One of the only coin producers to incorporate the old filigree technique into its coins, Perth, Australia based Treasures of Oz have announced the final of three coins in their Snowflake Bears trilogy. Released one per year since 2015, each coin depicts one of the most well known bears in the world, the Polar Bear, the Grizzly Bear, and now, with a bit of a stretch, the Giant Panda.
The filigree technique involves the laying of twisted threads of metal to form patterns and images. Treasures of Oz were the first to use it in a coin with the debut of their first Filigree Lunar coin back in 2010 celebrating the 2011 Year of the Rabbit and have released a new lunar every year since, with the notable exception so far of 2016. Filigree has been used in the jewellery trade since ancient time, but it remains a novelty in the numismatic world.
Each of these coins is struck in an ounce of fine silver, in which sits a circular aperture of approximately 15mm diameter. Mounted inside the aperture is a filigree snowflake, hand-crafted, so each is unique. The rest of the reverse face is filled with a colour depiction of a Panda, along with a nice clean inscription of the animal type. The obverse carries a reduced size effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, along with the emblem of Tokelau and the rest of the usual inscriptions. The filigree insert is obviously visible from this side as well. Unusual coins, we like to see different concepts tried out and these are certainly that.
The coin is up for pre-order on the Treasures of Oz site now for $130.00 AUD and it should ship in a couple of weeks time (TBC). Keeping the lower 500 unit mintage of the second coin, it comes packaged in a snapper coin box inside a themed cardboard shipper. There’s also a $380.00 three-coin set which is confusingly listed as also having a 500 mintage. We’re not quite sure how that’s possible unless they’ve retroactively doubled the mintage of the 2016 coin, but we’ll look into it. One dealer is stating 250 sets, which makes more sense.