Collectors have long been able to buy noncirculating legal tender
coins from the Cook Islands, issued by various private and national
mints under license from the tiny archipelago in the Pacific.
But in August, the Cook Islands issued a new series of its own
circulating coins, as part of a currency reform coordinated through
the Royal Australian Mint. It was the third such reform and relaunch
completed by the RAM for a Pacific Ocean nation within about a month,
joining changes for Tonga and Vanuatu (Coin World, Aug. 31 and
Sept. 14 issues).
The new Cook Islands coins are lighter and cheaper than the entity’s
previous series of circulating coins. The last major change to Cook
Islands’ circulating coins was in 1972, and for many years, New
Zealand coins have been used in the Cook Islands because the Islands’
coins had become scarce, according to the Cook Islands’ Ministry of
Finance and Economic Management.
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The new coins maintain the same designs as the Islands’ previous
series, and include the famous $1 coin depicting a fertility statue
and the triangle-shaped $2 coin. The coins range in denomination from
a 10-cent piece to the new $5 coin, this a new denomination of
circulating coin for the nation, making it the Cook Islands’ highest
The 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins are composed of nickel-plated steel
and are silver in color.
The $1, $2 and $5 coins are composed of aluminum-bronze and are golden-colored.
The $5 coin reverse depicts the traditional sailing boat, known as a
vaka, in full glory on the open seas with the constellations by which
the Cook Islands peoples navigate.
Old Cook Islands coins will remain legal tender through Jan. 31,
2016, after which time only the new coins or current New Zealand coins
will be accepted for payments in cash transactions.
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