World Coins

Singapore Mint's silver bird coins take flight

Four new silver coins from the Singapore Mint, issued for Cambodia, celebrate Singapore’s native birds.

The second part of the Discovery of Nature series, the Native Birds of Singapore coins were released April 1, during the Singapore International Coin Fair 2016

The four-coin set is created with a rimless minting effect so that the reverses of the Proof .999 fine silver half-ounce 3,000-riel coins can be seamlessly joined together in a shape that portrays a bird about to take flight.

The coins were minted by The Singapore Mint and issued by the National Bank of Cambodia, to represent Cambodia and Singapore’s shared belief in the importance of bird conservation.

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The coins feature four different species of birds presented with their preferred types of food and natural habits: the chestnut-bellied malkoha, the black-headed bulbul, the lesser green leafbird, and the grey-headed fish-eagle.

To make the birds as vivid and realistic as possible, colored elements were applied to the coins. 

Yip Pak Ling, director at the Singapore Mint, said in a press release: “These vibrant and characteristic birds are present in our surroundings, but we rarely stop to appreciate the wonders of nature and appreciate that these birds are native to our homeland. The Singapore Mint hopes to bring about greater awareness of bird and nature conservation by bringing the Discovery of Nature set to life through the combination of precision minting technology and skilful craftsmanship.”

The grey-headed fish-eagle is a majestic brown raptor with distinct gray head. Its wings are covered in dark brown feathers with black tips, while the tail is white with black terminal band. This eagle is globally threatened by the increasing loss of undisturbed wetlands, where its primary source of food — fish, is found.

The lesser green leafbird is a locally critically endangered species. The male leafbird can be easily identified by its characteristic black mask in addition to its yellow forehead. In contrast, the female leafbird is entirely green. As a rare resident of the forests, it forages mostly in the middle storey and canopy of forest for fruits, small insects and nectar. The lesser green leafbird expresses itself uniquely in a series of loud, rich and varied warbling calls.

The black-headed bulbul is one of the rarest resident bulbuls of Singapore. The bulbul is covered mostly in bright yellow plumage, with a glossy black head and beautiful pale blue iris. The black-headed bulbul is a locally critically endangered species, and is usually seen in small groups feeding at fruiting figs.

The only extant malkoha species in Singapore is occasionally found foraging in the forest for large insects and lizard prey. The head and underparts of the malkoha are mostly dark gray, in contrast with its glossy green wings and chestnut undertail. A distinctive feature of this endangered species is its bright red facial patch and pale green bill.

The four-coin set is packaged in a specially designed wing-shaped capsule housed in a box with images of greenery and open sky.

The 2016 release has a mintage limit of 3,000 sets and retails for $300 (in Singapore funds).

To order the coins, visit the Singapore Mint website

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