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Armistice Day commemorative coin

We issued the Armistice Day 100-year commemorative coin in 2018. It commemorates the signing of the Armistice in 1918 at the end of World War I and the history, service and sacrifice made by service personnel and their families to bring peace to New Zealand and the world.

About the coin

The Armistice Day Coin is a 50 cent, coloured commemorative, circulating coin. It is the second coloured coin we have produced. The first commemorative coin marked the 100-year anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli during World War I and was released in 2015.

The coin was recognised as the Best New Circulating Coin of 2018 by the International Association of Currency Affairs.

The Armistice Day coin is legal tender and holds the same value as the standard 50 cent coin, so you can use it as you would a normal 50 cent coin to pay for goods and services. It does not replace the existing 50 cent coin. The coin is accepted in coin and vending machines.

The size and thickness of the coin is the same as the existing 50 cent coin. The difference from the 50 cent coin is that on one side it features the official RSA’s red poppy surrounded by a remembrance wreath with the silver fern and koru as strong New Zealand elements.

As with all our coin designs, this coin has been approved by the Palace.

Coin specifications

The Armistice Day coin has the same specifications as the existing 50-cent coin.

Alloy Diameter (mm) Weight (g) Edge thickness (mm) Edge treatment
Plated steel 24.75 5.00 1.70 Unmilled

Where to get a coin

In September 2018, a limited number of coins were made available for pre-order through NZ Post to enable veterans to get early access to the coin.

The rest of the coins—about 1.6 million—were released into circulation from 1 October 2018 through New Zealand retailers.

Watch the IACA Currency Award video to find out more about the Armistice Day coin.

Video 1m:55s

The coin's design

The reverse side of the Armistice Day coin features the official Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association's red poppy in the middle to symbolise remembrance and hope. The poppy is surrounded by a green wreath intertwined with the silver fern and koru as iconic New Zealand elements.

The silver fern is used to represent the past, present and future and reflect the three armed forces in New Zealand. The engraved koru pattern represents new beginnings and New Zealand's national identity.

A portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appears on the other side of the coin.

The coin was designed by David Burke, who also designed the 2015 Anzac commemorative coin.

How the coin is made

The coin was minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint mints New Zealand’s existing 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. The process is as follows.

  1. Once we have approved the coin's design, the Mint creates a 3D digital image of the coin. This image is then engraved to a master punch. The master punch is like a template that is used to make working dies.
  2. The working dies are used to 'stamp' the coin design on both sides of the coin. This process is called 'striking'.
  3. Next, the colour is stamped onto the coin. This process is called high-speed colour pad printing.
  4. The coins are inspected for quality both visually by a person and by automated checks.
  5. Finally, the ink is cured and the coins pass through a furnace.

Watch a video to see how the Armistice Day coin is made.

Video 2m:03s

Find out more about how coins are made

About Armistice Day

Armistice Day (also sometimes referred to as Remembrance Day) marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918. It commemorates the sacrifice of those who died serving New Zealand in this and all wars and armed conflict.

The Great War of 1914 to 1918 was one of the most devastating events in human history. New Zealand, with a population of 1.1 million in 1914, sent 100,000 men and women abroad. Of these, 16,700 died and over 40,000 were wounded. On Armistice Day 1918, New Zealand had 58,129 troops in the field, while an additional 10,000 were training in New Zealand.

The signing of the Armistice is observed annually in New Zealand at 11am on 11 November (the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month).

More information

More information on the Armistice Day coin, images of the coin and links to related websites.

Download a factsheet about the Armistice Day coin (PDF 184 KB)

Go to the RSA website