There are numerous countries with beautiful coins around the world. In the Pendant and Ring series, “World Coin Tour” we can explore the artistry of each countries’ coinage. We cannot cover every country all at once, but one at a time we can hop across the globe. Join us for our first installment of the “World Coin Tour,” today, and subscribe so you never miss an installment!
Our first stop on the “World Coin Tour” is the beautiful island State of Papua New Guinea. This country is the eastern half the New Guinea island, located just north of Australia. As a territory of the British Empire, the British Mint produces the currency. The coins include some beautifully rendered engravings of the local island wildlife.
Papua New Guinea is one of many countries to include local flora and fauna on their coinage. As a territory of the realm, Queen Elizabeth II handpicked each engraving from a long list of stunning designs. Although there are over forty-five different coin designs, we will focus on five lovely coins today.
The obverse of our first two coins features a Bird of Paradise captured mid-display, over an indigenous-designed, two-sided, Kundu drum and spear. The Kundu drums create a deep sound perfect for dancing, but not so deep as a bass drum. We found this short clip of Kundu drumming on YouTube from a nighttime gathering in Orotoaba, Tufi, Papua New Guinea.
The smallest denomination in today’s selection is the 10 Toea. Toea are like cents, so this coin is similar to a 10 cent piece, or a dime. The reverse of a 10 Toea showcases the nocturnal Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus maculatus). These creatures are cute, fruit eating, nocturnal, marsupials. Full grown they are no larger than 34cm, or about a foot and a half, excluding their strong tails.
Cuscus’ live in the trees and raise their young, one at a time. Once the youths leave their mother’s pouch, they stay with mom for about three months before venturing into the forest on their own. During the day, the industrious Cuscus fashions a nest with twigs and branches for sleeping. They sleep with their strong tails wrapped securely around the tree so there is no worry that they would fall. Their tails are as long as their bodies and curl into a cute spiral when the thick-furred Cuscus forages at night.
The Dwarf Cassowary (Casuarius bennetti) is on the reverse of the 20 Toea coin. This is a bird only slightly removed from the dinosaurs! The smallest of the Cassowary bird family, the Papua New Guinea variety is also known as Bennett’s Cassowary. It is smaller because it has adjusted to island life, and the presence of fewer resources and territory.
Dwarf Cassowary are between 1 and 1.5 meters tall, or three and five feet tall. Like their larger relatives, they are shy land birds who can run fast and swim well. The mother Cassowary birds lay the eggs, but the fathers incubate and care for the young until they are ready to live on their own at about nine months old, making this bird the single-dad mascot!
The 1 Kina, is equivalent to about $0.29 USD. The obverse of the 1 Kina, holed-coin is different than the previous two in that it features a stylized version of the Bird of Paradise which just happens to be the Bank of Papua New Guinea logo.
The reverse of the 1 Kina shows two New Guinea Crocodiles circling the coin. These island-size Crocodiles inhabit freshwater marshes and rivers across the island. They are like other crocodiles in all but size, with males growing only to 3.5 meters or 11 feet. The female of the species only grows to 2.7 meters or just shy of 9 feet long.
On the obverse of the next denomination, a 5 Kina, we see a stunning engraving of the Papuan Eagle. These magnificent birds are a vunerable species, which is the step before endangered.
The Papuan Eagle lives in undisturbed forests at all elevations. Habitat destruction and continuous hunting for their feathers, has greatly diminished the population, and have pushed the species into the upper elevations.
The obverse of the 5 Kina coin features a Bird of Paradise, over the Kundu drum and spear, as seen in the first image of this post.
The last coin for your inspection, is the 10 Kina. On the obverse, this coin also contains the same image as presented in the first picture, but the reverse is stunning. The reverse of a Papua New Guinea K10 coin is adorned with the five stars of the Southern Cross Constellation, and a Bird of Paradise in flight with feathers trailing like a bride’s train.
The Raggiana bird of paradise is the National Bird of Papua New Guinea and can be found on many formal state documents and on much of the state currency. It is a stunning bird. The male of the species has beautiful light orange plumage with white and yellow accents. His eyes and crest are a brilliant yellow that contrasts impressively with his dark green face. He is a stunner! Raggiana birds are populous on their island and enjoy the love of the people who call Papua New Guinea home.
We hope you enjoyed this first edition of the Pendant and Ring “World Coin Tour!” Subscribe so you never miss a post and we will see you next time!