The Mint of Finland on May 27 is issuing two ringed bimetallic €5 coins in a new series.
The series will honor all of Finland’s nine historic provinces and will show an animal from each province.
Karelia and Savonia kick off the Animals of the Provinces series, which is the third coin series struck in honor of Finland's historic provinces.
”Provincial coins immortalize in metal things that are essential to Finnishness – livelihoods, culture, and now animals. Maybe that is why so many Finns have purchased the coins of their provinces. The provincial five-euro coins rank amongst the most popular coins minted by Mint of Finland,” said Mint of Finland CEO Paul Gustafsson, in a press release
Mint of Finland began minting provincial coins in 2010. In 2012 and 2013, the series depicted the landmark buildings of Finland's historic provinces, after the coins minted in 2010 and 2011 featured traditional livelihoods and provincial culture. In 2009 Finland disbanded provincial governments, at which point there were six provinces. However, the nine historical provinces celebrated in this series date to the 16 th century, and were superseded in 1634.
The obverse of each coin in the new series features the animal and the reverse bears the coat-of-arms of the respective province.
The Karelian coin features the cuckoo, which has long been the provincial bird of Karelia. In addition to the cuckoo, Karelia’s coin displays traditional Karelian lake vista. According to the Mint of Finland, the cuckoo is a timid bird that is rarely sighted, since it is most comfortable hiding in the dense boughs of trees. The cuckoo’s song is recognizable, though, and important in Finnish culture.
“The Finnish people have attached many beliefs to its cuckooing throughout the ages. For example, a person’s remaining years have been counted by the cuckoo’s first summer song,” according to the Mint of Finland.
The 2014 coin for Savonia bears the black-throated loon, the provincial bird. The black-throated loon is a familiar sight on rugged, clear lakes, as seen on the new coin with an island visible in the horizon.
The loon is a champion swimmer, a skilful fisher and only stays on dry land to nest. To the Finnish people, the black-throated loon is also the bird of story and myth, the First Bird. Fossil records indicate that ancestors of the loon fished waters as early as 40 million years ago, according to the Mint of Finland.