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Inverted anchor cross. A cross with slightly widened ends, with two anchor flukes coming out of the top and curving left and right, also with slightly widened ends.

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Kiwi on a background of fern leaves, denomination below. Script: Latin Lettering: ONE DOLLAR Designer: Robert Maurice Conly

2005 New Zealand Dollar

National symbols, and an error

Decimal currency

Kiwi on a background of fern leaves, denomination below.

Script: Latin

Lettering: ONE DOLLAR

Designer: Robert Maurice Conly

New Zealand introduced decimal currency on 10th July 1967. At the time, the coins were 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, with 1 and 2 dollar notes. From 1989 – 1991 a number of changes were made to the currency:

  • 1 and 2 cent coins stopped being produced in March 1989, and were demonetised in April 1990.
  • In December 1990, a new 20c coin design appeared (featuring a Maori carving, rather than a Kiwi)
  • On 11 February 1991, new $1 and $2 coins were minted to replace the $1 and $2 notes.

The new 20c, $1 and $2 coins were all designed by Robert Maurice Conly, MBE, of Wellington. The new dollar coin features a Kiwi with fern leaves. The same subject (although slightly different design) to the old 20 cent piece, hence the need to change it. The design on

New Zealand dollar, Australian dollar and New Zealand 20 cents


The main theme of the coin is the Kiwi, a bird endemic to New Zealand. Originally thought to be related to the Australian Emu, the closest relative is actually the Madagascan elephant bird. The Kiwi cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail.

Surrounding the Kiwi on the coin are the fronds of the silver fern. The ‘silver fern’ Cyathea dealbata – ponga in te reo Māori – is a species of tree fern only found in New Zealand. Although they are called ‘silver ferns’, the undersides of the fronds are usually white; only in some northern populations are they actually ‘silver’. The undersides reflect moonlight, making them useful aids to navigating bush pathways at night.


Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, legend around, date below. Script: Latin Lettering: NEW ZEALAND ELIZABETH II IRB 2002 Designer: Ian Rank-Broadley Read more on Wikipedia

The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadly effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. This was the fourth portrait of the Queen in use in New Zealand. IRB’s initials are present just below the neck. Similar to Australian coins, the obverse features the country, ruler’s name, and year.


Closeup of the date on the 2005 NZ dollar coin showing the die break with the partly filled top on the 5

This particular example features an error known to the 2005 dollar. The top part of the 5 is filled in. This is known as an interior die break. That is a small piece of the die (which forms the image on the coin) has broken off, meaning the design won’t be fully formed in that area. These are normally small, as once they become too large, the mint will stop using that die. I suspect this error isn’t too rare or valuable. My example has certainly circulated, so I can’t tell if it is just the 5 cud error, or a similar error which also has a small dot on the Queen’s cheek.

I picked this one up in change – which was doubly interesting as I got it in Australia. The coin is just slightly smaller than the Australian dollar.

The NZ Dollar weighs 8g, is 23mm diameter and 2.74mm thick.

The Australian dollar is 9g, 25mm diameter and 2.5mm thick.

What is the most interesting foreign coin you’ve picked up in change? OR have you ever found an error in your change?

Kiwi on a background of fern leaves, denomination below. Script: Latin Lettering: ONE DOLLAR Designer: Robert Maurice Conly





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