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.

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