Silver New Zealand Hawksbill Turtle

The most popular bullion coin program from the New Zealand Mint is the Silver Hawksbill, or Taku, coin. Struck on an annual basis since 2010, the Hawksbill coin is a bullion product produced for the island nation of Niue {pronounced (New A)}. It has become the most popular coin from the mint, and is gaining notoriety in the global marketplace.

COMPOSITION      0.999 SILVER

WEIGHT     31.1 g

SIZE    40.5 mm

Mintage 200,000

Hawksbill turtles were chosen for this coin program because of the deep connection of the sea turtle species to the locals in the South Pacific

Like many sea turtles, Hawksbill’s are a critically endangered species due mostly to human impact. Hawksbill eggs are still eaten around the world despite the turtle’s international protected status, and they are often killed for their flesh and their stunning shells that are highly valuable in some marketplaces.

The tiny Pacific nation is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand. Located 1,500 miles northeast of New Zealand, the nation is home to just 1,190 residents.

The Hawksbill turtle, known in the South Pacific as the Taku, is a beautiful sea turtle that is native to the waters around Fiji. Occasionally the animal is spotted in the Cook Straight near the Cook Islands, and routinely migrates the shores of northern New Zealand as well. Named for the sharp beak on its head, the Hawksbill is famous for the bright, brilliant colors that adorn its shell.

The New Zealand Mint introduced this bullion coin in 2010, and produces it to standards similar to those of the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Each year, the image on the obverse face of the coin remains the same.

A major difference between this coin and other bullion programs is the limited mintage. While several million American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf coins are struck each year, the New Zealand Mint tightly restricts the mintage of these coins.

On the obverse face is the image of a Hawksbill turtle as it swims through the warm waters of the South Pacific. A small sliver of the coin’s left side has a mirror-like finish with the word “Turtle” engraved within it, while the majority of the obverse has a frosted finish to differentiate the water from the turtle.

The reverse face bears Ian Rank-Broadley’s image of Queen Elizabeth II. His right-profile portrait of Her Majesty was created in 1998, and the design includes engravings of Her Majesty’s name, the nation of issue, face value, and year of issue.

Fijiian Taku Bullion Coin ended in 2013, due to onerous changes in the licensing agreement by the government of Fiji. Since 2009, Fiji has been suspended from both the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth of Nations because of a failure to hold the first free elections since the military coup in late 2006. This led to, 2013 dated coins, having the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II removed from the obverse of the Taku, along with all the countries other coinage, in favor of an emblem representing the country itself.

With no 2014 coins being possible, the New Zealand Mint was said to be looking for alternatives and they’ve decided to take the logical route and modify the Taku design and issue it for their long-term partners, Niue. At present available only in silver, the coin carries over most of the attractive design that made the Taku a big favorite.

Minted by the Sunshine Mint in the USA, the same company responsible for the Tokelau Lunar Horse bullion coin

 

New Zealand Mint is actually a privately-owned mint located in Auckland. Though it produces coins such as the Silver New Zealand Hawksbill Turtle for other nations, New Zealand’s official currency is produced by Britain’s Royal Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint.

 

My opinion about the Hawksbill:

This bullion really caught my eye.  With its off-center design and featuring a turtle, I had to have one

The queen effigy presents the issue I have with the mirrored finish of her face that seems to attract scratches and when they are there are too obvious to ignore

Definitely a collectible when the queens face is blemish free but not a stack able bulk purchase item to retaining wealth for me.