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 coins under the authority of Niue. Most of these are commemorative and collector issues dedicated to historical or general popular culture themes not related to Niue itself. Others are bullion coins in sizes based on the troy ounce, or metric - including the enormous ten kilograms of gold format - such as this coin.
The coin is part of the Czech Lion series of gold and silver coins, minted since 2017, and is the first in this size. 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 kilogram.
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 obverse of the coin shows the crowned mature head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (her effigy known as the "Fourth Portrait"). The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Machin and the Gottwald portraits.
In tiny letters below the head, the artist's initials IRB (for Ian Rank-Broadley).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the value: ELIZABETH II · NIUE ISLAND · 80.000 DOLLARS · 2021.
The effigy and legend are in a small circle in the centre of the obverse. The wide rim around it has a relief pattern of a "flaming eagle" on a shield, representing Moravia and Silesia, two of the three historical Czech lands represented on the Coat of Arms of the Czech Republic (the outlines of the two eagles are identical, they only differ in colour, which is not shown on the coin).
In the margin above left, the precious metal content: 10 kg Au 999.9 (ten kilograms of 99.99% gold; Au is abbreviated from "Aurum", the Latin word for gold).
In the lower right, the mint mark of the Czech Mint - a crowned monogram of the letters ČM (Česká mincovna).
The reverse of the coin represents a realistic depiction of a lion's head, crowned with the crown of St Wenceslas (Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia between 921 and 935).
Around left, facing outward, the inscription ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA (Czech Republic).
In the lower right, a shield-shaped coloured hologram depicting a lion's head, and the designer's monogram is overlaid on the lion's mane.
Below right, a sprig of linden - the Czech national tree. Above that, a shield shaped hologram displaying a latent image of a lion's head.