by Thomas Michael
Back in 1997, the Pobjoy Mint began producing a series of coins for Gibraltar which featured the Twelve Labours of Hercules. At the time, those coins were pretty popular. They had everything going for them. They were bi-metallic coins which were growing in popularity with collectors. They were a new denomination for Gibraltar of 2 Pounds and were quite affordable. Plus, they featured a great theme and wonderful designs. The series of 12 issues, in base and metals and silver-gilt strikes finished its run in 2000.
This series remained in demand for years. I recall a dealer friend of mine in California buying them from Pobjoy as long as they had supply. Eventually, he called me to say that the Twelve Labours of Hercules 2 Pounds were no longer available from Pobjoy. Later, he called to say his stock of the Hercules coins was running low due to requests from dealers in Europe. His last few Hercules coins sold about three or four years ago for some very big prices, as retail values had been pushed up through consistent demand for nearly 20 years. This demand had finally exhausted the primary market supply of the Labours of Hercules coins. The copper-nickel center with nickel-brass ring base metal types found themselves selling for about $175, with some scarcer or more popular designs ranging up as high as $375. The gilt silver strikes ranged from about $200 to as high as $450 depending on the design. The Twelve Labours of Hercules had become a very successful secondary market coin.
Seeing this success, the Pobjoy Mint persuaded the Gibraltar Government to approve a second series of these popular coins to begin with the Nemean Lion, just like the first series in 1975, and run through the full twelve designs. This time around, Pobjoy has some new minting technologies to apply to these great original designs, so you will see how Hercules looks in a proof-like diamond finish. These 2 Pound bi-metallic base metal strikes will have a low mintage of 1,750 each and the first in the series will be dated 2020.
Pobjoy Mint has supplied a great background on the Mythological Greek theme of this series:
“The Twelve Labours of Hercules were a series of episodes concerning a penance to be carried out by Hercules who was one of the greatest of the Greek Heroes. The Labours were for Hercules to atone after he slew his family. They were accomplished over 12 years at the service of King Eurystheus. Each coin in the series features one of the Labours.
Hercules, who was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, was known for his many adventures which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman World. One cycle of these adventures became known as the “Twelve Labours” but the list has variations.
As you look for this new series in the marketplace, I suggest you seek coins in the original Pobjoy Mint capsule and pouch with certificate of authenticity or go directly to the Pobjoy Mint website at www.pobjoy.com/us for sales in the United States or www.pobjoy.com for sales in the United Kingdom and Europe.