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CIT’s Mt. Everest – First Ascent

On 29 May 1953, New Zealand-born Edmund Hillary and the Nepalese-Indian Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest at 11:30 a.m. The first ascent of the world’s highest mountain was celebrated by the international media as the conquest of the third pole – after the North and South Poles.


The British were able to take credit for this success, as British mountaineers had organized and led the expedition. The Times had exclusive rights to the story and broke the news of the successful expedition on the day of Elizabeth II’s coronation. No other news could have better illustrated to British readers the great achievements of which their empire was capable. The coins were minted with the special technique smartminting® in an ultra high relief and partial color application as well as micro minting at the B. H. Mayer’s art mint in Munich.

Cook Islands / 10 Dollars / Silver .999 / 2 oz / 45 mm / Mintage: 1,953.

Cook Islands / 10 Dollars / Silver .999 / 2 oz / 45 mm / Mintage: 1,953.

Cook Islands / 100 Dollars / Silver .999 / 1 kg / 100 mm / Mintage: 99.

Cook Islands / 100 Dollars / Silver .999 / 1 kg / 100 mm / Mintage: 99.

Description of the Coin

One side depicts Mount Everest from a bird’s eye view, its peaks in high relief and with color application. A broken line marks the route of the first ascent. At the top MT.  EVEREST 1953 FIRST ASCEND.

The other side features Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in full gear; Mount Everest rises up in front of them. On the left in a circle the portrait of Elizabeth II, below IRB (= Ian Rank-Broadley), around it the legend ELIZABETH II, the respective denomination, COOK ISLANDS 2023. On the rim: On 29 May 1953, New Zealand-born Hillary and his Nepalese mountaineering partner Tenzing Norgay, became the first humans to stand on the summit of Everest. As members of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition, their triumph was the glorious result of a long, complex and brilliantly co-ordinated campaign.

The north side of Mount Everest. Photo: Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5.

The north side of Mount Everest. Photo: Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5.


CIT commemorates this iconic moment in mountaineering with a commemorative coin that shows Mount Everest in three-dimensional relief. The true-to-life representation of the earth’s highest mountain on a coin could only be achieved through exquisite smartminting®. The impressive alternation between high relief and Proof surface on the other side shows the incredible artistic level employed by B. H. Mayer to implement CIT’s designs. The delicate coloring on one side is also a masterpiece.

“Mt. Everest – First ascent” will be released in two versions: a 2-oz version with a face value of 10 Dollars and a one-kilo version with a face value of 100 Dollars. Only 99 specimens of the impressive kilo version will be issued.

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


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