HomeWorld CoinsModern World CoinCIT Commemorates Lizard Named for Tolkien Dragon Smaug with Gilded Silver Coin

CIT Commemorates Lizard Named for Tolkien Dragon Smaug with Gilded Silver Coin

Shades of Nature – Giant Girdled Lizard

Cook Islands. 5 Dollars. 2018. Silver .999. Partially gilded. 25 g. 38.61 mm. Proof. Mintage: 2,000 pcs. Mint: B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.


The obverse depicts the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Elizabeth II, as well as the following inscriptions: 5 DOLLARS – ELIZABETH II – COOK ISLANDS.

The reverse presents the forepart of a lizard from the species of the Giant Girdled Lizard (Smaug giganteus), facing left; in the background the characteristic vegetation of the South African veld. The inscription of the series’ title SHADES OF NATURE ‘18 is horizontally mirrored. The background is gilded.


CIT Coin Invest has issued its latest coin in the “Shades of Nature” series. For the first time it is dedicated to a reptile, more precisely to a lizard, the Giant Girdled Lizard, whose Latin name “Smaug giganteus” is a relatively recent invention. The lizard received its name in 2011 only. It was inspired by South-African-born J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional dragon Smaug. A fitting choice, considering that the lizard, not entirely dissimilar to a dragon, is native to South Africa. Biologists hope that the renaming of the reptile, which is on the Red List of Threatened Species, will attract more public and media attention so that the necessary funds can be raised in order to preserve the species, which is also popular with terrarium-owners, in the wild.

A characteristic feature of Smaug giganteus are its large, keeled, pinnacle-shaped spines. These are perfectly realized on the coin thanks to the patented smartminting technology, which renders the depicted animal incredibly vivid. The effect is produced by combining a high relief with a proof-like finish on even the tiniest surfaces of the spines. Thanks to a special surface treatment in combination with the highest minting quality “proof”, B. H. Mayer Mint succeeded in carving out even the smallest spines in detail.

The lizard’s high relief plastically stands out from the correspondingly designed background, whose gilding further visually highlights it. This coin is thus very special not only in its theme but also with regards to the minting technology.

The Reptile Care Database provides a wealth of information on the little dragon.

Further information


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