Azure kingfisher takes flight on coins for Niue
- Published: Apr 19, 2023, 9 AM
Two 2023 coins from Niue are apparently the first ever coins issued to feature the colorful bird. The Proof 1-ounce .999 fine silver dollar and Proof 1-ounce .9999 fine gold $100 coin are now available from distributor Talisman Coins.
Both share the same basic design, with the denomination and precious metals indications the only differences. The star of the designs, in color, is the azure kingfisher, which is found in northern and eastern Australia and Tasmania.
About the bird
The azure kingfisher lives along the banks of vegetated creeks, lakes, swamps, tidal estuaries, and mangrove swamps that are covered in plant life, from which it ambushes its prey. The azure kingfisher measures up to 8 inches in length, including its tail. Adults weigh only about 1 ounce.
The bird’s striking colors include a deep blue to azure back, a large white to buff spot on the side of the neck and throat, orange-buff with some blue-violet streaks on the breast and flanks, and red feet, with only two forward-facing toes.
The lores (the space between the eyes and the bill) are white and inconspicuous unless viewed head on, where they stand out as two large, white, eye-like spots, which may have a role in warding off potential predators.
The azure kingfisher feeds on small fish, crustaceans (including shrimp and yabbies, the Australian word for crayfish), water beetles, spiders, locusts and small frogs and tadpoles. The bird darts down upon its prey so quickly that it often appears as merely an indistinct blur. Although the azure kingfisher has relatively wide distribution over the Australian continent and beyond, its populations have been decreasing in recent years.
About the coins
The coins’ colorized reverses show an adult azure kingfisher returning to its tree with a fish in its beak after a successful dive into the river for food.
The legend AZURE KINGFISHER indicates the theme.
The obverse depicts the coat of arms of the island nation of Niue. The inscription ATUA NIUE TUKULAGI translates as “God, Niue Forever.”
The date of issue, denomination and indications of the weight, fineness and metal also appear.
The coins are encapsulated inside a clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and satin, and protected by a full color outer cardboard box. An individually numbered certificate of authenticity is included.
The silver dollar weighs 31.135 grams and measures 38.6 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 1,000 pieces and retails for $119.95 each, with quantity discounts available from the distributor.
The gold $100 coin weighs 31.135 grams and measures 38.6 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 99 pieces and retails for $2,949.95.
For more information or to order the coins, visit the distributor website, www.talismancoins.com.
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