Coins celebrating the Chinese zodiac have grown in popularity over the past several years from a minor niche in numismatics to a major event every year with multiple world mints producing these lunar coins. Now with 2016 drawing to a steady close and 2017 rapidly approaching, we can expect to see a veritable deluge of these coins arriving in the coming months.
Today we will be looking at the New Zealand Mint's contribution with their dual release of 1oz silver Lunar Rooster Coins for 2017. Continuing on the trend from previous years the New Zealand Mint will be releasing one gilded coin and one 'ordinary' coin.
Lets take a look at the gilded variety first. Much like the 2016 monkey coins I again prefer the gilded design over the ordinary coin in general. The reverse of the gilded silver coin depicts an engraved image of a proud rooster in the foreground, set against the Parisian skyline(of all things). I understand that this is likely because the Gallic rooster is the French national bird. But I do find it strange to have a coin minted in New Zealand, under the authority of Niue, celebrating the Chinese zodiac, featuring a French city for it's design. As I mentioned though, maybe that's just me.
The gilded element of the coin is derived from the Chinese symbol for rooster that is gilded in gold on the left side of the coin, while set against a heart shaped proof field. The title “ YEAR OF THE ROOSTER” as well as “1 OZ 999 FINE SILVER” are engraved along t he bottom rim.
The coin is issued in a wonderfully designed presentation case that takes the shape of a traditional gold ingot, and is patterned with Chinese characters on the outside.
According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of Rooster(which is the tenth character in the Chinese zodiac) are generally considered to being honest, hardworking and courageous. Roosters are often also physically attractive and charming as companions.
Many have confident personalities with a strong tendency to punctuality, ambition and self motivation, Roosters make popular and loyal friends. People born in the Year of Rooster enjoy sports and outdoor pursuits and they tend to lead happy, healthy and long lives.
Lunar years of the rooster include : 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 and 2029.
Both coins have a shared obverse design. The standard right facing effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley that features on most coins from the New Zealand Mint. The obverse legend appears along the rim in a clockwise direction and simply reads : “ELIZABETH II”, “NIUE”, “TWO DOLLARS” and “2017”.
The second, non-gilded, coin features a watercolour depiction of a crowing rooster perched on a wooden fence. The rooster is painted in vivid brush strokes of blue, red , orange and yellow. The background is engraved with a branch full of cherry blossoms in full bloom. To the right are the words “YEAR OF THE ROOSTER”, in two lines, just below the Chinese character for rooster. “1 oz 999 Fine Silver” appear along the bottom rim.
The coin is presented in a clear acrylic presentation case, which is shipped inside a printed vanity box. Both coins are struck from 1oz of pure .999 Fineness silver to a 40mm(1.5748) round. A mintage of 10 000 coins for each design has been issued and the coins are only available in a proof finish. The gilded coin is set to retail for around US$85.00 while the colourized coin is a little cheaper at US$80.00 each. Both coins can now be ordered directly from the New Zealand Mint or via your trusted international coin dealer.