In the Pendant and Ring series, “World Coin Tour” we explore the artistry of each countries’ coinage. We cannot cover every country all at once, nor every coin, but one country at a time we can hop across the globe. Join us for our third installment of the “World Coin Tour,” today, and subscribe so you never miss a post!
Today, we explore Belize coinage. Belize is located East of Honduras and North of Guatemala on the Eastern coast of Central America and achieved independence from Britain in 1981. Despite that, land ownership is still disputed. Guatemala and Belize authorities have been trying to sort things out but continual delays prevent an amicable decision. At the time of writing, Guatemala is to have completed their briefs and handed them over to the International Court of Justice, and Belize has until June 2022 to hand over theirs.
Before Belize achieved independence the Royal Mint produced the country’s coinage. All the coins in this article are collectible, discontinued, colonial, silver proof coins. Each coin herein has a beautiful Belize bird on the reverse and the Belize Coat of Arms on the obverse.
These coins display the third iteration of the Belize Arms. In 1981, the newly independent nation modified their Arms to include a green field on which the men stand and a larger Mahogany tree. Respect for nature is a common theme throughout Central America and it comes as no surprise that Belize shares this worthwhile opinion of the natural world.
On, then, to the coins! In the 1970s The Royal Mint produced a number of stunning proofs featuring the avian wildlife of Belize. The first coin for this tour is the large first edition and the second version of the Belize Ten Dollar silver strike proof coin. This coin is 45mm in diameter and weighs 29.8 grams. On the reverse is an engraving of the Great Curassow. These majestic birds are approximately 1 meter tall and mate for life, which may be up to 27 years.
Our second coin features the colorful Keel-billed Tucan has a 20-inch body and can grow a beak that is 6 2/3 inches long. This is the colorful Tucan that Tucan Sam was modeled after. Although their bills are practically weightless, the Tucan’s heavy wings make flying difficult. The 1974 Belize, Silver, Uncirculated, Tucan proof coin is 37.8mm in diameter and weighs 26.4 grams.
The next coin, a 1974 non-circulating Silver Proof 25 cent piece features a Blue-crowned Motmot. The Motmot is a flycatcher with stunning tail feathers. This coin shows the first-edition, first-version engraving by Michael Rizzello. Rizzello was a sculptor by trade and President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors for ten years. His statuary is beloved and on display in Oxford, Cardiff, and sculptural museums across Europe.
The fourth coin in this Belize collection features a pair of Fork-tailed Flycatchers, also by Rizzello. This coin is 20mm across and weighs 4.35 grams. The scientific name for this flycatcher species is Tyrannus savana, but the bird does not have the famously small T-rex arms! As a member of the Kingbird family, this avian beauty migrates from South American through Central America, but they are full-time residents in Belize. Despite their love for the tropical climate, the occasional, far-wandering, Fork-tailed Flycatcher has been spotted as far north as Nova Scotia.
The following bird is famous the world over, for its beautiful plumage. Native to Belize, these birds have a stunning one-meter wingspan. Their brilliant red, green, yellow, and blue plumage make them the star of the rain forest. We are talking about the pair of Scarlet Macaws found on the 1979 Proof Silver Belize One Dollar coin. This engraving is the first edition and the second version on a 35mm planchette with a weight of 19.89 grams.
The Jabiru is a member of the stork family and native to Belize. It has a beautiful head of black feathers and an ascot of brilliant red feathers at the neck. The Royal Mint engraved a pair of Jabirus on their non-circulating silver proof ten-dollar Belize coin from 1979. The coin has a diameter of 40mm and weighs 29.8 grams. This is a large coin!
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