Niue’s “Battle of Yorktown” inaugurates a new series, “Battles That Changed History”

Siege of Yorktown, by Auguste Gouder. (Wikimedia photo)

Niue Island has launched a brand-new coin collection titled “Battles That Changed History,” which highlights legendary military battles that had historic repercussions. The “Battle of Yorktown” 1-ounce, legal-tender silver coin, released today (June 8), is the first issue in the collection.

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The reverse of the coin depicts American troops capturing a British gun during the 1781 battle. The antiqued finish is well suited to the subject matter and enhances the sense of depth in the design. In the foreground to the right stands a three-quarter-length figure of the battle leader, General George Washington, who faces the viewer with his head turned slightly toward the center of the coin, a scroll in his right hand, a handkerchief and a riding crop in his left. The effigy of Washington is fully colorized in muted, historical tones. The legend at the top of the field reads YORKTOWN • 1781. At the bottom, in smaller type, are the weight, metal, and fineness, as 1 oz 999 FINE SILVER.

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The obverse of the coin bears the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Ian Rank-Broadly, with his initials, IRB, in small letters below the base of the neck. Reading clockwise from lower left is the legend ELIZABETH II NIUE TWO DOLLARS, with the date of issue, 2017, at the bottom of the field. The coin’s edge is reeded.

Denom. Metal Weight Diam. Quality Mintage Limit
$2 .999 silver 1 oz. 40 mm Antiqued, with applied color 5,000

Each coin is presented in an antique-looking timber box that opens to reveal the coin nested in a black-velvet interior with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The themed outer box features a black line-art illustration of the battle imposed over an antiqued paper texture. Please see the website of the New Zealand Mint for more information on the Battle of Yorktown 1-ounce silver coin, or to place an order.

The Battle of Yorktown

In the autumn of 1781, General George Washington’s forces, supported by the French army and navy, besieged General Lord Charles Cornwallis’s veteran British army, who were dug in at Yorktown, Virginia. After round-the-clock cannon and artillery bombardment, the British situation began to deteriorate rapidly, and Cornwallis surrendered on October 17.

The Battle of Yorktown proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War. Replacing Cornwallis’s captured army was a questionable proposition for the British. With support for the war eroded, peace negotiations began the following year. The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, formally bringing an end to the Revolutionary War and establishing the United States of America as a free and independent country. In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States.   ❑


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