Feel the Force with Star Wars Coins from the New Zealand Mint
Posted on June 09, 2017
Like a reliable clock, the impact of Star Wars on popular culture ebbs and flows through generations. With the original trilogy’s release in 1977, the world was gripped by the beauty and tragedy of the struggle between the Rebels and the Empire. This classic case of good vs. evil played out across three films between 1977 and 1983, before returning to the big screen with a prequel collection in 1999.
Now, Star Wars has returned with a look at life after the original trilogy in a stunning new series of three films and the first-ever standalone film in the franchise. To capture the moment for numismatists, the New Zealand Mint has released a dizzying array of Star Wars-themed coins in gold and silver, mixing traditional refining and colorized finishes together across this impressive collection.
The Classic Collection
Let’s start where it all began with the Star Wars: Classic Collection. The original Star Wars trilogy of films, launched in the late 1970s, set the stage for what would become one of the greatest box office anthologies of all time. The original films gave the world many of the most beloved characters in the history of the franchise; many of which are still immensely popular today even in the face of countless new movies arriving in theaters from the collection.
In the Star Wars: Classic Collection release, the New Zealand Mint offers silver and gold coins without colorized finishes to honor the original trilogy of films. As with other series from the New Zealand Mint’s Silver Star Wars coin collections, there are shared details and obverse design features in this collection:
- Limited total mintage of just 10,000 coins!
- Ships encapsulated in plastic in a protective black display case.
- Features a Certificate of Authenticity.
- Contains 1 Troy oz of .999 pure silver.
- Face value of $2 (NZD) is legal tender in Niue.
- The obverse bears the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. This image was designed in 1998 by Sir Ian Rank-Broadley, and captures Her Majesty in a fourth-generation depiction.
Many of the most recent releases in this collection are still available from JM Bullion, beginning with the 3rd release in the series featuring Yoda:
- Star Wars Yoda Coin (3rd Release): Yoda is captured on the 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Classic Yoda coin as he appeared inStar Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He made his appearance when he trained Luke Skywalker in the ways of the force so he could better lead the Rebellion.
- Star Wars R2-D2 Coin (4th Release): Without the spunky little R2-D2, lovingly referred to as just Artoo, it is conceivable that Luke Skywalker might never have met with destiny. It was Artoo’s determination and resourcefulness that helped guide Luke to the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the open film of the Star Wars franchise, initiating his involvement with the Rebel Alliance.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi Coin (6th Release): The reverse side of the 2017 1 oz Niue Silver Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi Coin features the image of Obi-Wan in his Jedi robes as he draws his lightsaber to face Darth Vader on the Death Star. This is one of the iconic moments from the first film, Star Wars: A New Hope.
- Luke Skywalker Coin (7th Release): On the reverse of each of these silver coins in the Star Wars classic collection is the image of Skywalker. He is depicted standing beside his X-34 landspeeder on his home planet of Tatooine in an image taken from Star Wars: A New Hope.
The Force Awakens
The latest trilogy of films debuted in December 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This time the New Zealand Mint opted for brilliant silver colorized coins over a collection of traditional silver and gold. Each of the six releases in this collection include common details of the release and a shared obverse design:
- Limited mintage of just 10,000 coins in total!
- Arrives in a protective presentation case.
- Includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
- Contains 1 Troy oz of .999 pure silver.
- Bears a face value of $2 (NZD) and is legal tender in Niue.
- Each coin in the series shares a common obverse design, that of Queen Elizabeth II’s right-profile portrait. Designed in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley, this represents a fourth-generation of Her Majesty as the Queen of England.
All of the coins from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens collection have a colorized proof design on the reverse that features three different images of the represented character. The six design releases in total are described in detail below, in order of release from first to sixth:
- 2016 Kylo Ren Coin (1st Release): On the reverse face of each 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Kylo Ren Coin are multiple images of Kylo Ren, pulled directly from the feature film. The colorized background shows Kylo with his fearsome lightsaber as he leads a group of storm troopers. Above this is a side-profile image of Kylo that is also colorized, while the foreground features a silver image of Kylo Ren.
- 2016 Captain Phasma Coin (2nd Release): The reverse side of the 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Captain Phasma coin brings his character to life with three images. He is featured in colorized designs that include his distinctive metallic armor as he leads the legions of storm troopers for the First Order.
- 2016 Rey Coin (3rd Release): On the reverse of the 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Rey Coin are three images of Rey from the feature film. In the only silver image, we see her cloaked in protective gear to cover against sand as she speeds across the desert landscape. The two colorized images show a close-up image of Rey and a full-length shot of her character with the Jakku sky in the background.
