Great Britain’s colonial impulses knew few limits, and infamously
placed the crown in conflict with natives around the globe.
In New Zealand, that pitted the English against the native Maori
people, who eventually signed a treaty delineating terms of settlement
and governing rights of the Maori. The treaty is an agreement, in
Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about
540 Māori rangatira (chiefs).
The treaty is treated as the founding document of New Zealand, and
though it was meant to be a partnership between Māori and the British
Crown, different understandings of the treaty, and breaches of it,
have caused conflict.
The Treaty of Waitangi (which is actually a group of nine different
documents) is named after the place in the Bay of Islands where it was
first signed on Feb. 6, 1840. It was also signed in a number of other
locations around the country in subsequent months.
The treaty was created so that Great Britain could annex the
country, protect Māori, regulate British subjects and secure
Some 175 years later, the treaty remains a sometimes controversial,
even divisive subject.
In 1935, however, New Zealand honored the treaty with one of the
most famous type coins of the 20th century — the Waitangi crown.
The 1935 New Zealand .500 fine silver crown marked the 95th
anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi.
King George V, who also served as emperor of New Zealand, graces the
obverse of the silver crown.
A native and an English representative shake hands before a giant
regal crown backdrop on the reverse.
The coin was issued in Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof editions,
with a total of 660 BU examples issued. Of the 468 Proof coins issued,
364 were sold as part of the 1935 Proof sets.
A Proof 64 Cameo example of the Waitangi crown (graded by Numismatic
Guaranty Corp.) is offered in Heritage Auctions’ American Numismatic
Association World’s Fair of Money sale in Rosemont, Ill.
The Heritage auction is scheduled for Aug. 12 to 17.
The coin has an estimate of $5,000 to $6,000 U.S.
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