World Coins

Five-ounce silver $8 coin features Lunar Zodiac race

Niue has issued a 2021 5-ounce .999 fine silver $8 coin depicting the Great Lunar Zodiac Race.

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A 2021 5-ounce .999 fine silver $8 coin from Niue tells the story of the Great Lunar Zodiac Race, which involves cunning, speed, strategy, and most of all, drama.

Several versions are told of the story of the lunar calendar’s origin. In some, the Great Jade Emperor (Heavenly Grandfather) ordered a race among the animals to celebrate his birthday. Others say that it was Buddha who called for a dozen creatures to compete. In all versions, however, 12 different animals were summoned to be symbols of the 12 years of the Chinese Lunar Zodiac cycle.

However, there was disagreement about their order; each animal wanted primacy. To secure their respective ranks in the zodiac, it was decided that the 12 would race across a rapidly flowing river.

Although the worst swimmer among all the animals, Rat was nonetheless very smart. He knew Ox was a very strong swimmer, so through flattery Rat convinced Ox to carry him across the river on Ox’s back.

As they neared the shore at the front of the herd of animals, Rat jumped ashore off Ox’s back, thus finishing first and claiming primacy in the Lunar Zodiac calendar. Ox finished in second place, with Tiger (also a very strong swimmer, despite being a feline) claiming third place.

Specifications, design

The Proof high-relief coin features selective gold plating.

The Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse, with the legend ELIZABETH II, the date of issue and denomination, and 5 OZ 999 SILVER.

A scene of all 12 animals competing in the race, with the ox front and center, appears on the reverse of the coin. There are no legends on this side to distract from the vignette.

The coin weighs 157.6 grams and measures 65 millimeters in diameter.

The coin has a mintage limit of 888 pieces, each encapsulated inside a highly polished, solid wood, clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and protected by a stylish outer box.

Each coin is individually numbered on its edge and is accompanied by an individually numbered certificate.

Distributor Talisman Coins offers the coin for $388.88.

To order or learn more, visit the firm’s website,

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