Bullion coins denominated in the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) are not exactly rare. Coins issues for the island nation of Niue, one familiar to coin collectors everywhere, have been a thing for years, but none of those NZD coins were ever issued for New Zealand. Until now. The New Zealand Post (the NZ Mint is a private mint, not actually issuing NZ coins) has launched the Chatham Island Crested Penguin, a 1oz fine silver coin with a 25,000 mintage.

It’s a pretty cool design by Tauranga NZ native, Dave Burke, offering an animal rarely seen in this genre, and neatly combines the subject with some Maori symbolism in the background. The depiction of the penguins is beautifully done, but we’re seeing low-res renders at present, so will reserve final judgment until we see the finished article. We will say that the NZ Post puts out some quite stunning coins and we’re really looking forward to seeing images of this one.

The obverse is the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, the Ian Rank Broadley version, which is quite standard for this producer – as you’d expect from any national mint in the Commonwealth. Unusually, each encapsulated coin comes with a certificate of authenticity. All told, a nice surprise for bullion collectors, combining a relatively tight mintage, great design and a national first. Exclusively distributed outside of New Zealand by Metal Market EU, it’s available to pre-order now, with shipping from 7th July, virus permitting, of course.

CHATHAM ISLAND CRESTED PENGUIN

Also called the Chatham penguin after the islands east of New Zealand where they lived, Eudyptes warhami was a species of crested penguins that became extinct around five centuries ago. This was because it had the unfortunate luck to be discovered by humans, in this case the Polynesians, who apparently wasted little time in wiping them out.

The Chatham Islands have plenty of evidence of the birds existence, with subfossil bones of several species being found regularly.Crested Penguins are still present on the islands, but it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that some were noted as being different to the existing colonies. Finally, in 2019, DNA analysis of the bones confirmed this was a previously undescribed species, and it was named E. Warhami after a pioneering researcher in penguin biology, John Warham.

The bird was one of the larger crested penguin species known, similar in size to a Royal Penguin. It wasn’t the only species to suffer the same fate at this time, with the Dwarf Yellow-Eyed Penguin also going the way of the Dodo.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 NZD (New Zealand)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.0 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 25,000
BOX / C.O.A. No / No
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