Cook Islands, Elizabeth II, 5 Dollars
Endangered Wildlife - 1995 - Proof - Silver
- Country: Cook Islands
- Denomination: 5 Dollars
- Year: 1995
- Mint name: Not Applicable
- Composition: Silver
- Diameter: 29.8
- Coin name: Endangered Wildlife
- Ruler Name: Elizabeth II
- KM: 234
- Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms: 1952–2022
- Dynasty: House of Windsor
- Predecessor: George VI
- Successor : Charles III
- Regime: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London in April 1926. She married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 and acceded to the throne in 1952 upon the death of George VI. She was 25 years old when she became queen and reigned over the 15 Commonwealth realms. Among others, these include the United Kingdom (of course), Canada, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
Her coronation at Westminster in 1953 was the first ever to be broadcast on television. She celebrated her Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne) in 2012. In 2015, she broke the record for longevity of reign previously held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. A great many coins and a great many banknotes featuring the effigy of the Queen were issued by the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms during her reign.
She passed away in September 2022, having celebrated her Platinum Jubilee (70 years on the throne) just a few months earlier. Her eldest son then acceded to the throne as Charles III.
Picture: Official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, unknown photographer (1959) - Library and Archives Canada (CC)
Silver can fall into your pocket but also falls between copper and gold in group 11 of the periodic table. Three metals frequently used to mint coins. There are two good reasons for using silver: it is a precious metal and oxidizes little upon contact with air. Two advantages not to be taken for granted.
Here is thus a metal that won’t vanish into thin air.
It’s chemical symbol Ag is derived from the Latin word for silver (argentum), compare Ancient Greek ἄργυρος (árgyros). Silver has a white, shiny appearance and, to add a little bit of esotericism or polytheism to the mix, is traditionally dedicated to the Moon or the goddess Artemis (Diana to the Romans).
As a precious metal, just like gold, silver is used to mint coins with an intrinsic value, meaning their value is constituted by the material of which they are made. It should be noted that small quantities of other metals are frequently added to silver to make it harder, as it is naturally very malleable (you can’t have everything) and thus wears away rapidly.
The first silver coins probably date back to the end of the 7th century BC and were struck on the Greek island of Aegina. These little beauties can be recognized by the turtle featured on the reverse.
The patina of silver ranges from gray to black.
The millesimal fineness (or alloy) of a coin indicates the exact proportion (in parts per thousand) of silver included in the composition. We thus speak, for example, of 999‰ silver or 999 parts of silver per 1 part of other metals. This measure is important for investment coins such as bullion. In France, it was expressed in carats until 1995.
An “MS(65-70)” quality
As in numismatics it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that the coin is brand new and free from defects, thus in the state it left the mint. It has probably never been in circulation or seen the bottom of a pocket up close. The term “fleur de coin” is also used internationally to refer to the first coins struck with a new die. By extension, this term thus also now describes “perfect” coins not displaying any defects and retaining their full original luster.