The Somali Gold Elephant of the African Wildlife series is produced by the Bavarian State Mint (Bayerisches Hauptmünzamt) in Munich which, with a rich history drawing back over 850 years, is considered that German city’s oldest business. One of the limited number of mints in Europe authorized to produce the continent’s common currency, the Euro, it is admired for the superb casting and design of its coins and medallions, notably the medals for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. The mint’s most popular product today is the Somali Elephant.
Somalia, an East African country on the coast of the Indian Ocean, is thought to be rich in gold, like its neighbors Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen. A generation of civil unrest has retarded industrial exploration and development, with the exception of one company, Nubian Gold Corp. of Canada. Its preliminary discoveries and those by local miners hold out hopes of huge gold resources in the troubled nation.
The special provenance of the Somali Gold Elephant is curiously matched by a number of characteristics which make it particularly desirable to coin collectors and investors around the world. First, it is slightly larger (39 mm. or 1.53 in.) than the typical 1-oz. coin (i.e. American Eagle or Gold Britannia at 32.7 mm or 1.29 in). It is produced in lower mintages and different designs every year. And it is impossible to overlook the magnificent creature that gives the coin its image and name. The African bush elephant is the largest and heaviest land animal on Earth (even larger than its close relative, the forest elephant) but it is our increasing understanding of the creatures’ social behaviors (mourning the dead, closely-knit families) and communication abilities (vocal, non-vocal, infrasonic) that gives us pause to appreciate the beauty of life on our planet.
Obverse: Somali coat of arms featuring two leopards standing on crossed lances wrapped in a ribbon atop palm fronds, holding the nation’s heraldic shield of a single star on horizontal lines; the year of issue appears on either side (i.e. 20 and 17), SOMALI REPUBLIC above, and 1000 SHILLINGS below
Reverse: Dominated by African elephant with tusks and raised trunk with savannah grass in foreground and against background of palm tree and grass hut surrounded by fence below a half-disk sun; surrounding text is AFRICAN WILDLIFE on top, ELEPHANT to lower left and 1 oz Au 999.9 to lower right
Weight: 1 ounce (31.1035gr)
Fine weight: 1 ounce (31.1035gr)
Minted since 2004 (by Bavarian State Mint)
Legal Tender Value: 1000 shillings
There are 5 denominations available: 0,5 gram (20 Shillings), 1/50 oz (20 Shillings), 1/25 oz (50 Shillings), 1/10 oz (100 Shillings), 1/4 oz (200 Shillings), 1/2 oz (500 shillings), 1 oz (1000 Shillings), 1 kilo (5,000 shillings).
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