|Coin||Silver Ounce 2021 Pirate Queens - Ching Shih|
Apart from its regular circulating coinage, Solomon Islands has authorised a number of private mints to issue collector coins in precious metals, which are legal tender in the country but are not intended for general circulation. Many of them are in standard bullion sizes - typically, one ounce of silver (abbreviated as 1 oz Ag, where "Ag" comes from the Latin word for silver, Argentum). These are usually dedicated to historical or general popular culture themes not related to the country itself.
This design is the second issue in the Pirate Queens series of premium bullion coins by the Royal Australian Mint, and features Chinese pirate Ching Shih - one of the most notorious female pirates of her time.
Ching Shih was born Shih Yang in 1775 in a poverty-ridden community in Guangdong Province, China. To supplement her family's income, she worked as a prostitute from an early age before marrying the pirate Zheng Yi and building a strong fleet of some 1,200 ships to sail the world's oceans. A force of 80,000 men was under her command - compared to the famous pirate Blackbeard, who commanded only a few thousand men and about 300 ships.
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 small 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 · SOLOMON ISLANDS 2021 · 2 DOLLARS ·.
Enclosed in a circle reminiscent of a ship's helm, the reverse of the coin shows a Chinese pirate ship under sail, with a flag on top of its main mast. A majestic phoenix draws a circle around the ship with its tail.
Around above left, the precious metal content 1 oz .999 SILVER (one troy ounce of 99.9% silver). Around above right, the inscription CHING SHIH.
The designer's initials AWB (for Adam William Ball) are below right, just above the waves.
||1 oz .999 SILVER CHING SHIH
Finish: Brilliant Uncirculated.
Packaging: in capsule, or 10 coins in a mint roll, or 240 coins in a masterbox.