If you thought coin designs have to be boring, depicting heads of state, royals and historical dates, think again. A lot of collectible coins feature something everyone recognizes and loves: animals. This article will highlight some of the most special animal coins in the world. From mammals to birds and fish, we will talk about what exactly to include in your animal coin collection. If that sounds good, read on to learn:
- Which coins (and - in some rare cases - bars!) feature animals.
- The symbolism behind animals on bullion.
- How to start collecting your own animal coins.
Take a look at some amazing animal coins shown in close-up in this video:
American animal coins
Buffalo animals on coins
The buffalo is an animal with huge significance for American history. Native Americans relied on it for thousands of years, using every single part of the animal for food, clothing and tool production. That is how, over the years, the buffalo came to be associated with abundance and prosperity.
For this reason, it is considered America’s official mammal, the image of which was chosen to grace a number of coins. Some of these US state animal series coins and bars include the following:
Bison animals coin
While many people think bison and buffalo are different animals, in North America the two terms are used interchangeably. Whichever term you prefer to use, there is no denying that this mammal is one of America’s most recognizable symbols. It is also the most popular coin animal in the U.S. after the eagle and is featured on commemorative coins like this one:
$1 National Park Service Silver Centennial Proof
Animal coins - Eagle in different variations
Symbolism behind the American Bald Eagle
In 1776, the United States gained independence from Great Britain. That was when the Founding Fathers had to make a choice as to what the emblem of their emerging nation would be. They needed a symbol that represented courage, strength and freedom to match the national psyche of the time. As a bird native to North America, the bald eagle perfectly embodied those values.
Variations of American Eagles
Coin enthusiasts will have undoubtedly noticed that not all American Eagle coins are the same. There are many different bullion designs featuring the national bird:
Several coins depict the whole eagle, while others show only its head. On certain coins the eagle is shown flying, while on others it is static. There are even coins that feature an entire family of eagles!
Even though this may seem odd to the uninitiated, the truth is coin redesign is not uncommon. It happens when a coin design is found to be subpar or unpopular.
However, no matter what image of an eagle is ultimately chosen for a coin, they all represent quintessentially American values. For example, the family of eagles found on some of the coins was chosen in order to highlight the importance of the family unit. Similarly, the olive branch featured on other coins is meant to symbolize the desire for peace. The thirteen stars above the eagle’s head on some coins represent the 13 original American colonies.
Even if American Eagle coins have different designs, they are tied together by the fact they poignantly represent American values.
If you are set on getting your hands on some animal coins - Eagle gold ones are a great option that you can read more about here.
Animals on Australian coins
Animal coins - Kangaroo
The kangaroo is one of Australia’s two national animals. It can be found in the country’s coat of arms and is used as a symbol by many of the country’s universities, companies, and sports teams. Therefore, it is only natural that it serves as the main answer to the question “What animals are on Australian coins?”
The marsupial is native to Australia. It is known for being strong, highly protective of its young and putting up a good fight. It is arguably one of the most unique animals on the planet, which makes it a very fitting symbol for a country as distinctive as Australia.
To start building a collection of animal coins - kangaroo is a great first step… just check out the current price charts and buy coins like the following:
Fish as a sea coin animal
The striped marlin is another animal that can be found on Australian animal coins. While it is not as popular as the kangaroo, it is another impressive-looking species that can be found in the country.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Australia has been facing a serious overfishing issue affecting striped marlin. This is why the country is currently taking major steps to protect this species. The spectacular fish being featured as a sea coin animal on bullion like the following draws attention to the issue:
1.5 oz. Australian Silver Striped Marlin
Swan on an animal coin
The swan is a famous symbol of beauty and grace that is admired globally. What many people don’t know, however, is that Australia is home to a special species of swan.
The Australian black swan breeds in the southeast and southwest regions of the country, where it is celebrated. It is one of the most special Australian coin animals and is even featured on the Perth Mint logo. You can see the animal imprinted on this bar:
Animals on South African coins
Elephant animal coin
Elephants are very important to most African cultures. For thousands of years, they have been celebrated all across the continent as powerful symbols of status and royalty. They are associated with good fortune and happiness. As such, it makes sense that they would make a special appearance in animals of Africa coins like the following:
1 oz. Gold South Africa Elephant Big 5 Series
Springbok on animal coins
The springbok is an antelope native to South Africa. During white apartheid rule, it became the national animal of the country.
While South Africa has taken massive steps forward in terms of human rights in order to move on from its troubled past, it made the conscious decision for its national animal to remain the same. The springbok serves as a reminder to the South African people to stay cautious and vigilant while living life to the fullest - precisely as this medium-sized antelope does. This powerful symbolism is why the springbok is the main answer to the question “What animals are on South African coins?”
Here are some of them:
- 1/10 oz. South Africa Gold Krugerrand
- 1 oz. South Africa Silver Krugerrand
- Gold South Africa Krugerrand 6-Coin Proof Set
Animals on Canadian Coins
Fox as a coin animal
Foxes are normally associated with cleverness and mischievousness. But in Canada, they stand for a lot more. The Canadian arctic fox lives in the north of the country in particularly harsh conditions. For this reason, it represents survival and adaptability. Its image graces coins such as this:
1.5 oz. Canadian Silver Arctic Fox
If you’re building your silver coins with animals on them collection, this one is a great start… just check the current price of silver, and you’re good to go!
Silver animal coins minted in South Korea
Zodiac animals coin
When it comes to coins animals, it is hard to beat this South Korean coin. It features twelve of them! To be precise, it features the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on ancient mythology.
This includes the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal of the Zodiac represents one year. People are associated with an animal based on the year they are born. Check it out here:
Kilo Silver South Korea Shield of Achilles Stacker
If you are into animal silver coins and other coins with a cool factor, have a read through this article as well.
Horses as coin animals
Since ancient times, the horse has been associated with triumph and high rank. An important animal in battle and agriculture, it has always been celebrated all around the world, and South Korea is no exception. This design pays tribute to the nobleness of this majestic coin animal:
2 oz. Silver South Korea Henry II Shield Stacker
Animal coins minted in other countries
Coins with animals made in Great Britain
Not all animal coins feature real creatures. Some happen to depict mythical ones. One example is the yale, a fantastic beasts coin animal depicted on some British coins.
The yale is a strange cross between a goat and an antelope that originated in European folklore. In Great Britain, it was said to be part of a collection of beasts owned by the Queen. A symbol of royal authority, the powerful mythical creature was immortalized on U.K. bullion like the following:
2 oz. Silver Great Britain Tudor Beasts - Yale of Beaufort
Unique animals coin from Armenia
Another coin featuring multiple animals, this Armenian coin depicts a dove, a lion, and an eagle.
The most prominent animal on it is the dove. This is a bird commonly associated with peace, love and hope.
On the other side of the coin, a lion and eagle are supporting a shield. This image is actually from the country’s national coat of arms and is powerfully symbolic. Not only do those two animals represent strength and courage, in Armenia they were also connected to particular dynasties.
These symbolisms make this animalia coin very meaningful and historically significant:
1 oz. Silver Armenia Noah’s Ark
Animal coin from Switzerland
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the year of the rabbit occurs once every twelve years. 2023 happens to be the year of the rabbit.
This animal is a global symbol of fertility and luck, and those born in the year of the rabbit should experience fortunes and prosperity in 2023. This bar features a rabbit design and has been created to honor the Lunar calendar:
1 oz. Gold Bar - Year of the Rabbit Argor-Heraeus
Cartoon animals coin from the Netherlands
Animals on coins don’t have to be real. They can also be fictional. This particular one depicts Tom and Jerry, the fictional cat and mouse characters from the beloved Hanna & Barbera cartoon.
Traditionally, a cat and mouse relationship is all about prey and predator. In the case of Tom and Jerry, however, it is more apt to say it is about a complicated friendship. This coin has been created to celebrate the 80th anniversary of these adorable characters:
1 oz. Silver Tom & Jerry 80th Anniversary Lenticular Round
FAQ about coins with animals on them
It is fair to say that animals that are chosen to be featured on coins and bars are closely connected to a country’s history, culture and folklore. The powerful symbolism behind them makes them a great addition to any investor’s collection.
To start your own animals coin collection, go to Bullion & Collectibles Exchange for a wide selection at the best price. To conclude, we leave you with the answers to people’s most common questions about animal coins.
What animal is on the 20 cent coin in the USA?
The USA 20 cent coin depicts a bald eagle.
What animal is on the 25 cent Canadian coin?
The 25 cent Canadian coin features a caribou.
What type of animal is on the Canadian one-dollar coin?
The one-dollar Canadian coin shows a loon, which is a duck-like aquatic bird.
What animal is on the Canadian $2 coin?
The 2-dollar Canadian coin features the image of a polar bear.
What animal is on the Australian 1 cent coin?
The 1 cent Australian coin depicts a feather-tailed glider.
What animal is on the Australian 5 cent coin?
The animal on the Australian 5 cent coin is the echidna, also known as spiny anteater.
What animal is on the Australian 10c coin?
The 10c Australian coin features a lyrebird on its reverse side.
What animal is on the 1 rand coin in South Africa?
The 1 rand South African coin features the country’s national animal, the springbok.
What animal is on the r2 coin in South Africa?
The 2 rand South African coin depicts the kudu, which is an antelope similar to the springbok, but larger.
What animal is on the 5 rand coin in South Africa?
The 5 rand South African coin shows a type of antelope known as black wildebeest or gnu.
What animal is on the 20c coin in South Africa?
The 20 cent South African depicts a bird of prey called secretarybird.