African Silver Wildlife Series of Coins
The African Silver Bullion Wildlife Series is produced by the Bavarian State Mint, which is one of five mints in Germany. The Bavarian State Mint is owned by the Free State of Bavaria and had been in operation since 1158. It is one of the oldest mints in Europe, producing coins for over 850 years. As you might imagine, one could spend a lifetime collecting coins just from the Bavarian State Mint.
The wildlife series is a couple of different coin issues which commemorate some of the most exotic animals in the world. This comes down to two series: the Rwanda Wildlife Series and the Somalia Silver Elephant Series. Those who might want to point out the Zambian elephant series should note that the Somalian coins are a continuation of the earlier Zambian series.
Rwanda Wildlife Series – The Rwanda Wildlife Series has been in production every year since 2009. Each year commemorates a new animal, with the elephant (2009), the lion (2010), the rhino (2012), the cheetah (2013), the impala (2014), and the African buffalo (2015) in successive years. These coins are 1-ounce of .999 fine silver, coming in a sheet of 10. They have the Seal of Rwanda and have a denomination of 100 shillings and a face value of 50 Francs. Each has an engraving of a different species from Africa. For example, the 2015 coin depicts the Cape Buffalo.
2016 1 oz Somalian Silver Elephant Coin – The Somalian elephant coin series is a popular series featuring an animal which is synonymous with African wildlife. The Somalian elephant had a 5000-coin mintage every year from 2004 until 2008. Then the mintage increased significantly for the 2009 (130,000), 2010 (120,000), 2011 (170k), 2012 (80,000), and 2013 (140k). For those who want to collect this entire run, the Somalian coins began as the Zambian elephant series from 1999 to 2003.
2016 Day & Night Coin Set – The Day and Night Set is a recent colorized version of the Somalian elephant coins. These featured two stunning depictions of an elephant out on the Savannah, one with the Sun overhead and the other with the Moon overhead.
2015 Somalia 1 ounce Silver African Elephant MS-69 PCGS – Those wanting a rarer find should take a look at the first strike coins of the silver elephant series. These are sealed in a rectangular holder and contain the certified MS-69 PCGS label and barcode. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity.
2016 Somalia 1 ounce Colorized Silver Elephant – Another version of this coins is the colorized elephant silver coin. The grass, water, Sun, and elephant are each colorized, which contrasts with the sterling silver of the coin. The reverse has the Somalian Coat of Arms.
Around the World Bullion Set – The 2015 10-Coin Silver 1 oz. Around the World Bullion Set features ten disparate coins from all over the globe, including the Somalian elephant coin. For completionists, the Around the World set is likely to be a nice find. Each coin depicts something iconic about its land of origin. Two Australia coins are in the set, including the koala bear and kookaburra bird.
The Austria coin commemorates the philharmonic orchestra. Canada has the maple leaf, while China has its panda. Great Britain is represented by the Britannia which I’ve discussed before, while Armenia features Noah’s Ark (where Noah was supposed to have landed). The Mexico coin depicts Libertad, while the coin from the United States is the American eagle. Finally, there is Somalia, which has the elephant.
2014 Somalia 1 oz. Gilded Silver Elephant – “Gilded” silver coins have a portion of their surface highlighted by 24 karat gold. In this case, the elephant is gilded with 24-karat gold. The silver remains the expected .999 pure silver for a striking combination of colors.
2015 Somalia 4-Coin Silver African Elephant Proof Set – The 4-coin proof set shows off every coin denomination in the Somalian silver elephant coin set. In all, the coins contain a total of 3.75 oz. of .999 fine Silver. These come in four denominations: 200 shillings, 100, 50, and 25 shillings. They arrive in a stylish wooden box alongside a certificate of authenticity. Only 2,000 such coins apiece were ever made.
2015 Somalia 1 oz. High Relief Silver Elephant – The high relief version of the 2015 Somalia silver elephant provides a particularly striking depiction of the largest land mammal. The high relief coins had a mintage of only 1,000 coins.
2016 Somalia 500-Coin 1 oz. Silver Elephant – Those who want a massive 500-coin set can have the 2016 Somalian elephant coins sent to them in a “Sealed Box” edition. This contains 25 separate 20-coin tubes of minted coins. Each item contains .9999 fine silver. The 500-coin Sealed Box sets have been produced every year since 2004 and have proven a popular choice with serious collectors.
The African Wildlife Series is a good introduction to the Bavarian State Mint. For collectors who are bringing children into the hobby, it is also an introduction to the wildlife on the African continent and a glimpse into the wider world around them.