|Coin||Fifty Dollars Silver 1991 Eastern Cougar|
The Cook Islands, a sovereign state in free association with New Zealand, uses two official legal tender currencies. The New Zealand Dollar circulates in parallel with the local Cook Islands Dollar; at the same time, the government also authorises many legal tender coins in the Cook Islands Dollar currency for collector's purposes.
Collector coins are dedicated to historical or general popular culture themes not related to the country itself. Many of them are in standard bullion sizes, but the silver Fifty Dollars - such as this coin - are not; their weight is more than a half ounce but less than one ounce, and also less than that of a British Crown, even though the diameter is the same as the latter (hence, the coins are thinner).
This coin was issued as part of a Royal Mint twelve-coin set featuring Endangered Wildlife, and is dedicated to the Eastern Cougar.
The eastern cougar or eastern puma (Puma concolor couguar) is the extirpated population of cougars that lived in northeastern North America, which some authorities have considered to be a subspecies. The eastern cougar was considered endangered at the time when the coin was issued, and was later unofficially deemed extinct by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluation in 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally removed the eastern cougar from the endangered species list and declared it to be extinct in 2018. The Canadian Wildlife Service has taken no position on the question.
Cougars are still common in western North America; individuals from that population are occasionally seen as vagrants in the eastern cougar's former range.
The obverse of the coin shows the crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II, facing right (her effigy known as the "Third Portrait"). The Queen is wearing the royal diadem which she wears on her way to and from the State Opening of Parliament, a pearl necklace and earrings.
Incuse in tiny letters on the neck truncation, the designer's initials RDM (for Raphael David Maklouf).
Around, the monarch's legend and the date of issue: ELIZABETH II COOK ISLANDS 1991.
The reverse of the coin shows an Eastern Cougar and her cub.
Around above left and right, the name of the series: ENDANGERED WILDLIFE.
Around below, the face value and denomination 50 DOLLARS.
||ENDANGERED WILDLIFE 50 DOLLARS
Note that the Royal Mint announced mintage of 25,000 for each coin in the set but only 1,000 sets. At the same time, it does not appear that the coins were issued separately. It is probable that the 1,000 number applies only to sets that contain a Certificate of Authenticity.
|Included in Set|
|Endangered Wildlife Silver Proof Coin Collection 1991, mintage 1,000
12 coins: Alpine Ibex, Deer, Eagle Owl, Eastern Cougar, European Otter, Hummingbird, Jackass Penguin, Kangaroo, Lion, Peregrine Falcon, Dolphin, Persian Fallow Deer