New Zealand issues a Sperm Whale proof silver coin with blue enamel highlighting

The New Zealand Post has issued its latest $1 proof silver coin and chosen one of the largest animals on the face of the earth as its subject. Relatively common in the waters around New Zealand, this huge whale can sometimes exceed 20 metres in length and weigh a colossal 50,000 kilograms. Able to dive down to 2.25 kilometres to hunt, only the Cuviers beaked whale is able to go deeper in the mammal group.

The coin is an ounce of fine 0.999 silver in weight, designed by Hannah Stancliffe-White and struck by the Helvetic Mint in Switzerland. It depicts a Sperm Whale and a calf just below the surface of the water, with a mountainous panorama in the background, in this case the Kaikoura coast on the north-east coast of New Zealands South Island. The water is represented by a translucent blue enamel that allows the whales to show through, enhancing the impression. The animals name in English and Latin, as well as the and denomination are inscribed on this face.

The obverse of the coin is a standard one for New Zealand – the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the inscribed date, composition and issuer.

The coin is displayed in an acrylic block that expands the imagery on the coin, all packed into a leatherette coin box, and sells for $149.00 NZD. Mintage is limited to 1,500 pieces and it’s available to order now.



Sperm whales are quite long lived, with females taking about 30 years to reach physical maturity, and larger males up to 50 years. Females won’t start breeding until they are around 9 years of age, and they then only give birth to one calf every five years. Females calves usually stay with their mum’s pod for life, while males will split off after around four years, at which point it will often form a pod with other young males until they reach sexual maturity at around 18 years of age.

In this detailed coin design, a mother and her calf can be seen diving in the deep oceans off the coast of Kaikoura. In the background is the majestic Mt Fyffe and the seaward Kaikoura ranges. This 1oz silver proof coin has had enamel syringed onto its surface to create the glossy coating of water. This coin is housed within an acrylic block that is a continuation of the scene depicted on the coin itself. Packed snugly into a baby blue, leatherette case, this collectable will add a dash of colour and intrigue to your collection.


COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIAMETER 40.00 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes