|Coin||Fifty Dollars Silver 1991 Hummingbird|
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 Hummingbird.
Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas and comprise the biological family Trochilidae. With about 360 species, they occur from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but the vast majority of the species is found in the tropics. They are small birds, with most species measuring 7.5 - 13 cm in length. The smallest extant hummingbird species is the 5 cm bee hummingbird, which weighs less than 2.0 g. The largest hummingbird species is the 23 cm giant hummingbird, weighing 18 - 24 grams. They are specialised for feeding on flower nectar, but all species consume flying insects or spiders.
They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings, which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in midair at rapid wing-flapping rates, which vary from around 12 beats per second in the largest species to around 80 per second in small hummingbirds. Of those species that have been measured during flying in wind tunnels, their top speeds exceed 15 m/s (54 km/h).
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 a hummingbird hovering next to an open flower, preparing to drink from its nectar.
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