New up from US dealer Gainesville Coins is a collaboration with media favourite, the Discovery Channel. Reaching over 430 million homes in 170 countries, Discovery Channel certainly has name recognition and would appear to be a great fit for a wildlife coin series. With only 700 sets of this new series to be struck, we’d imagine there’ll be plenty of interest.

The coins are of an unusual weight, 1½ ounces of 0.999 silver each, but in most other respects it’s business as usual. The coins each feature a colour depiction of an animal, around which is a cleanly struck pattern. The bottom has the Discovery Channel logo, including a colour planet earth. Other than the animals name being inscribed at the top, the reverse face is free of superfluous markings. The obverse is very well designed, unusually being coloured as well and a fine job has been done. They’re issued for the Commonwealth state of Niue Island which usually means a boring obverse with just the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II in residence. While Liz is still present, the superior Ralph Maklouf version, she’s been integrated into the larger design to create something better. The coins large, near 50 mm diameter, certainly helps.

This is the first of seven sets, one to be released for each continent. The debut pair, the Mandrill and the Lion, represent Africa. Presentation has clearly been a priority, with an impressive looking chest holding a signed Certificate of Authenticity and both coins. All sits inside a brightly themed shipper.

Two coins totalling three ounces of silver, a licensed property, tight 700 mintage and good packaging usually adds up to a big ticket price, but these come in at an eminently reasonable $129.00 USD, less than expected. Available to purchase now.




The mandrill is an omnivorous primate species found predominantly in tropical rainforests and is confined to a small portion of west-central Africa that includes Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Closely related to baboons but shown to be part of their own genus, the mandrill is best known for its array of bright and bizarre coloring. Thanks to its blue-and-red snout and gold beard, the naturalist Charles Darwin said of the mandrill: “No other member in the whole class of mammals is coloured in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrill.”

The gravest threats to mandrill populations are loss of habitat through deforestation and, to an even greater extent, hunting by humans for their meat. This is why the IUCN officially categorizes the mandrill as a vulnerable species. Estimates place the current mandrill population in the wild at only 3,000 individuals.


“African lion” refers collectively to the various subspecies of lion that are found on the continent of Africa. The lion is part of the genus Panthera, which also includes other big cats like the tiger, leopard, and jaguar. The lion is widely considered the “King of the Jungle,” and once was the world’s most widespread large land mammal behind human beings. Over time, however, developing human civilizations nearly eradicated Panthera leo through hunting, disease, and habitat destruction.

For instance, the Barbary lion of Northern Africa is extinct in the wild and only known in captivity. Human interference with lions remains a problem, and P. leo is officially a vulnerable species according to the IUCN. There are perhaps 20,000 African lions left in the wild and an additional 1,000 lions found in zoos and nature preserves around the world.



In an exclusive partnership with Discovery™, Gainesville Coins is the sole distributor of the fantastic new Discovery Endangered Species Series of 1½ oz Colorized Silver Proof Coins! Struck from .999 fine silver, the series begins with a two-coin set honoring a pair of threatened African animal species: the African lion and the African mandrill. In addition to celebrating the diversity of Earth’s increasingly vulnerable wildlife, these coins are highly collectible thanks to a limited worldwide mintage of only 700 two-coin sets!

Beyond their message of preserving our planet’s most endangered wildlife, these 1½ ounce silver coins also exhibit remarkable aesthetic quality. The gorgeous, full-color designs were an in-house creation by Gainesville Coins’ own Putri W. Ritter. In vibrant colorization, the real-life images of the African lion and African mandrill pop off of the coin’s surface. Moreover, these coins are officially licensed by Discovery™ and are legal tender of the Government of Niue Island. Future releases in the Endangered Species series will highlight threatened animals from other continents, and will continue to enjoy official licensing from Discovery™ and legal tender status in addition to their .999 fine silver content.

AFRICAN LION REVERSE: depicts a tender moment of familial love as a lion cub nuzzles the cheek of an adult male lion lying at rest. The image exhibits full colorization. The Discovery™ logo appears at the bottom rim of the design, while the inscription “AFRICAN LION” runs along the top rim against an iridescent wave pattern in the background.

AFRICAN MANDRILL REVERSE: shows a close-up view of an adult male mandrill from the shoulders up facing three-quarters to the right. The fully colorized image brings out the incredible blue, gold, and red hues of the mandrill. The inscription “AFRICAN MANDRILL” curls along the top rim, which uses an iridescent wave pattern around the entire outer rim.

OBVERSE: The common obverse design for the series shows a bright blue and green planet Earth in the background. A smaller circle at the bottom rim contains the classic portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, designed by artist Raphael Maklouf. Around the outer rim, inscriptions include the issuing country “NIUE ISLAND,” the legal tender denomination “TWO DOLLARS,” the year of issue “2016,” as well as the weight and purity “1 1/2 TROY OUNCE .999 FINE SILVER.”

PACKAGING: The display case and packaging of the 2016 Discovery Endangered Species Series – Africa truly brings this two-coin set together. The display case features a clasp and is decorated on all of its surfaces by a classic-style world map. The certificate of authenticity (COA) is included, individually numbered, and personally signed by the designer.




$2 NEW ZEALAND 0.999 SILVER 46.65 g x2 49.3 mm PROOF 700 YES / YES