Solomon Islands Implements New Currency Designs

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Central Bank to exchange old coinage for new

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 6, 2012) – Solomon Islands has new coins, after citizens were asked to decide whether they wanted a fresh look for their dollars and cents.

In a survey, Solomon Islanders said yes, and local artists were given the task of redesigning the currency.

The Central Bank of Solomon Islands is distributing the coins and says people can exchange old coins for the new ones.

Over time, Ross MacDiarmid, head of Australia's mint, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, all the old coinage will be taken in and melted down.

A "people's choice" survey determined that people wanted the new coins, before artists got to work, he said.

The Central Bank worked closely with the Royal Australian Mint, which produced the new range at its factory in Canberra.

As with Australia's coins, the gold-look one-dollar and two-dollar coins are made of cupro-nickel, and the "silver" coins of plated steel.

Queen Elizabeth, as Solomons' head of state, features on the obverse side of all coins.

Other designs in the seven-coin set are culturally significant for the Pacific nation.

Some of the designs were seen on the former currency. They include, on the new 10-cent coin, the sea spirit, Ngorieru, with another sea spirit, nguzunguzu, on the dollar coin. The Malaita pendant is on the 20 cents.

Mr. MacDiarmid said: "We were delighted to be able to take the designs and convert them into these magnificent looking coins."

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