CIT’s Legends – Wild West

In 2024, CIT releases the third issue of its Legends series. Following Terracotta Warriors and Legacy of the Pharaohs, the Liechtenstein innovators now showcase one of our favourite legends: the Wild West.

Content

The image of the Wild West is shaped by numerous myths and stories.

The image of the Wild West is shaped by numerous myths and stories.

When CIT’s designers have chosen a theme, they start by collecting all sorts of material and list as many details as possible that they want to include in the design. The Wild West coin illustrates how passionate the designers are when it comes to getting their teeth into a particular theme. The issue incorporates numerous details that are reminiscent of classic Hollywood western movies.

Cook Islands / 250 Dollars / Gold .9999 / 1 oz / 33 mm / Mintage figure: 199 pieces.

Cook Islands / 250 Dollars / Gold .9999 / 1 oz / 33 mm / Mintage figure: 199 pieces.

Cook Islands / 20 Dollars / Silver .9999 / 3 oz / 45 mm / Mintage figure: 888 pieces.

Cook Islands / 20 Dollars / Silver .9999 / 3 oz / 45 mm / Mintage figure: 888 pieces.

Cook Islands / 5 Dollars / Silver .9999 / 1 oz / 38.61 mm / Mintage figure: 1,500 pieces.

Cook Islands / 5 Dollars / Silver .9999 / 1 oz / 38.61 mm / Mintage figure: 1,500 pieces.

Cook Islands / 1 Dollar / Copper, 50 grams / 38.61 mm / Mintage figure: 5,000 pieces.

Cook Islands / 1 Dollar / Copper, 50 grams / 38.61 mm / Mintage figure: 5,000 pieces.

Description of the Coins

One side shows three infamous characters of the Wild West. In the foreground, Billy the Kid aims a revolver at the observer. Behind him to the left is Wild Bill Hickok, to his right Calamity Jane. Above two dice and a cartridge; to the left a banner that reads DEAD MAN’S HAND and the corresponding cards. At the top NO 10 SALOON and WILDWEST.

The other side depicts a stagecoach with 4 horses galloping through Monument Valley, to the left the characteristic Saguaro Cactus. Above a sheriff’s star. At the center of the star the portrait of Charles III by Dan Thorne (initials DT), around the circumscription Charles III 2024 COOK ISLANDS and the respective face value.

Cook Islands / 5 Dollars / Gold .9999 / 0.5 grams / 11 mm / Mintage figure: 5,000 pieces.

Cook Islands / 5 Dollars / Gold .9999 / 0.5 grams / 11 mm / Mintage figure: 5,000 pieces.

Description of the Small Gold Coin

One side shows Billy the Kid with two revolvers, one pointing at the observer; in the background a sheriff’s star, to the left WILD WEST. The other side features the portrait of Charles III by Dan Thorne (initials DT). Around the circumscription 5 DOLLARS Charles III 2024 COOK ISLANDS.

Background

Let us start with the obverse of the coins. It depicts a stagecoach that seems to have jumped straight out of the film of the same name. As the coachman drives the horses forward at full speed, the marksman turns around to take aim with his rifle at bandits, which are invisible to the observer. The scene takes us right into the heart of Monument Valley, where John Ford made his best Westerns. The rock in the background is a tribute to this film director. You can see the massive giant when you look into Monument Valley from John Ford’s Point. Saguaro cacti and the flying vulture are common motifs of numerous Western movies, as is the low position of the sun, a reminder of the countless heroes who rode off into the sunset at the end of the film.

When it comes to Western movies, the figure of the sheriff is at least as important as the setting. This role is represented by the dominant sheriff’s star in the upper field. It is reminiscent of a historical sheriff’s star from the El Paso County, which shows the portrait of Charles III in the center instead of the Texas coat of arms.

John Ford’s Point in Monument Valley, popular filming location for westerns in the border area between the US states of Utah and Arizona, in the background the Merrick Butte. Photo: Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5.

John Ford’s Point in Monument Valley, popular filming location for westerns in the border area between the US states of Utah and Arizona, in the background the Merrick Butte. Photo: Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5.

The reverse shows three infamous characters of the Wild West. In the middle we can see Billy the Kid. His clothes and the top hat were inspired by the only photograph of the hapless anti-hero, whose life story has been reassessed in recent years. Billy points the typical gunslinger’s weapon at the viewer, a 45-caliber Colt single action army revolver. One of the cartridges is depicted in the upper right field.

To his left is Wild Bill Hickok, the gambler who briefly became sheriff and found his way into the Wild West novels through his association with Buffalo Bill. Poker players know the story of his assassination in 1876 by John “Broken Nose Jack” McCall. Wild Bill had a pair of black eights and aces in his hand when he was shot in Saloon No. 10, which is why this combination is known as the Dead Man’s Hand today. The playing cards and the saloon’s name are depicted in the upper left field.

On the right is one of the few female protagonists of the Wild West: Calamity Jane, stagecoach driver and scout for General Custer. In her much-read autobiography, she described not only her life but also the love affair she is believed to have had with Wild Bill Hickok when he died at Saloon No. 10.

Both dice – also characteristic props of Western novels – show different numbers of point on each of the different denominations issued by CIT.

Modern historiography has debunked much of what we thought we knew about the Wild West. Nevertheless, the idea of an American frontier to be pushed forward has fundamentally shaped the American mentality. After all, legends have an impact on our reality. They give a face to our longings. And thus, all those who enjoy watching the occasional Western film will love this detailed coin!

If you want to experience all three dimensions of these coins, you have to watch the corresponding film:

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