Despite the concentration on their very high profile Disney and Star Wars properties, the New Zealand Mint has always found time to have a few history and nature series on the go at the same time. Moving away from an annual release schedule, the last couple of years has seen sets of coins released at much faster rates. Kings of the Continents is one such series. On the surface an unambitious range of simple coloured coins, there remains a constant demand for nature coins, and these are certainly attractively produced examples of the genre.
The series looks at the apex predators on continents around the world. We’ve had Africa (Lion), Europe (Wolf), Asia (Cobra), North America (Grizzly Bear), South America (Jaguar ) and Australia (Saltwater Crocodile). We’re going to assume that Antarctica is yet to come, maybe the Leopard Seal, or even the Orca, although the latter ranges worldwide. With current research looking at New Zealand being situated on a seperate continental plate dubbed ‘Zealandia’, it would be pretty cool to see an eighth coin, the first for the fledgling continent. A coin for the seas/oceans might be a good one as well.
Struck in 1oz of fine 0.999 silver and issued for the NZ protectorate of Niue Island, the coins have a mintage of 5,000 each. Each reverse face depicts the animal, usually in a ‘portrait’ form, against a clean background showing the creatures habitat. Outside of the composition the reverse side is thankfully free of inscriptions. Packaging is well done, much better than a standard snapper case. It features a tray that slides out from a thick, brightly coloured shipper box, each neatly themed in a stylised way to represent the area the coin subject inhabits.
The first five coins are dated 2016, those after dated 2017. As we said earlier, not an ambitious series, but what it does, it does well and with nature and wildlife coins always seemingly having an audience, the numismatic market will continue to be well served by new releases. Each coin was issued at a price of $80.00 USD.