This gold coin from the Republic of Palau celebrates the intriguing beauty of the sand dollar.
Sand dollars are fascinating creatures that can be observed on sandy beaches and reef flats across the world in areas where the tide is low. They belong to the Echinoderm group of marine animals, which includes sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers and sea lilies. Sand dollars can easily be identified by their patterns of radial symmetry and flattened body that usually comprises of five segments and they vary in size from a fraction of an inch to more than six inches in diameter. The attractive, sun-bleached skeletons of dead sand dollars resemble old American and Spanish dollar coins and they are popularly collected by beachcombers and tourists, however it is illegal to collect sand dollars from the beach in their live state because they play a vital role in preserving the marine ecosystem by both controlling the populations of smaller invertebrates and also serving as prey to larger marine organisms. A live sand dollar can easily be distinguished from a collectable sand dollar skeleton, because in their live state they are brownish or purple in colour and covered with short spines.
The charming form of the sand dollar has been immortalised in impeccable detail in this 1 gramme, BGM gold coin, whose golden colour evokes memories of warm and sunny days at the seaside. The obverse features Palau’s coat of arms and the coin is perforated with five cut out holes to resemble the sand dollar skeleton.