This coin celebrates the life of Sir Edmund Hillary K.G., O.N.Z., K.B.E., the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest and arguably New Zealand’s most famous son.
Proof Quality 99.99% Pure Gold
The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1/4oz of 99.99% pure gold in proof quality.
Reverse Portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary
The coin’s reverse depicts a portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary and his signature. The design includes a silver fern, a symbol of New Zealand, and an image of Mount Everest. The reverse also includes the inscriptions SIR EDMUND HILLARY 1919-2008 and A LIFETIME OF ACHIEVEMENT.
A Lifetime of Achievement Born in Auckland on 20 July 1919, Hillary discovered his love of climbing on a school trip to Mount Ruapehu. After serving with the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II, he conquered Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak, before travelling to Europe and mountaineering in the Swiss and Austrian Alps. The chance to take on the ultimate challenge arrived when he joined Sir John Hunt's British Everest Expedition. All previous attempts to ascend Everest’s 29,035 feet had failed, leaving the group apprehensive, unsure, in fact, if it was humanly possible to reach the top.
Hillary, accompanied by Sherpa Tenzing, astonished the world by successfully scaling the world’s highest mountain on 29 May 1953. Although claiming “we got there together”, Hillary revealed in 1986 that he was actually the first by a matter of some feet.
Further adventures and achievements in the Antarctic and the Himalayas followed. Shunning the celebrity thrust upon him, however, the instinctively modest Hillary was more concerned about the plight of the Sherpa people of Nepal, where he raised funds for school, hospital and infrastructure projects on their behalf.
In 1985, Hillary was appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to India. While on official duties in India, he became a member of the Order of New Zealand, and in 1992 his portrait appeared on the five dollar note, making him the first living New Zealander to be honoured in this way. In 1995, he was appointed Knight of the Garter, the most senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry. In 2003 he was made an honorary Nepalese citizen.
Summing up the thoughts of a nation at Sir Edmund Hillary’s State Funeral Service in 2008, Prime Minister Helen Clarke said:
“Sir Ed described himself as a person of modest abilities. In reality he was a colossus. He was our hero. He brought fame to our country. We admired his achievements and the great international respect in which he was held.
But above all, we loved Sir Ed for what he represented – a determination to succeed against the odds, humility, an innate sense of fair play, and a tremendous sense of service to the community, at home and abroad.”
Supported by Lady June Hillary
The coin is supported by Lady June Hillary, the widow of Sir Edmund.
New Zealand Legal Tender
Issued as legal tender of New Zealand, the coin portrays the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
Extremely Limited Mintage
New Zealand Post will issue no more than 1,953 of these gold proof coins.
Each coin is housed in a presentation display case featuring the words ‘Sir Edmund Hillary 1919-2008’ in gold lettering. The case comes in a beautifully illustrated box-shipper.
Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
Each coin is accompanied by a Numbered Certificate of Authenticity.