One of those sports that is hugely popular amongst Commonwealth countries, rugby continues to grow in viewership worldwide. The Rugby World Cup back in 2015 attracted numismatic interest, indeed the Monnaie de Paris effort, the first domed oval strike in numismatics, was one of the hits of that year. The New Zealand Post have a new coin out, and while the event isn’t approaching the heights of a world tournament, the clash of two of the sports giants is always good for interest.
The British & Irish Lions are on a tour of New Zealand comprising ten matches, three against the famed New Zealand All Blacks, the rest against local teams. Taking place from 3 June to 8 July, the British & Irish Lions tour is an eagerly awaited fixture, especially as it occurs just once every four years, having first taken place over a century ago. The British Lions are a composite team selected from players that are eligible to represent the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. The last time the tour went to New Zealand the Lions lost the series 3-0.
The coin is a striking one, depicting a stylised hongi greeting between the two teams. The background is coloured and carries the emblem of the British Lions, an amalgamation of the symbols from the four countries that make up the team. The tour title and denomination are inscribed in a border around the central artwork. The obverse is the same as all New Zealand Post issues, the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the rest of the required inscriptions.
A colourful design that works well, especially with the matching packaging, making a fine gift for the rugby fan. It’s struck in an ounce of fine silver and the mintage is limited to a tight 1,000 pieces, low for a sporting event coin. It’s available to purchase now and will ship at the end of May, just in time for the tour. Kiwi’s can buy from the NZ Post website and homegrown Lions fans can buy from site sponsor Minted-UK.