- 2016 BB-8 Coin (4th Release): On the reverse of all 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars BB-8 Coin you’ll find three images of the lovable droid. One is captured in brilliant .999 pure silver, while the background images are colorized. In one background image, we see only BB-8, but the other shows him near the end of the film when he encounters C3PO and R2D2 as the story begins to weave together with the past in this iconic franchise.
- 2016 Finn Coin (5th Release): The reverse of the 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Finn Coin depicts this main character in the same manner as others in the Force Awakens Series. Three total images of Finn appear on the surface, with one close-up in silver and the background field entirely colorized. Another close-up of Finn is featured in the colorized background, along with an action shot from the film.
- 2016 Poe Dameron Coin (6th Release): Poe Dameron appears on the reverse of each 2016 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Poe Dameron coin with three images in total. In one he is featured in his X-Wing fighter pilot suit in pure silver, while another close-up right-profile portrait captures him in his suit in full color. The background is entirely colorized as well, with an action shot from the feature film.
The release of Star Wars: Rogue One in December 2016 marked a significant departure from the norm in the Star Wars universe. For the first time ever, a standalone film in the franchise was released that served the purpose of filling in the gaps in the storyline and occurs just before the release of the original film in the story.
In the film, the storyline focuses on a group of Rebel spies intent on stealing the designs for the Galactic Empires Death Star. The two primary groups to feature in the film are captured in the Star Wars: Rogue One Series of coins from the New Zealand Mint. Again, there are shared details and a common obverse in this release:
- Arrives in Star Wars-themed black box with commemorative shipper and Certificate of Authenticity.
- Limited mintage of only 10,000 coins!
- Contains 1 Troy oz of .999 pure silver in proof.
- Face value of $2 (NZD) is fully backed by Niue’s government.
- The obverse side of each Star Wars Rogue One coin includes the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarch appears on the obverse of all commonwealth coins, and has since ascending to the throne in 1952. This depiction was created in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley as the fourth-generation effigy of the Queen.
As for the design features, there are only two coins in this release. One depicts the members of the Rebel Alliance, while the other features the forces of The Empire. Each coin, like the Force Awakens collection, has a brilliant colorized finish on the reverse. Design details are featured below:
- The Empire Proof Coin: On the reverse side of the coin you’ll find a colorized design mixed brilliantly with the coin’s natural silver finish. The 2017 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Rogue One The Empire Proof Coin features the image of Director Orson Krennic standing in front of a group of the Empire’s most loyal Deathtroopers and Stormtroopers.
- The Rebellion Proof Coin: The reverse of the 2017 1 oz. Niue Silver Star Wars Rogue One Rebellion Proof Coin features a collection of characters from the upcoming film that Star Wars fans have yet to meet on the big screen. In addition to the rebellion logo, you’ll find the colorized design of rebel strike team members that include Jyn Erso, Captain Cassian, K-2S0, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, and Bodhi Rook.
Exciting Coins on the Horizon
Outside of these major programs, there are two other Star Wars themed coins arriving from the New Zealand Mint in the weeks ahead. The Star Wars Rectangular Silver coin celebrates the 40th anniversary in 2017 of the Star Wars franchise.
The reverse of the 2017 1 oz Niue Silver Star Wars 40th Anniversary Rectangular Coin includes a brilliant combination of proof colorization and silver engraving. It features images of the film’s main protagonists, along with an engraving of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Each coin has a unique rectangular shape that is sure to add value to your existing silver coin collection.
All 2017 1 oz Niue Silver Star Wars 40th Anniversary Coin ships inside of a clear, Perspex holder with a frame designed to allow for easy display. The Certificate of Authenticity is included inside of the packaging, and all items feature stylized and branded imagery for the 40th anniversary.
Everyone’s favorite bad guy is coming soon as well with the launch of a new coin program from New Zealand Mint focusing on Darth Vader first. The reverse face of the 2017 1 oz Niue Silver Star Wars Darth Vader Coin features a right-profile image of Darth Vader. His effigy is raised and polished on the coin’s surface, with a satin matte background that includes the imperial logo.
These coins are only available from the New Zealand Mint inside of sealed tubes containing 25 coins, or Star Wars-themed Monster Boxes containing 250 coins and a colorized image of Vader on the lid of the box. The coins are stamped with the Lucasfilm copyright and feature the New Zealand Mint logo, both set on the reverse face.
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