For the first time ever, the New Zealand Post has released a mini-gold coin, taking advantage of the growing popularity of the little 0.5g fine gold format that’s been popularised of late by producers, especially Coin Invest Trust and Treasures of Oz. Despite being only 11-15mm in diameter, the format is capable of holding a good level of detail and some fine designs have appeared on the market over the last few years. Some of the bigger producers have jumped on board, like the Perth Mint with its superb Wedge Tailed Eagle design, and the Monnaie de Paris with several of its own.
This coin features Hectors Dolphin, a species native only to the coastal waters of New Zealand’s South Island. Only 1.4m long, it is the smallest and rarest of the dolphin family, a survey a few years ago estimated the remaining population at around 7,270. They tend to stick to waters shallower than 100m and tend to spend a lot of their time by small reef systems and surf zones.
Hector’s dolphins live in groups of two to eight individuals. They feed at the ocean surface and sea floor, with their diets including ahuru, yellow-eyed mullet, kahawai, arrow squid, herring, and red cod. They’re generalist feeders, with prey selection based on size rather than species, typically smaller prey which tends to measure under 10 cm. in length. Natural predators of Hector’s dolphins include sharks and killer whales (orca).
The coin has a very nice design in our view, a mix of the stylistic waves and the realistic dolphin, and is one not trying to cram too much into the available space. We think the result is a success and it will be interesting to see if the New Zealand Post decides to be more prolific with its releases in this format. Struck by the talented German mint, BH Mayer Kunstprågeanstalt GmbH, it would be no surprise if this sold out in short order. Mounted to a card, the 4,000 mintage, Richard Payne designed coin is available to order now for $69.00 NZD.