World Coins

Fiji honors 2016 rugby gold medalists on 50-cent coin

Fiji celebrates its Olympics-winning national rugby sevens team with a circulating commemorative 50-cent coin struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Coin images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

A new coin in Fiji celebrates the national team’s gold medal win at the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

The 2017 Fiji Rugby Sevens 50-cent coin was unveiled April 20, along with a circulating commemorative $7 note. 

Reserve Bank Governor Barry Whiteside, said that “7s rugby is a sport that is loved by all Fijians, a sport that we excel in and a sport that continues to unite us all.”

Planning for the circulating commemoratives began shortly after the team won at Rio. The coin was originally planned to feature color, a first for Fiji.

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Color, though, presented many technological hurdles, including the “high possibility that the paint would come off the coins with constant circulation,” Whiteside said, adding, “Rather than totally forsaking the project, we decided to have at least something for everyone at the lowest cost possible — something that our children could get their hands on and hold on to.”

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One million of the legal tender coins have been issued. 

The obverse of the 50-cent coin features the year date, nation’s name and the denomination, joining a representation of the Fijian coat of arms. 

The central image is that of Fiji Rugby Sevens Olympic Coach Ben Ryan sitting at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes with arms folded and the ocean as the backdrop, and the inscription BEN RYAN SEVENS HEAD COACH around the coin in a semi-circle.

The reverse of the coin features the legend FIJI RUGBY 7S. The main image shows Fiji team members in their pre-game iconic bonding mode with the words GOLD OLYMPIANS inscribed on the bottom of the coin.

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