Editor's note: The following is the first of a multi-part Coin World series about the prominence of bison on coins from all over the world prepared by Jeff Starck for the August 2014 monthly edition of Coin World.
Read other posts in the series:
The American bison and its worldly relatives are increasingly popular topics for New World coins, with a bevy of bison coins issued in the past three years.
When the Royal Canadian Mint issues two coins showing bison in its Aug. 5 launch, it will bring to 14 the tally of Canadian coins featuring bison in their design in the past three years.
From a series of silver $20 coins to precious metal versions and bullion releases, just about every scene imaginable showing bison has been seen on recent collector coins.
Canada is not alone in issuing a bevy of bison coins in that period, with Belarus, Niue, Poland and Tuvalu, among others, showcasing the stalwart of the American Plains or its relatives, Canada’s wood bison and the European bison.
Facing the bison head-on
One of the newest bison coins, a silver dollar released in early July by the Perth Mint, shows the beast in a popular image, its head facing the left side of the coin as the viewer holds the coin in upright orientation.
The American bison (Bison bison) graces the reverse of this coin, struck and issued for Tuvalu in a design by Michael Glass.
The Ultra High Relief coin is struck on a specially thick concave planchet so the design can be rendered in a medallic manner, said John Winkelmann of Talisman Coins, an official Perth Mint distributor.