We see a huge variety in the shape of coins these days, going hand in hand with technological improvements in the minting process. Shaped dimensional coins have been a particularly impressive genre of late, with CIT, Numiscollect and the Mint of Poland dropping some striking designs, but they all carry hefty premiums. PAMP had some success with flat shaped designs, including their Hunters of the Sky series, but they’re often seen as a little too unusual for some collectors.

Their latest series, however, strikes an excellent balance between the traditional coin and something a little more adventurous. Called ‘Giants of the Galapagos’, it will feature some of the unique fauna that inhabits this strange and isolated land. First to be introduced is the Giant Seahorse. The coin is basically shaped as a standard round item would be, but the subject has been allowed to extend past its borders in two places. It’s a small addition, but gives the issue a unique appearance which will be different for each new addition to the series.

Just the animal itself is picked out in colour, with the background showing a detailed habitat for it. In a particularly nice touch, the extended areas on the obverse have been used for custom art, also of the subjects habitat. This is something that continues on the following two coins we’ve seen, each with a unique shape and obverse design – although the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is consistent.

The one-ounce 0.9999 silver coin is presented in a double gatefold blisterpack that is filled with colourful imagery and information. We’ve seen images of the next two issues and both are distinctive designs. The first is the Whale Shark, and the second is the iconic Giant Tortoise. The mintage is set at 2,500 pieces. A very nice debut in a series a little out of the ordinary, but not too far to alienate the more traditional collector. Available to order now.

THE GIANT SEAHORSE (Hippocampus ingens)

Also called the Pacific Seahorse, it is the only species of seahorse found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and its only oceanic island population is centred around the isolated Galapagos Islands. They prefer to inhabit sub-tidal environments, rarely exceeding 60 metres in depth, such as coral and rocky reefs, mangroves, and segrass meadows.

By seahorse standards, Ingens reaches a large 12-19 cms in height, but they have been known to reach an almost rideable 30 cm. They come in a wide variety of colours, including green, brown, maroon, grey, and yellow. Like all seahorses, they have a prehensile tail, skin (instead of scales), a digestive tract with a stomach, no teeth, and the ability to move each eye independently of the other.

Female seahorses deposit their eggs in a brood pouch on the male, who will then fertilise the egg and seal it in the pouch to develop. The salinity of the water in the pouch changes so as to acclimatise the growing young to the outside sea. Amazingly, each male can brood up to 2,000 eggs at a time, and do so multiple times per year. After 14 days, the male expels the young one at a time, taking days. After that, no doubt, he sits down, has a cigar and vows never to do it again…

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 Solomon Islands
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1grams
DIMENSIONS 37.3 x 46.3 mm
FINISH Reverse proof
MODIFICATIONS Shaped, colour
MINTAGE 2,500
BOX / C.O.A. Blisterpack
European Mint ad
PAMP / MTB METALS

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