Monday, January 11, 2010

Ukraine Issues "International Year of Astronomy" Commemorative Coin

October 14, 2009: Approaching the end of 2009 comes this cupro-nickel brilliant uncirculated coin issued by the National Bank of Ukraine to commemorate the International Year of Astronomy. The International Year of Astronomy in 2009 coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo Galilei, as well as the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century which details his laws on planetary motion.

Ukraine 2009 5 Hryvnia International Year Of Astronomy BU

Following on from a series of commemorative coins issued throughout the world celebrating the topical theme of space and astronomy, with 2009 also being the 40th anniversary of the first moon walk, the National Bank of Ukraine struck two coins to celebrate this import scientific year. The 100 Hryvnia IYA coin was struck in an impressive 1 kilograms of 99.9% fine silver, on a 100mm flan. The more affordable 5 Hryvnia was struck from the familiar composite of cupro-nickel, also known by some as German silver, at a weight of 16.54 grams on a 35mm surface area, with an equally stunning design.

On the reverse is a mixed design featuring elements important to the International Year of Astronomy. In the upper left quarter is the official IYA 2009 logo, featuring two figures looking up into a stylised cosmos. To the right is a portrait of noted Russian philosopher, astrologist, writer and doctor, Yuriy Drohobych, with the years of his life below. In the bottom portion are various objects used in astronomical research. To the left is the inscription "МІЖНАРОДНИЙ РІК АСТРОНОМІЇ" (International year of astronomy). The obverse has, at the top, the inscription "НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНИ" (National Bank of Ukraine), with the coat of arms in the centre. Below is a composite image symbolizing the Cosmos, with the image of Urania, the patroness of astronomy, one of the nine Muses in the Greek mythology, to the left, with a fragment of a scheme showing the motion of solar system planets to the right. Near the bottom is the year of issue (2009) and the denomination inscribed within a stylised ribbon. The coin is supplied in a protective plastic flip.

The International Year of Astronomy commemorative coins have generated plenty of interest throughout the world, mostly due to the popular theme of space and the stunningly detailed designs. Euro Collections International has a special section dedicated to displaying all the coins issued to mark 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, and you can see our showcase by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fiji Issues Commemorative Silver Bullion Coin Honouring The Hawksbill Turtle (Taku)

Authorised by the Fijian government, this silver bullion coin commemorating the Hawksbill sea turtle, or Taku as it is known locally, has been released for 2010 and has captured the interest of collectors of world bullion and striking silver issues with an ocean-theme.

Fiji 2010 $2 Hawksbill Turtle Taku 1oz Silver BU

While Taku is one of four sea turtle species that are in abundance amongst the islands of Fiji, it is listed as critically endangered throughout the rest of the world. The Hawksbill turtle, belonging to the family Cheloniidae, is the only species in the Eretmochelys genus, while there is an Atlantic and an Indo-Pacific subspecies. The Hawksbill's appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles; a generally flattened body shape, protective carapace, and flipper-like arms that are adapted for swimming in the open ocean. Where Taku differs from other sea turtles is by its sharp, curving beak and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins.

Because of human fishing practices, Hawksbill populations around the world are threatened with extinction and the turtle has been classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union. Several countries, such as China and Japan, have valued hunting Hawksbill turtles for their flesh, which is considered a delicacy. Hawksbill turtle shells are the primary source of tortoise shell material, used for decorative purposes. By the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it is illegal to capture and to trade in Hawksbill turtles and products derived from them in many nations.

Featured on the reverse of this bullion issue is an eye-catching, stylised depiction of Taku swimming in its natural habitat. Its name is inscribed towards the top of the coin, while the coin specifications are noted near the bottom. The obverse carries an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II together with the country and year of issue, and the nominal face value.

Each 2010 $2 Fiji Taku bullion coin is struck to brilliant uncirculated quality from 31.10 grams of 99.9% pure silver, with the turtle design perfectly detailed on the 40.70mm flan. The coin is supplied within a sealed plastic flip in a small folder that doubles as a Certificate of Authenticity.