Despite its relatively small size the land of Israel is one replete with a variety of scenic vistas – from mountains to valleys and deserts to seas. A new series of coins was just announced by the Bank of Israel which will take a strictly limited audience on a tour in precious metal of some of these most interesting and beautiful sites. The first issue in the series begins this collector's journey in the south, at the coral reef in the Gulf of Eilat.
Eilat's coral reefs are said to be among the most beautiful in the world. Their unique features are the result of a combination of factors, including the structure of the Gulf of Eilat, its geological history and climatic and oceanographic characteristics. Together, these have led to the development of rich and diverse coral reefs, resembling magnificent underwater gardens.
Hundreds of coral species, as well as thousands of different species of fishes and marine invertebrates decorate the reef, creating an array of colors and a marine ecosystem unparalleled anywhere else on earth.
Designed by the artist Galia Erez, the coin presents the natural splendor of the coral reef with its exotic corals, fishes and water life. The harmonious designs on both obverse (front) and reverse (back) evoke the rich, enchanting underwater world.
The obverse contains the Israel State Emblem, "Israel" in English, Hebrew and Arabic, the mint year and mint mark. Fish move around the numerical figures representing the face value in the center, with a wave-shaped design filling the background.
The reverse consists of an artistic composition of coral, dolphin and fish on a background wave design representing the coral reef . The border inscription reads "Coral Reef – Eilat" in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
The coin is offered in three variations: A gold proof-quality 10 New Sheqel (NIS) is 30 mm in diameter with 16.96 grams of .917 fine (22kt) gold. Mintage is limited to only 555 pieces. There are two sterling silver coins. A proof quality 2 NIS measuring 38.7 mm (1½ in.) and weighing 28.8 grams with mintage restricted to 2,800 coins, and a 30 mm, 14.4 gram 1 NIS in proof-like condition limited to 1,800 coins.
A set of all three coins and just the two silver ones are also available. Current pricing, secure ordering, and more information on all Israeli coin and medal issues is available online at www.israelmint.com or www.holylandmint.co.il. Alternatively, to order by phone, or to receive information by mail call toll-free in the USA 1-888-421-1866, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Israel Coins and Medals Corporation – ICMC / The Holy Land Mint, P.O. Box 2040, Nesher 36680, Israel. Tel. 972-4-821-2807 (Fax orders: 011-972-4-821-2818).