Every year, New Zealand issues a $5 annual coin in silver and over the last couple of years the theme has settled on some of the highly unusual birds that have lived in this fascinating country, but have passed into extinction. Back in 2014 the coin featured a huge penguin called the Kairuku, followed in 2015 with the Huia, a wattlebird with some intriguing differences between the male and female of the species. The Kairuku coin went with a realistic style of artwork, but the Huai featured a far more stylistic native style of artwork that has thankfully been carried over into 2016.  Maori art inspired coins are different and the NZ Post is very good at them, so it’s good to see them play to their strengths.

This is certainly a strong coin. The design isn’t as overtly Maori as the Huia coin, but Maori artist Dave Burke has done in our view a fantastic job of combining a dynamic bird in flight, with a beautifully detailed portrait of this magnificent creature. The feather detailing around the head is particularly impressive, but the real standout for me is the overall composition. Minimising the text inscriptions has also aided the overall look. Struck by BH Mayer in Germany, you can rest assured the strike will be of the highest quality.

Selling for $135 NZD (£61, $87 USD, €80), the coin comes in a box within a coloured shipper and will be shipping shortly. Collectors of Haast Eagle coins may also want to look at Numiscollects offering in their Animaux Prehistoriques range, and we have a new Mint of Poland effort being posted later in the week. For us however, this is the coin to get and stands up there with some of the finest bird themed numismatics of recent years.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei, known in Mäori as the pouakäi) was the world’s largest eagle, with an impressive 2-3 metre wingspan and weighing up to 17.8 kilograms. This imposing predator’s main source of prey was the moa, which it was more than equipped to hunt. It is thought that the Haast’s eagle would perch in the forest waiting for suitable prey to wander into its midst before swooping down with incredible force. It would camp out by its kill until it had devoured it entirely, which in the case of the moa (which could weigh up to 250 kilograms) could easily have
taken days.

Unfortunately the reliance on food sources such as the moa could have directly caused the Haast’s eagle’s extinction. After early human settlement resulted in the extinction of the moa, New Zealand goose, New Zealand swan and large rails, numbers of the Haast’s eagle diminished when it was unable to adapt, and it became extinct around 500 to 600 years ago.

This 1oz silver proof coin has been designed by renowned Mäori artist Dave Burke and features a visually impactful design. The coin depicts a close-up of the Haast’s eagle in the background, with the impressive bird swooping down to catch its prey in the foreground. The rim of the coin features both the Mäori and English name of this extinct species.

This legal tender coin is the only $5 silver proof commemorative coin to be issued annually. The coin comes with an individually numbered certificate that contains further detail about the Haast’s eagle. With a low worldwide mintage of just 1,500 coins, this beautiful coin would make a perfect addition to any New Zealand coin collection.

2014 KAIRUKU

2015 HUIA

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$5  NEW ZEALAND 0.9999 SILVER 31.1 g 40.0 mm PROOF 1,500 YES / YES
NEW ZEALAND POST