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All images courtesy of Talisman Coins.
Koalas are the cute and cuddly “bears” endemic to Australia, and as such have appeared on numerous coins.
Two new 2022 coins from Niue celebrate the marvelous marsupials and the bond between a mother and her baby joey.
The Proof .999 fine silver dollar and Proof .9999 fine gold $100 coin share a common design, with the only differences the denomination and metal fineness inscriptions. These coins feature a mother koala high in a eucalyptus tree, with her baby joey clinging to her back.
Despite its appearance, the “koala bear,” as the animal is sometimes called, isn’t really a bear at all, but rather a marsupial. Nonetheless it fascinates us because it’s so darn cute — it looks like a living teddy bear.
Appearances can be deceiving here, too, because koalas aren’t completely cuddly, either. They are arboreal (tree-dwelling), so they have very strong, sharp claws for climbing (and their bite can cause injury, as well).
Koalas live nearly their entire lives in the eucalyptus (gum) tree, where they feed almost exclusively on its leaves.
They have a very low metabolism for a mammal, so they spend up to 20 hours a day resting and sleeping (and the rest mostly eating). Eucalyptus leaves are high in toxic chemicals such as phenols and terpenes, which only the koala has adapted to deal with — the toxins are neutralized in its specialized liver.
Marsupials are unusual, and, many scientists believe, more primitive, mammals. Their best-known characteristic is the pouch for their young, and the koala is no exception.
The babies, called joeys, are only a quarter-inch long when born, and enter the world hairless, blind and earless, so the safety of mother koala’s pouch is a necessity for its first six months of life. For its second half-year the joey will generally ride on mom’s back.
The naturalistic reverse design captures the koala’s unique features, with engraving so meticulous that individual hairs on both the mother and baby can be discerned.
The obverse of both coins depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
The coins are encapsulated inside a luxurious clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and satin, and protected by a full color outer cardboard box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.
Both coins weigh 31.135 grams and measure 38.6 millimeters in diameter.
The silver dollar has a mintage limit of 750 pieces and the gold $100 coin has a mintage limit of 150 pieces.
Distributor Talisman Coins offers both coins to North American buyers.
The silver coin retails for $119.95 (with quantity discounts available) and the gold coin is $2,999.95 each.
To order the coin, or learn more, visit the firm’s website,
www.talismancoins.com.
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