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New Zealand Annual Coin - Auckland Island Merganser Silver Proof Coin - Silver Coin

Silver Coin
GBP £147.29
Official Price Guaranteed
(item in basket)
Technical details
  • 02.08.2021
  • Stephen Fuller, Wellington, New Zealand
  • B.H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH
  • 2oz
  • 38.6mm
  • Five New Zealand dollars
About New Zealand Annual Coin - Auckland Island Merganser Silver Proof Coin

Mergansers are fish-eating waterfowl. The Auckland Island merganser Mergus australis was first discovered in 1840 after two French corvettes arrived at the rarely visited islands. Over the following 60 years around 20 specimens were collected, and is thought there were probably no more than 30 breeding pairs at any one time. The last sighting was in 1902, and by 1910 the species was declared extinct, primarily due to predation by introduced mammals, and collecting for museums. Fossil evidence shows that a similar species once occurred around coasts and in inland waterways of New Zealand, but became extinct by 1500 AD, not long after the arrival of humans.

This stunning coin features a coloured illustration of the extinct Auckland Island merganser, inspired by the few specimens that exist today. The merganser stands in front of the steep cliffs of the Auckland Islands, and a southern rātā, a native tree with bright red flowers. This 2oz coin has been minted at a 38.6mm diameter, distinguishing it from other 2oz silver coins issued by New Zealand Post.

Home to some of the rarest birds in the world, the remote Auckland Islands sit 465 km south of the New Zealand mainland. These are the largest of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, made up of the remains of two ancient volcanoes broken apart by glaciers. Rich biodiversity has earned this collection of islands a reputation as the Galapagos of the Southern Ocean. With no permanent human inhabitants, this UNESCO World Heritage site now stands as one of the last great protected wilderness areas on Earth.