New Zealands annual $5 silver coin features a native bird, the Laughing Owl
Just once a year the New Zealand Post issues a $5 silver commemorative coin and like the Royal Australian Mint’s Kangaroo series, they’re themed into smaller chunks to give the long-running and open-ended series some kind of structure for collectors. We often find that a series without end, or simply one of a size too large for most to collect, often ends up with people buying none of the coins instead. We like to complete a set, so sub-sets are a sensible compromise.
The current subset features animals that are extinct and follows one that covered endangered creatures. With a quite unique set of fauna, New Zealand has plenty of interesting subjects to adorn its numismatics and this series has been no exception. The Laughing Owl is the fourth to debut, previous coins featuring the Kairuku (2014), the Huia (2015) and the magnificent Haast’s Eagle (2016), the latter in particular being a superb design.
Struck in a troy ounce of fine silver, devoid of modifications, this is again, a classic numismatic combining the bird with some traditional Maori-inspired imagery in the background similar to that of the Huia coin. The actual style of the coins in this series isn’t as tightly woven as many others, no doubt in part because of changing designers and even changing mints doing the actual production. This one is struck by the Helvetic Mint, previous years having seen BH Mayer (twice) and the Royal Dutch Mint do the honours. The last two coins have been designed by Maori artist Dave Burke.
The obverse has the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley on it, surrounded by inscriptions detailing the issue. The denomination appears on the reverse face. Packaging is the standard NZP black snapper case inside a coloured shipper box. This also includes the Certificate of Authenticity. Price is $139.00 NZD ($97 USD / €93 / £79), a bit more than we’d like, but offset a little by the 1,500 mintage and the popularity of these.