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, bullion 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, based on the troy ounce - such as the half ounce of silver format (abbreviated as 1/2 oz Ag, where "Ag" comes from the Latin word for silver, Argentum).
This coin was issued as part of a four-coin silver proof set by the Czech Mint, featuring the Lords of Pernštejn noble family.
The Mint says about it:
Through this set of silver coins The Czech Mint presents an interesting segment of our history, which represent the members of the famous Moravian noble family - the Pernštejn. Originally, the Lords of Medlov got their name in the middle of the XIII century by the newly built castle Pernštejn in the Regionof Žďársko. The dominant feature of the character is a black bison head with an elongated withy plaque in gold field. According to legend, the family was founded by the collier Věňava, who caught and tamed wild bison, brought his with the withy inserted through the nostrils to the king to Brno and beheaded him with an axe. For this his bravery and strength he gained from the sovereign prerogatives, wooded areas and a crest commemorating his feat. The first documented member of the family was then Hotart - mentions of him dates back to the year 1174. His son was Štepán from Medlov, from whom comes the first name Pernštejn later.
The biggest expansion of the Perštejn was in the 16th century. Along with the Rožmberk they belonged to the most powerful families of the Czech crown. Thanks to the expansion of land ownership and sophisticated management they soon ranked among the three richest families. They had large estates not only in Moravia. In eastern Bohemia, for example, they built a significant network of ponds and irrigation ditches, many of which still exist today. The Pernštejns died out in the 17th century and the last man was Vratislav of Pernštejn and the last wife his aunt Polyxena. Their heirs became Lobkowicz, who also took the famous coat of arms.
Vratislav II of Pernštejn (Vratislav II of Pernstein; 9th July 1530 - 20th October 1582), who is depicted on this coin, was a skilful diplomat and high chancellor of the Bohemian Kingdom. As a young man he became friends with the future Emperor Maximilian II in Vienna. A strong friendship was formed between the two noblemen and due to that fact, Vratislav was moving in very high circles. He was married to a Spanish noblewoman, María Manrique de Lara y Mendoza, maid of honour of the future Empress Maria of Spain, who bore him 21 children. Vratislav was known for his generous support of the sciences and arts.
In the upper half of the obverse, 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. There are no designer's initials below the effigy.
Around left, ELIZABETH II.; around right, NIUE ISLAND. Horizontally below the effigy, the face value and date of issue 1 DOLLAR · 2015. Below the 5 of the date, the mint mark of the Czech Mint - a crowned monogram of the letters ČM (Česká mincovna).
In the lower half of the obverse, a depiction of the legendary Věňava leading a bull by the nose and brandishing a club in his right hand.