Niue, a sovereign state in free association with New Zealand, uses two official legal tender currencies. The New Zealand Dollar is the circulation currency for daily transactions, while the government also authorises legal tender coins in the Niue Dollar currency for collector's purposes.
A number of mints issue a large variety of commemorative and collector coins under the authority of Niue. These coins are dedicated to historical or general popular culture themes not related to Niue itself. Many of them are in standard bullion sizes - such as a half ounce of gold (abbreviated as 1/2 oz Au, where "Au" comes from the Latin word for gold, Aurum).
This coin, commemorating the Battle of Iwo Jima, was issued as part of a four-coin gold proof set by the Czech Mint.
The Mint says about it:
Iwo Jima - a small and virtually insignificant island before the war, which was home to roughly one thousand inhabitants, became the scene of the one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War. The five-day victorious battle of the American army and its allies against the resolute Japanese army resulted in tens of thousands of casualties on both sides.
The brutal assault which began on February 19th, 1945, is the subject of a new issue from the End of the Second World War series, prepared for coin collectors and history buffs by the Czech Mint.
The United States entered the Second World War following the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the naval base in Pearl Harbor. It then began to repair the damage caused by Japan and reclaimed a large part of Southeast Asia and a number of islands in the Pacific. One of these happened to be Iwo Jima, which at the time served the Japanese as a strategic airstrip. 70,000 American soldiers boarded ships and attacked the island in two waves. The enemy commander Kuribayashi had "only" 21,000 men available and it was clear to him that fighting meant mass suicide. Nevertheless, his army demonstrated immense determination and ingenuity. They bravely defended their positions and attacked from underground tunnels and bunkers built under the Suribachi volcano. It took five days before the Americans and allies were able to cut off the volcano from the rest of the island.
The photograph taken by war photographer Joe Rosenthal showing six soldiers raising the American flag on the peak of Suribachi was seen round the world and has now also become the subject of the reverse of this new gold coin. While the enemy at that time had yet to be defeated, the photo gave the American troops strength and a much-needed boost for the rest of the several-week battle. The battle for Iwo Jima ended on March 26th, 1945, with enormous loss of life but victory for the American and allied army.