The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has just made available the 2017 Kiwi gold and silver coins. This is the third year of issue for what I hope will become an annual event for New Zealand. The 2015 and 2016 coins both proved innovative and interesting, but this 2017 design is by far my favorite for the series so far.
The 2017 Kiwi coins feature the Rakiura tokoeka, also known as the Stewart Island kiwi, variety of this animal that is so synonymous with New Zealand. A key characteristic of the Rakiura tokoeka is the fact that they are the only kiwi that are known to be active during the daytime. This trait is put to good use in the coin's design, as we'll discuss in a moment.
According to the New Zealand Department of Conservation a closer look at their family structure reveals other unique characteristics as well. The forms in Fiordland and on Rakiura live in clustered family groups, with an alpha male and female. Their offspring stay in the territory, perhaps even for up to seven years, acting as 'helpers' with incubation by sitting on the egg for a small part of the day. Sharing the duties in this way means it is not unusual for breeding pairs to have two whole clutches in a single season.
The reverse of the coin depicts the kiwi in it's natural habitat, while the proof finish in the background symbolizes a setting sun. The highly detailed kiwi is prominently featured in the foreground and contrasts to great effect with the plain proof backdrop. The 'setting sun' effect works especially well on the gold coin.
The common name of Rakiura tokoeka appears along the top rim while the scientific name of APTERYX AUSTRALIS LAWRYI is inscribed just below. The denomination is noted along the bottom rim. The gold coin is a TEN DOLLARS coin while the silver coins are noted as ONE DOLLAR.
The obverse design simply depicts the renowned Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the legend of : NEW ZEALAND, ELIZABETH II and 2017.
There are a total of three issues, all with the above described design. The first is a 1/4oz gold coin struck from .9999 Fineness gold. The 26mm coin carries a total mintage of 500 coins and is currently being sold for NZ$865.00 each.
Following on that we have the 1oz proof silver kiwi. This 40mm coin is struck from 1oz of pure .999 Fineness silver, and has a limited mintage of 2500 coins. The proof silver coin is being made available at NZ$139.00 each. Both the silver and gold proof quality coins are shipped in an elegant black clamshell presentation case enclosed in a printed vanity case. The coins are accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity.
The third coin is billed as a reverse proof-like finish. While the fields and background are matt and the relief elements are 'polished', the coin's overall appearance is that of a brilliant uncirculated coin with a treated relief. This coin is presented on a printed display card instead of in a box. Otherwise the specifications remain the same with the exception of a higher mintage figure, at 7500 coins, and the pricetag dripping to NZ$79.00 each.
These rather attractive coins are now available from the New Zealand Post website