In an effort to bring greater awareness to the plight of various endangered animal species around the world, the Discovery Channel has partnered with Gainesville Coins to develop the Discovery Endangered Species series of colorized silver coins. The series will eventually be comprised of seven different sets, one for each of the world’s continents. The first release focuses on Africa with a pair of the continent’s most vulnerable and recognizable animals, the African Mandrill and the African Lion.
The mandrill was once believed to be part of the baboon family, but biologists later discovered that it was actually its own genus. It also holds the distinction as the world’s largest monkey species. The famous 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin described these captivating creatures as follows: “No other member in the whole class of mammals is colored in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrill.” Indeed, the blue and red snout and golden beard of the mandrill are unmistakable.
Although the lion is traditionally considered the “King of the Jungle,” the majestic African Lion was nearly driven to extinction by the encroachment of human beings. Hunting, disease, and especially habitat destruction were the main causes. Prior to this growth of human civilizations, Panthera leo was actually the most widespread land mammal on Earth behind Homo sapiens. Both the African Lion and the African Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) are officially categorized as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This 2-coin Discovery Endangered Species Africa silver set features full-color images of these two magnificent creatures, each struck from .999 fine silver. The two coins weigh 1.5 troy ounces each. They share a common obverse design that bears a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II and a colorized image of the world. These coins are issued as actual legal tender with a face value of Two Dollars in the island nation of Niue. As a limited-edition collectible, only 700 sets of these coins will be minted for worldwide distribution. Each 2-coin set is accompanied by its certificate of authenticity and an attractive display case that is designed to look like an old explorer’s map of the world.
These officially licensed Discovery silver coins are exclusively available at Gainesville Coins in the hopes of bringing more attention to these threatened animals of the African wild.