During June and July of 2017 the British and Irish Lions will tour New Zealand for the first time in twelve years. In order to commemorate this momentous sporting event the New Zealand Post is issuing a pair of collectors coins.
The British and Irish Lions are a composite rugby team, players are selected from the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Lions first toured New Zealand in the year 1888, but did not play against the New Zealand national team until 1904. Since then they have only won a single test series against the All Blacks, which took place in 1971. The side only tours every four years and last played in New Zealand in 2005 when they again lost the test series 3–0.
The tour will see the British and Irish Lions play a total of ten rugby matches, against New Zealand Rugby union teams which includes a test series of three matches against the New Zealand National Rugby team, the All Blacks.
The two coins share a common design depicting highly stylised image where one player from each team come together in a hongi. A Hongi is a traditional Māori greeting where two people press their noses and foreheads together. The background is colourized in red with the British and Irish Lions badge to the right, similar to a traditional British and Irish Lions rugby jersey. The words “ ONE DOLLAR” and “BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS 2017 TOUR TO NEW ZEALAND” appear around the rim of the coin in a reverse proof finish.
The obverse in turn bears the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, along with the country and date of issue.
Available in a 1oz proof pure silver coin, struck from .999 Fineness silver, measuring 40mm(1.5748) in diameter. This silver proof coin has a limited mintage of 1000 coins and is being sold by New Zealand Post at a price of $149.90 each in a red clamshell presentation box.
Also available is a copper-nickel version of the same coin, in a brilliant uncirculated finish. This coin has a mintage of 5000 coins and a price of $39.90 each. This time sold in a printed blister pack presentation.