A new coin series entitled “Shades of Nature” uses the latest laser technology to reveal nature in all its shades and beauty. The first coin depicts a honey bee in as much detail as if it were viewed under a microscope.
Since antiquity, bees have been a popular numismatic motif due to their proverbial diligence and the fact that they live in ‘states’ just like humans. Collectors and numismatists will remember the coins of Ephesus or the Prize Medals for Diligence of the 19th century. Though beautiful in their own right, these ancient depictions remain schematic by comparison. Only modern laser technology has achieved a richness of detail which illustrates nature in all its variety and beauty.
Depicted on the reverse of the coin is a silver bee on a gilded flower. The delicate pistils stretch out to present their stigma to the bee so it can suck out the sweet nectar with its proboscis. The bee stores the nectar in a special organ, the honey sac, and returns to its nest. The nectar will later be transformed into honey. But the flowers don’t give away their treasure for free. In return for the nectar, the bees help with the plants’ reproduction. Every detail of the body, perfectly designed for its task, is recognizable on the coin: the furry body shines through the paper-thin wings and even the wing venation is visible to the naked eye. You can also clearly make out the tibia, the bigger middle part of the hind legs. The fringe of hairs on it absorbs the pollen like a duster. With the thinner end of the legs, the pollen comb, the bee removes the pollen later on. However, when it lands on the next flower enough pollen will fall off to secure the plants’ pollination and reproduction.
The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Elizabeth II, official head of state of Cook Islands. The inscriptions include her name, the issuing country, and the nominal value of 5 Dollars.
Each coin is struck in .925 silver to proof quality with a weight of 25 grams and diameter of 38.61 mm. The mintage is 2,000 pieces. Collectors can purchase the issue through specialty dealers.