The fifth coin in the Kings of the Continents series from the new Zealand Mint has just been released and it is the first coin that covers South America, and the second big cat in the series : The Jaguar.
The aim of the Kings of the Continents series is to portray the majesty of some of the most dominant species from all of the continents. The coins portray the animals at their most imposing while capturing a glimpse of their natural habitat in the background.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca), is the largest cat in the Americas and the third largest cat in the world, reaching up to 2.15m (7 feet) in length and up to 90 kg (200 pounds) in weight. Native to the Americas, these stunning, now-endangered animals once roamed a vast area from Argentina to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, Jaguars are only found in very few locations in South and Central America.
The Jaguar has a compact body, a broad head and powerful jaws. Its coat is normally yellow and tan, but can vary from reddish brown to black, with black spots and rosettes covering its coat. A carnivore, the Jaguar eats anything it can catch and with its extremely strong jaws and sharp teeth, it usually kills its prey with one crushing bite to the skull.
Excellent at climbing and crawling, the Jaguar hunts mostly on the ground, but sometimes it climbs a tree to pounce on its prey from above. Unlike most other big cats, the Jaguar loves the water and often swims and hunts for fish in rivers and ponds.
The reverse design does a good job of maintaining the overall aesthetic of the series so far. The reverse is dominated by the image of a snarling jaguar, locking eyes with the viewer in a display of dominance. The cat appears to the left and is fully treated to a colour finish. The right half of the reverse is left with a traditional proof finish and depicts a lush rain forest environment. A slightly ornate border surrounds the entire scene, just inside the rim. The words “1oz 999 Fine Silver” appear at the bottom, almost blending in with the undergrowth.
The obverse is the standard shared design for the rest of the series as well, featuring the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The legend reads : “ELIZABETH II”, “NIUE”, “TWO DOLLARS” and “2016” in a clockwise direction starting to the portrait's right.
The coin is struck from 1oz of pure(.999 Fineness) silver and measures 40mm(4.5748 Inch) in diameter. Issues encapsulated in a black velvet tray that slides out of a printed vanity box, the coin has a limited mintage of only 5000 coins. The coin can be ordered directly from the New Zealand Mint's website or contact your trusted international coin dealer to obtain the coin on your behalf. The coin is currently listed at US$80.00 each.
If you ask me, this is the best looking coin in the series yet. The background design of the reverse side is surprisingly detailed in comparison to some of the other coins in the series. The series has proven fairly popular to date with the first coin in the series, the African Lion, having already sold out at the mint.