With proof versions of the Kiwi series having been released since way back in 1990, it’s fair to say that it’s picked up a few fans along the way. It’s that time of the year when the new annual designs are revealed and made available for sale and there’s no change for 2018. That doen’t mean there are no changes at all as we’re being gifted the debut of a wide diameter five-ounce silver variant.
Regular buyers of the series will expect no design surprises and to be honest, none are present. The in-house artwork by Jonathan Gray looks good and depicts the Little Spotted Kiwi, Apteryx owenii. Around 35-45 cm in length and 0.9-1.3 kg in weight, this species is sadly still rare, although conservation efforts are in full swing. Pale-mottled grey with fine white mottling, they have a long ivory-coloured bill and pale legs. Their diet consists of grubs and other small insects which they hunt using their keen sense of smell.
Four versions of the design are up for grabs this year. The base specimen-finish silver coin mounted to a card is back, having been introduced in 2004, as is the quarter-ounce gold coin with its 500 mintage. No gimmicks on the one-ounce proof coin this year, just some selective colouring, which is done with restraint and subtlety – no garish paint here. The new five-ounce coin is cleanly struck to a proof standard and is a very healthy 65.0 mm in diameter. Unfortunately, the 500 produced sold out almost immediately, so you may have trouble tracking one down.
Struck by BH Mayer in Germany, a mint with a great reputation for quality, the coins are available to order now with silver prices at $79.00 NZD (specimen), $139.00 (coloured proof) and $865.00 (gold). All are a little pricey, but in line with previous years.