Twenty years of 'gold' coins

23 May 2011

Kiwis should check down the back of the couch for New Zealand’s ‘lost millions’.

It is twenty years since the gold-coloured $1 and $2 coins were introduced, replacing paper notes of the same denomination. To celebrate the milestone, New Zealand Post has issued a limited edition set of New Zealand’s five currency coins, minted in pure silver. The designs featured on the iconic coins replicate those on New Zealand’s currency, which uniquely capture elements of our culture, history and heritage.

The gold-coloured $1 and $2 coins were introduced as legal tender back in 1991, but there is still plenty of ‘old money’ floating around. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) says a total of 8,565,077 $1 notes and 10,319,690 $2 notes are still in the hands of the public.

While it is likely many of the old notes have been munched in washing machines or kept as collectors’ items, the Reserve Bank continues to receive from the public the brown single dollar note which featured the Fantail and the mauve $2 note with the Rifleman. The Bank pays out the face value for returned notes.

New Zealand Post Head of Coins and Stamps Ivor Masters says in addition to the $1 and $2 coins, the anniversary set contains silver proof versions of the 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent coins.

“The gold-coloured $1 and $2 coins have become intrinsic in Kiwi culture, being standard currency at sausage sizzles, plugged into parking metres and tossed into collection buckets.

“New Zealand Post is glad it can play its part in celebrating the 20th anniversary with this special limited edition of 1200 pure silver sets.

“It is appropriate that New Zealand Post has presented the Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Alan Bollard with ‘set number one’ of the new issue of silver proof coins for the Bank to add to its currency archives,” Masters said.

The 2011 New Zealand Silver Currency Set is housed in a black gloss box adorned with the silver fern, and accompanied by an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. The sets are available now through selected New Zealand PostShop stores, at REAL Aotearoa stores in Auckland and Wellington, online at, or by phoning 0800 782 677.

Note: New Zealand Post is authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the only official issuer of legal tender New Zealand commemorative coins.

Caption: Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Alan Bollard with the ‘number one’ set of silver coins to mark the 20th anniversary of the issue of the gold-coloured $1 and $2 coins.