A staple format for the Mint of Poland, they have launched several nature-themed coloured silver coin series over the last few years and there are more appearing this year. Most well known of them all has been the excellent SOS Endangered Animal Species range of ten coins from 2014, and when that finished the mint moved on to a series that includes this new coin. Called the Fascinating World of Birds, the subject matter is pretty self-explanatory. This is the fourth coin in this undefined series, following the Kingfisher, the Hoopoe, and the Bee-Eater, and features the colourful Golden Oriole.
A summer migrant in Europe and western Asia, the Golden Oriole spends the winter season in central and southern Africa. This shy bird generally migrates during the night via the Eastern Mediterranean where they feed on fruit and insects. The male is a striking black and yellow, but the female has a drabber green plumage. Inhabiting open broadleaf forest, riverine forest, orchards, and large gardens, as well as mixed or coniferous forests during the summer, in their wintering habitat they are found in semi-arid to humid woodland, forests, and savanna. They build neat nests in tree forks and lay 3–6 eggs. Their call is a screech like a jay, but the song is a beautiful fluting weela-wee-ooo or or-iii-ole.
A very nice design, the coins are full of detail, with a well struck background and a pair of coloured Orioles in the foreground. The Mint of Poland use a high quality digital printing process much better than most others that can often look like newsprint up close. The inset Swarovski Elements crystal from the SOS series is missing here; a positive in our view. Inscriptions are restricted to near the coin rim and limited to the coin series, and the birds name in Polish and Latin. The obverse is a standard design for the mints Niue issues, featuring the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II with the usual name, date, issuer and denomination inscribed around it. Packaging is colourful and of a good design, and the coin should be available to pre-order any time now. It’s shaping up to be a nice series in our view, especially with mintage limited to just 999 units.