Top 5 Bird Coins from Around the World
Centuries ago, birds were thought to communicate with the Gods because they could fly high into the air. Particularly in the Western Hemisphere, birds are a symbol of freedom, famously represented by the American bald eagle in the U.S. Here are a few examples of coins both old and new that feature beautiful artwork inspired by the birds of the world:
1. American Eagles
The American Eagle coin comes in a variety of denominations, designs and metals. American Eagles coins are produced by the U.S. Mint. Two American icons, the eagle, an unwavering representation of the United States, and Lady Liberty, have appeared on American Eagles since their first minting in 1986. The Silver Eagle features a design based on the original 1916 Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar while the Gold Eagle takes its design from the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle. The Platinum Eagle features a close-up of the iconic Statue of Liberty.
2. Australian Swans
In 2017, The Perth Mint released its first bullion coin with a unique Swan design. Each coin showcases one of the world's most distinct species in a unique design. The Swan is an iconic species that is so synonymous with The Perth Mint itself that it even appears in the Mint’s logo. The Perth Mint’s operations are situated in the heart of Perth, the capital and largest city of Western Australia. Founded in 1829 on the shores of the Swan River, the original colony in the territory was in fact called Swan River Colony, the location of which is now Perth.
3. Greek Old Style Tetradrachms
Dating back to ancient history, the Greeks depicted birds on coins known today as Old Style Tetradrachms. These early tokens of monetary exchange featured the striking Owl of Athena. Some historians believe this distinctive owl, with a single-prong tail and brilliant eyes, was chosen as a symbol of wisdom, since owls have night vision. Others think it is popular imagery due to the dense population of owls in the region. Either way, this is one of the oldest known coins to have used a bird on the reverse.
4. Canadian Birds of Prey Series
In 2014, the Royal Canadian Mint began a four-coin series that pays tribute to distinctive fowl native to the country. The first issue of the Birds of Prey series features the peregrine falcon soaring through the air. While the coin has a face value of 5 Canadian dollars, it was worth much more due to the .999 fine Silver composition and the spectacular bird imagery. Other Canadian birds in the series are the great horned owl, red tailed hawk and bald eagle.
5. French Roosters
The Greeks were drawn to the owl for its wisdom and Colonial Americans to the bald eagle for its authority. The French, however, claimed the Gallic rooster as their unofficial icon. Some historians have drawn a line between the roosters of France and the god Mercury, while others say the association has more to do with Latin homonyms. In either case, the 20 Francs Gold coin featured a brilliant rooster, also known as “le coq gaulois,” on the reverse. Struck by the Paris Mint, these bullion coins have been popular among collectors for many years.