World Coins

New Zealand to issue colorized 50-cent coin in circulation

New Zealand will become the fourth nation to issue a color-added circulating coin on March 23 with the release of 1 million 50-cent coins with added black and white background, honoring the ANZAC centenary.

Image courtesy of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

On March 23, New Zealand will become the newest country to issue a coin for circulation bearing added color.

The 50-cent coin, which was announced Feb. 10, will mark the ANZAC centenary, 100 years since the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops in World War I.

The coin will specifically honor the April 25, 1915, landing of ANZAC troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

It is the first New Zealand colorized circulating coin to be produced. The coin will be in circulation as legal tender and available for collectors. 

New Zealand joins Canada, Papua New Guinea and Australia as nations with colorized circulating coins. The Royal Canadian Mint, which struck the colorized Papua New Guinea and Canadian coins, also struck this coin for New Zealand (the RCM also strikes New Zealand’s standard 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins.)

The colorized 50-cent coin is minted as usual, before a special high-speed pad printing process stamps on the black and white color. 

A total of 1 million 2015 New Zealand coins will be released, the number representing the size of New Zealand’s population at the start of World War I. 

The Anzac coin design features a New Zealand and an Australian soldier standing back to back, their heads bowed in remembrance. The intervening space and background is filled with the black color, with the filigreelike patterns of the mangopare (hammerhead shark) in white in the field in front of each soldier. The mangopare symbolizes strength and determination. Silver fern fronds, reflecting New Zealand’s national identity, flank the design field at left and right. 

The added colors reflect New Zealand’s national colors. 

NZ Post commissioned renowned New Zealand artist Dave Burke to design the coin as part of its wider five-year Anzac commemorative stamp and coin program. 

The 2015 ANZAC 50-cent coin is struck to the same specifications as the standard design, and will be accepted in vending machines, according to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. The new design does not replace the standard design, of Capt. James Cook’s Endeavour, which will continue to appear on the regular 50-cent coin.

New Zealand Post Group will handle the distribution and pre-ordering of Anzac coins. The opportunity to preorder a limited number of the coins will be made available to the public beginning Feb. 23, one month before the coins will be available to the public through PostShops and Kiwibank branches, according to the New Zealand Post.

Groups representing former and current armed services, and members of New Zealand Returned Service's Association and the New Zealand Defence Force, have the opportunity to pre-order a limited number of coins beginning Feb. 10, according to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Information released to the media Feb. 10 did not address whether any of the pre-ordered coins would be shipped to purchasers ahead of the general release into circulation, nor whether premiums would be charged for coins purchased via pre-orders.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand will assess demand for the Anzac circulating commemorative coin before making further decisions about other circulating commemorative coins marking the ANZAC anniversary.

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