It's time again for New Zealand's annual wildlife silver $5 coin to be released and this year the coin is set to feature the indigenous Laughing Owl.
Each year New Zealand issues a silver five Dollar coin featuring a now extinct animal that used to call the shores and landscapes of New Zealand home. In previous years this series has directed a spotlight towards the Kairuku penguin(2014), Haast's eagle(2016) and the Huia(2015). This year it is the turn of the Laughing Owl or White-faced Owl(Sceloglaux albifacies).
The owl was said to have lived in New Zealand during the 1800's but the lack of natural predators caused the bird to become easy prey to both humans and newer species, such as cats and stoats, that were introduced to the island after Europeans settled there. The last recorded laughing owl was found dead outside of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1914.
The reverse of the coin captures the robust form and detailed feathers of the laughing owl in keen detail from a design by New Zealand artist Dave Burke. Burke is also responsible for the designs of the brilliant 2013 Mauri Art – Koru gold and silver coins and the 2015 Anzac circulating commemorative 50c coin. The koru design in the background represent the forests in which the owl dwelled and the domain of Tāne, God of the Forest. To the left, along the rim in reverse proof lettering, is both the common English and the Māori name of the animal "LAUGHING OWL” and “WHĒKAU” divided by a single dot. The denomination of “$5” is inscribed to the bottom right.
The obverse features the standard Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of the queen, with the legend recorded in a clockwise direction along the rim. “NEW ZEALAND”, “ELIZABETH II” and “2017”.
This 1oz silver coin is struck from pure .999 Fineness silver and measures 40mm(1.5748inches) with a milled edge. The coin has a worldwide mintage limit of 1500 coins. Shipped encapsulated in a black lined clamshell presentation case that comes in a printed vanity sleeve.
Issued by the New Zealand Reserve Bank and distributed by New Zealand Post, the coin will be available for NZ$139.00(US$99.00) each.