Jaguars and Leopards are some of the most beautiful and impressive predators on the planet. Powerful and elegant creatures, they tend to hunt at night which makes the subject of this new coin from Numiscollect all the more frightening. Melanistic colour variations are fairly common in the animal world and for these big cats, black is the colour. Called Black Panthers, they’re variants of Leopards (Panthera pardus) in Africa & Asia, and Jaguars (Panthera onca) in the Americas.
It’s all about the allelomorph, or allele. These are alternative forms of the same gene. In the jaguar, the black pigmentation is conferred by a dominant allele, in the leopard by a recessive allele. The animals original markings are still present but are subsumed by the excess amount of melanin in what is called ‘ghost striping‘. Just because a cub is black doesn’t mean that all in the litter will be so affected, a mix being quite usual. In certain conditions such as habitats where dense foliage limits light, the variant is more common, suggesting a possible link.
The coin is struck to a proof standard and has colouring on the reverse side. In what is a new technique, the base coat of colour is left off and that allows the original silver to shine through the top layers. It’s a great effect that doesn’t compromise the design, but lifts it out of the ordinary. We saw one of these in prototype form back in early February in Berlin and was impressed with the look. It helps that the coin design is so good as well. The full face artwork is first class, even reminiscent of CIT’s Mongolian series in aesthetic, if not in implementation. The inscriptions are very unobtrusive, as is the outline symbol at the top, the whole thing being cohesive and clean.
The obverse is typical Tanzania, featuring the national emblem, the denomination and the issuer. It’s a nice looking change from the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that adorns British and Commonwealth coins. At 2 oz in weight, the coin has plenty of relief and a decent size at 50 mm in diameter. The coin is packed in a box, inside a coloured shipper, and with an enclosed Certificate of Authenticity. Pricing is around the €200/$200 mark and it’s available now. Site sponsors APMEX, First Coin Company, Powercoin, and Numiscollect have them in stock.