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 is part of the "Czech Lion" series of gold and silver coins, minted since 2017. World bullion coins are often dedicated to national symbols, therefore the "Czech Lion", which is the first mintage of its kind intended for the Czech market, is not an exception. The weight of this gold coin by the Czech Mint is one half of a troy ounce.
The legend of Bruncvík, a mythical prince who travelled to Africa, where he helped the animal king to fight the dragon, belongs to the most famous stories of how an exotic lion became a symbol of the Czech land. Old chroniclers offer a more plausible explanation. According to them, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa rewarded Prince Vladislaus II with a royal crown and a new heraldic animal, which replaced the previous eagle in 1158.
The lion represented the knight's virtues, strength and courage, which were demonstrated by Vladislaus during the conquest of Milan in the imperial service. And how did the heraldic beast come to its second tail? Heroism played a key role again. King Ottokar I of Bohemia helped Emperor Otto IV. in the fight against the Saxons in 1204, and the Czech lion received a second tail for it, which distinguished it from the beasts of other nations and provided it with a unique prestige. However, medieval writers liked to colour their stories, therefore they are not a reliable source of information. The first verifiable Czech lion was a symbol of the Přemyslid dynasty and appears on the equestrian seal of Vladislaus Henry from 1203. Only Ottokar II, the Iron and Golden King, placed the lion on the coat of arms.
All variants of the bullion coin were reworked in 2021, but the main idea remains. The reverse sides are dominated by the Czech lion in a non-traditionally realistic rendering, with the St. Wenceslas Crown on its head. The obverse sides bear an eagle on a shield, which is a synthesis of St. Wenceslas, Moravian and Silesian predators.
The author is medal maker Asamat Baltaev, DiS, who also designed earlier the coins in the series. Since the Czech Mint's coins are licensed by a foreign issuer, the island of Niue, their obverse sides bear its necessary attributes - the name and portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the year of issue 2021 and the nominal value of 50 dollars (NZD).
The Czech Mint says that "While investment coins of foreign mints are minted in millions of pieces, the emission limit of coins minted in the Czech Republic is counted in hundreds or thousands. This fact increases the potential for appreciation of investment and adds a collector's dimension. Thanks to the artistic processing, the coin will also serve perfectly as an original and valuable gift - for graduation, wedding, the birth of a child or just for fun..."