Russian Red Data Book wildlife silver coin series adds three new issues

It debuted in 1993 and is still going strong today. You can’t say that about many coin series, if any, but the Central Bank of Russia has managed just that feat with its nature-focussed Red Book Data series. It hasn’t been a half-hearted release run either, with a bulging selection of over 60 coins now available. Until 2008, the CBR issued three coins per annum, moving to a biannual release until 2016. There were no coins in 2018, however, leading us to believe that the series had run its course.As the subject matter of Red Book Data is critically endangered species, it would be nice t know they’d simply run out of subjects, but that would be overly optimistic, of course. After an extra years gap, the series is back with a new trio.

The coins are produced in sterling (0.925) silver, having made the jump from 0.900 fineness in 2005. Weighing in at half-ounce, they remain cleanly struck and free of modification.In a market filled with tech-pushing designs, it’s great to see some classic coins at reasonable prices still finding a place with collectors. The subjects are all drawn from a Russian state publication called the Red Data Book, which records rare and endangered species of animals, plants and fungi, as well as some local subspecies that exist within the territory of the Russian Federation and its continental shelf and marine economic zone. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, there are plenty of entrants, although to its credit, Russia is making progress.

The CBR likes to do a mixed selection each time and that is again the case in 2019. A fish (Beluga), a bird (Ibis) amd a mammal )Amur Leopard) make up this new annual addition to this epic series. The artwork in each case is really quite excellent, with a fine depiction of the animal subjects. Like the 2016 coins, they maintain a consistent style with a lot of appeal, especially to nature lovers who prefer realism over the more stylistic approach.Each coin comes in a capsule with a Certificate of Authenticity and are available to order now.

BELUGA

The beluga (Huso huso) is a fish in the sturgeon family. It is critically endangered.

Belugas used to be a valuable food fish. They are native to the Caspian, Azov, Black and Adriatic Sea basins. However, currently, the beluga’s natural spawning grounds only remained in the Caspian and Black Seas. The Adriatic population is considered to be extinct. There are no reliable information about beluga population in the Sea of Azov; however, the population is reportedly artificially reproduced at the present time. The main reasons behind a sharp reduction of beluga population is the loss of natural spawning grounds as a result of hydraulic structure construction, small spawning population, inefficient artificial reproduction because of the spawner insufficiency, and river and sea overfishing until the mid-1980s.

Since 1986, beluga fishing in the Sea of Azov has been banned, except for spawner fishing for artificial reproduction. Source: http://www.mnr.gov.ru

REVERSE: the mirror field of the disc bears a relief image of beluga; at the bottom there is a semicircular inscription: “БЕЛУГА” (BELUGA).

JAPANESE CRESTED IBIS

The crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) is a bird in the ibis family. It is critically endangered. The crested ibis inhabits bogged up wide and flat river valleys in low mountains and plains with high forest areas. These birds spend the winter on non-freezing river stretches, and abandoned and waterlogged rice fields. They nest on high pine trees and in oak tree crowns.

In the late 19th century, the ibis was widespread in Central China, Japan and Russia’s Far East. The population started shrinking sharply at the turn of the 20th century, as the birds were hunted as game meat, shot as field wreckers (they trampled down rice crops), and poisoned with pesticides and fertilisers in rice fields. Besides, large trees where they nested and stayed overnight were fallen. The latest mentioning of a crested ibis nesting in Russia dates back to 1917, and the latest mentioning of a single specimen was registered in 1990. Source: http://www.mnr.gov.ru

REVERSE: the mirror field of the disc bears a relief image of a flying Japanese crested ibis; at the bottom there is a semicircular inscription: “КРАСНОНОГИЙ ИБИС” (JAPANESE CRESTED IBIS).

AMUR LEOPARD

The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a feline carnivore and one of leopard subspecies. It is critically endangered. The global population of the Amur leopard does not exceed 40-52 individuals. The Amur leopard is native to the south of the Russian Far East, woodlands and mountain areas of the north-eastern China and the Korean Peninsula. Currently, the south-west of the Primorye Territory remains the only proved habitat of the Amur leopard in Russia. The main threats include poaching, insufficient food supplies, and habitat destruction and loss.

Leopards inhabit mountain areas covered with cedar, oak and fir forests. Random felling of coniferous trees, as well as oaks and ash trees, coupled with new road building steadily reduces the habitat of the Amur leopard. The hunt on leopards has been banned since 1956, and their capture, since 1966. Source:  http://www.mnr.gov.ru

REVERSE: the mirror field of the disc bears a relief image of the Amur leopard; at the bottom there is a semicircular inscription: “ДАЛЬНЕВОСТОЧНЫЙ ЛЕОПАРД” (AMUR LEOPARD)

OBVERSE

the mirror field of the disc bears a relief image of the National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation, over it along the rim there is the semicircular inscription “РОССИЙСКАЯ ФЕДЕРАЦИЯ” (RUSSIAN FEDERATION) framed on both sides by doubled rhombuses, below under the coat of arms there are indications of the precious metal and its fineness on the left and the fine metal content and the mint trade mark on the right, at the bottom in the centre, in three lines, there is an inscription “БАНК РОССИИ” (BANK OF RUSSIA), the denomination of the coin “2 РУБЛЯ” (2 RUBLES), and the year of issue “2019 г.”

Art Mint ad
AD - Minted-UK.com
https://www.mdm.de/
SPECIFICATION PER DESIGN
DENOMINATION 2 Rubles (Russia)
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 17.00 grams (15.55g fine)
DIMENSIONS 33.0 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 5,000
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
European Mint ad
Pobjoy Mint ad
CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA