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When talking about South Pacific island countries, what is your first impression? Hibiscus flower shirt? Dark skin? Sun, sand, coconuts, waves? There is such an island country. Since its independence, the political arena has often been bloody and extremely “hard-core”. This can be seen by looking at its coins. This is Fiji.

Where is Fiji? Fiji is located in the South Pacific, east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga, and south of Tuvalu. It is a country composed of 330 islands. It was already inhabited about 3,500 years ago; in 1871, it became the Fiji Empire; in 1874, It became a British colony; on October 10, 1970, Fiji separated from the United Kingdom. Since then, the history of Fijian hardcore began. In 1987, two military uprisings occurred in Fiji: the first was due to dissatisfaction with the monopoly of the government by local Indians, and the second was a demand for the abolition of the constitutional monarchy, the implementation of a republic, and the replacement of the governor-general with the president. In 1990, after the Revolution, Fiji was renamed the “Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji”. In 1997, Fiji restored the Commonwealth, and in 1998 it was renamed the “Republic of the Fiji Islands”. On May 6, 2006, parliamentary elections were held. On May 18, the Electoral Commission confirmed that Fiji won 36 seats among the 71 seats in the House of Representatives, and President Lesenia Ngarase was sworn in as President. But half a year later, on December 5, the Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine Armed Forces, Frank Mbainimarama, stated that the military had completely taken over the government and controlled the country, and that Ngarase was relieved of his duties and he temporarily took over presidency.

On January 5, Bainimarama was sworn in as President of the Transitional Government. This change also made Fiji the only country in the Commonwealth to have its membership “suspended”. Although Fiji is a republic, Fiji has retained a portrait of the Queen on its coins for a long time. In Fiji, the Queen is regarded as the “Supreme Chief”. Until 2013, the portrait of the Queen was replaced by plant and animal prints. On January 15, 1969, Fiji adopted the decimal Fijian dollar coin, exchanging the old currency at a ratio of 2 Fijian dollars: 1 Fijian pound, which was more than a year before the country’s name was changed. The earliest coins to appear were the 1-cent and 2-cent bronze coins; and the 5-, 10- and 20-cent copper-nickel coins; these coins were all modeled after the Australian dollar coin and minted at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. The 1 kronor coin used to commemorate Fiji’s independence was also issued in 1969, with a total of 85,007 coins.

In 1975, Fiji issued an additional 50-cent copper-nickel 12-sided coin. Again, this coin was also based on the Australian coin. Minting of this set of coins ceased in 1985. From 1986 to 1987, following the footsteps of the United Kingdom, Fiji coins also changed the portrait of the Queen. However, this set of coins was only issued for two years. Especially the 50 cent coins in this set, only 320,000 were issued, which is very rare. From 1990 to 2006, due to the depreciation of the Fijian dollar by 17.75% and 15.25% from June to October 1987, the material price of the coins was too high, and the material of the coins needed to be updated. To this end, Fiji issued a new set of coins, which were minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. 1 and 2 points are made of galvanized copper; 5, 10, 20 and 50 points are made of nickel clad steel; in 1995, an additional 1 Fiji dollar brass was issued by the Royal Mint. Coins; In 2006, Fiji reissued the 1-cent coin to supplement the need for change in circulation. It is still minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. The difference is that the material of this coin is no longer a zinc core, but a copper-plated steel core.

From 2009 to 2010, Fiji issued a set of coins with pure steel cores, eliminating the 1 and 2-cent coins and reducing the size and weight of the coins, leaving only 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 yuan. denomination. The 5, 10, 20 and 50 points are made of nickel clad steel; the 1 yuan version is thinned and changed to a steel core plated with brass. Beginning in 2012, Fiji removed the Queen’s image from its coins and replaced it with local animal patterns, namely: fox-faced pufferfish, flying fox, parrot, wrasses, spotted iguana, and peregrine falcon. The only good thing is that the obverse designs of Fiji’s coins have remained unchanged for many years: traditional utensils, fans, drums, traditional weapons, whale tooth amulets, canoes, and drinking fountains. It is still the same today.

What’s interesting is that in the trend of the world’s coins being “changed to smaller sizes, thinner materials, and materials”, Fiji has become an outlier, swimming against the trend. In the 2012 edition of coins, Fiji added a 2-yuan coin, but it was not issued for a long time. In 2014, Fiji replaced this coin with a larger Spanish flower-shaped 2-yuan coin. The reason is that the diameter of the early brass-plated steel core coins was only 24.39 mm, which was only 1.39 mm larger than the one-yuan coin. Circulated in an environment of high temperature, high humidity, and high salt for a long time, locals often complain that they “turn black easily.” Among the blackened coins, it is often difficult to tell the difference between 1 and 2 yuan.

Therefore, in 2014, the Central Bank of Fiji invited the Melbourne Mint to issue a supplementary issue of 1 million larger-sized 2 Fijian dollar coins. The new coins were cast from an aluminum bronze alloy.

Back to the topic, although Fiji is a small country with winding scenery and sparsely populated areas. But in the past 50 years, Fiji has issued 5 sets of coins, and Fiji is ahead of the world in terms of the selection of coins, the use of patterns, and all aspects of “de-empressing”.

There are only 33 Fiji coins in general circulation, but no matter from which angle you look at them, they are all good things worth collecting.


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