Temperature is fundamental to the human experience and its fluctuations have always been of prime concern to our species. Not only do we have to adapt our behaviours to survive its extremes, but our continued existence is heavily reliant on its influence over crop growth.
The Aztecs, who developed remarkable farming practices to support their flourishing civilization prior to Spanish colonisation of the Americas, demonstrated this preoccupation through their worship of gods affecting temperature and weather.
Representations of two of these important deities along with motifs based on the Aztec’s agricultural (or solar) calendar have been used to adorn this innovative coin celebrating mankind’s ability to accurately measure temperature. Incorporating a working dial thermometer, it is another exciting example of the ingenuity the Mint brings to modern numismatics.
|Tonatiuh||Aztecs believed the sun god Tonatiuh demanded human sacrifices, without which he would refuse to move across the sky. Infuriated by Tonatiuh’s arrogance, the Lord of Dawn and the morning star Venus, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli shot an arrow at the sun. However he missed his target and Tonatiuh threw his own arrow back, piercing Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli through the head. A fire-breathing Tonatiuh wearing flame earrings is portrayed holding an arrow in one hand and a flaming torch in the other.|
|Mercury Thermometer||Represented here in Aztec style, the mercury thermometer invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714 made reliable thermometry possible.|
|Sun||A stylised Aztec sun is portrayed on the hot side of the thermometer’s dial .|
|Sun Stone Motif||Motif inspired by the cardinal points seen on the Aztec Sun Stone or Calendar Stone. Carved from basalt and weighing 24 tons, it was discovered in Mexico City in 1790.|
|Itztlacoliuhqui||In Aztec mythology, when Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli was struck by Tonatiuh’s arrow he was transformed into Itztlacoliuhqui, the god of frost, ice and coldness. Persisting for 120 days of winter, Itztlacoliuhqui’s annual departure marked the beginning of the Aztec sowing season. Depicted with earrings of ice, Itztlacoliuhqui is seen carrying an arrow and breathing frost.|
|Hot and Cold
|Part of a repeating pattern of flames representing heat and snowflakes signifying cold.|
|Snowflake||A Mesoamerican stylisation of a snowflake is portrayed on the cold side of the thermometer’s dial.|
|Dial Thermometer||Working on a different principle to mercury thermometers, a dial thermometer employs a pointer mounted on a coiled bimetallic strip designed to expand and bend as the temperature increases.|
Extremely Limited Mintage
Struck from 2oz of 99.99% pure silver, no more than 2,500 of these remarkable Tuvalu legal tender coins will be released worldwide.
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