greek and Roman literature associates them with the gold deposits of central Asia.  

Griffins are popular symbols across mythology, coinage, and other art forms dating back to antiquity (especially in Persia and Egypt). They were especially popular in the Middle Ages when they emerged as powerful heraldic symbols that appeared on wealthy families’ coats of arms. 

Coin Icons

Griffins made their first-ever appearance on the coinage of the Thracian city of Abdera. On their coins, as on the CIT issue, a large, left-facing griffin is shown with a small cicada to its left, plus “CI,” indicating the place of origin.

Because of their role in heraldry for centuries, griffins have also appeared on Great Britain’s coins. For example, the hugely popular Queen’s Beasts series of the Royal Mint included a 2021 release called The Griffin of Edward III. That coin’s reverse features a heraldic shield held by a large griffin, emphasizing its protective role.

Coin Details

The CIT griffin comes in three finishes: a 1-ounce, .9999-fine silver $5 coin with an antique finish and ultra-high relief; a 1-ounce .9999-fine gold $250 coin with an antique finish and ultra-high relief; and a half-gram .9999 fine gold $5 piece. The respective mintages are 999 for the silver piece, 199 for the large gold coin, and 5,000 for the half-gram gold coin. 

The obverse carries the Dan Thorne portrait of King Charles III. It also includes inscriptions for the year and country of issue, monarch, and denomination.  CIT will release the coins in early July. To learn more, visit CIT’s website.