Archey’s Frog, one of the world’s most endangered amphibians, is the subject of New Zealand’s latest coin

Described by the Zoological Society of London as ‘the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibian species’, Archey’s Frog is one of only four remaining frogs native to New Zealand, the solo terrestrial species. Considered an ancient relic, the frog has barely changed from its 150 million-year-old ancestors. Indeed, the prehistoric NZ species themselves diverged from their closest relatives over 200 million years ago.

Archey’s Frog was only described for the first time in 1942, and today is found in only three areas of New Zealand’s North Island, relatively close to Auckland, and in tiny numbers. An active protection programme is in operation. This tiny master of camouflage is a mottled red, green and brown, and like fingerprints, can be used to identify individual animals.

It’s an amazing creature, full of unusual characteristics. It doesn’t have a tail, but has the muscles to wag one! They communicate using scent, because they have no ear drums, and cannot croak. After the female has laid the eggs, the male guards them until they hatch. After that, the froglets crawl on the male’s back, and remain there for several weeks. We sincerely hope the efforts to save this astounding frog are successful.

The coin is an uncommon one for the New Zealand Post, weighing in at two-ounces of silver. It’s antique-finished, with a coloured frog on the reverse face. It looks decent from a design point-of-view, but we’d like to have seen a bit more imagination put into the implementation, given the extra metal available over a standard one-ounce coin. The background field is fine, but would’ve been lifted by having the lower part raised over part of the frogs feet, to give the coin the appearance of more layered depth.

There are the usual NZ Post touches that tap into the native Maori culture around the edge, and overall, it looks good. The obverse is the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. At 50 mm in diameter, it does use some of that extra metal productively. Struck by BH Mayer in Germany, the coin is provided with a box and a Certificate of Authenticity. It’s quite pricey at $350 NZD, offset slightly by the mintage of just 350 pieces. Available to order now.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes