The Big Five is a term coined by big-game hunters to describe the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, although it’s now widely used by tourist/wildlife guides as well. Comprised of the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the Rhinoceros, all members can only be found in certain countries (Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Malawi).
Animals on coins have always been immensely popular, and the more impressive the animal, the better. The Big Five have appeared on coins before the series we’re looking at here, but these are fine examples of the genre. First appearing in 2013 with Big Five Rhino, there were originally both gold and silver sets, but for some reason the silver coins have never appeared again. It’s a strange decision given how superb the gilded rhino set was, but we guess sales didn’t lived up to expectations so it is no more.
The gold has continued, although in a slightly haphazard way. Prior to this 2016 set, the coins were issued for the Democratic Republic of Congo; now they’re issued for Cameroon. In 2013 there was a four-coin set comprised of 1, ½, ¼, and 1/10 oz coins, as well as an individually sold 5oz gold coin with a sub-100 mintage. There doesn’t appear to have been a release in 2014, but all were back in 2015 with the Big Five Lion range, along with a minigold 0.5g version. That’s also been the case with the 2016 Big Five Buffalo range.
Each of the coins in the four-piece set has different artwork on it, the big 5 oz and tiny 0.5g taking the design of the 1 oz and 1/10 oz coins respectively. The designs on all are excellent, a lot of thought having gone into the inscription and the background to make the set cohesive. Packaging is a lined wooden box, except for the minigold. All are available to order now from dealers like EMK in Germany, and APMEX in the US.