New Zealand Mint Star Wars Coins 2011-2012

In 2011, collectibles and packaging manufacturer S&A Partners, who already held a licence to produce Lucasfilm Ltd products, entered into a collaboration with Auckland-based precious metal specialists New Zealand Mint to create a series of legal tender coins bearing imagery from Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy Star Wars movies.

Over a period of a couple of years, 40 distinct coins, in total, were released, featuring 26 different designs (14 were available in both silver-plated and gold-plated versions). Some coins were in initially released in 4-coin sets in Darth Vader or Millennium Falcon display cases, but ultimately, all coins could be purchased individually.

Although more coins were initially planned, not all made it to the production stage, and this first generation of New Zealand-minted legal tender Star Wars coins wrapped up in 2012 (at the time when Disney purchased Lucasfilm). NZ Mint started producing Star Wars coins again in late 2015, under a different license agreement (initially in conjunction with S&A Partners again, but later as a direct licensee).

The following galleries take a look at all 40 coins, and the 2 collectible display cases, that came out between 2011 and 2012.

Silver Plated Base Metal Coins

Denomination: $1
Country of Issue: Niue
Year of Issue: 2011 (wave 1)/2012 (wave 2
Mintage: 50,000
Metal: Silver Plated/CuZn
Weight: 26g
Diameter: 40mm

These coins were launched in August 2011 at the American Numismatics Association Show in Chicago, and sold individually and packaged in a “blister pack” (in a thin, 2-part acrylic case, plastic-wrapped onto a backing card, with the edition number on the back), with an RRP of NZ$23.50. They are $1 denomination coins (legal tender in Niue), 40mm in diameter, and were limited to 50,000 pieces per character.

A full set of 40 was intended to be released between 2011 and 2014, with an album that could contain them all to be available along the way. The first wave of 10 coins featured individual character images of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Emperor Palpatine, respectively, and are marked with a 2011 date. The license to produce Star Wars coins was not renewed when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, and although the initial designs remained available through the NZ Mint website, the full set was never completed (and the album/holder never made it to market). A partial second wave of 4 characters, marked with a 2012 date, were released (Jabba the Hutt, Wicket W. Warrick, Stormtrooper, Boba Fett) through some retailers and can be found on the secondary market, but this small set of “second wave” coins was curiously never listed on the NZ Mint website. So, in the final count, 14 coins comprise this set.

  1. Luke Skywalker
  2. Princess Leia
  3. Obi-Wan Kenobi
  4. Yoda
  5. R2-D2
  6. C-3PO
  7. Han Solo
  8. Chewbacca
  9. Darth Vader
  10. Emperor Palpatine
  11. Jabba the Hutt
  12. Wicket W. Warrick
  13. Stormtrooper
  14. Boba Fett

1oz Silver Legal Tender Coins

Denomination: $2
Country of Issue: Niue
Year of Issue: 2011 (wave 1)/2012 (wave 2)
Mintage: 7,500
Metal: .999 Silver
Weight: 1oz (28g)
Diameter: 40mm (wave 1)/40.7mm (wave 2)

The 1oz silver Star Wars coins ($2 denomination, legal tender in Niue again) were released by NZ Mint in 2 waves. The first wave (August 2011), launched simultaneously with the silver-plated coins, was made up of 8 Original Trilogy-themed designs, while the second wave (September 2012) was made up of 4 Episode 1: The Phantom Menace character designs.

These coins were initially sold in sets of 4, packaged in either a Darth Vader case or a Millennium Falcon case. A set of four silver $2 coins were originally priced at an RRP of NZ$499 (although prices varied, and NZ Mint sold these discounted to NZ$399 in Christmas sales). For wave one, imperial characters came in the Vader case, while the Rebel heroes came in the Falcon case. For wave two, the set of four Episode 1 characters was available in either the Darth Vader case or Millennium Falcon case. 7,500 of each 1oz silver coin were produced, and each included an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

At one point during the availability of the wave 2 The Phantom Menace coins, a special offer included a set of 4 gold-plated coins (Princess Leia, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker) along with the purchase of a Phantom set (the gold coins would come in a Falcon case if you bought the EP1 coins in a Vader case, or in a Vader case if you bought he EP1 coins in a Falcon case).

Later, all 1oz silver coins were also sold individually, packaged in a Star Wars branded leatherette case, and accompanied by a numbered certificate, with an RRP of NZ$99 each.

  1. Darth Vader
  2. Emperor Palpatine
  3. Death Star
  4. Stormtrooper
  5. Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia
  6. Yoda and Ben Kenobi
  7. R2-D2 and C-3PO
  8. Han Solo and Chewbacca
  9. Yoda
  10. Anakin Skywalker
  11. Queen Amidala
  12. Darth Maul

Gold Plated Base Metal Coins

Denomination: $1
Country of Issue: Niue
Year of Issue: 2011 (wave 1)/2012 (wave 2)
Mintage: 25,000
Metal: Gold Plated/CuZn
Weight: 26g
Diameter: 40mm

The gold-plated Star Wars coins were essentially the same as the silver-plated coins in terms of the characters released, and the year in which they came out. 2011 saw a wave of 10 characters, followed by wave 2 (Jabba, Wicket, Stormtrooper, and Boba Fett) in 2012. The specifications were the same as the silver plated coins (26g, 40mm diameter, $1 Niue denomination, copper-zinc base metal), but the number produced was half of their silver counterparts (25,000 minted of each character). A subset of 4 characters (Luke, Leia, Vader, and R2-D2) were also released early as sets in the Darth Vader or Millennium Falcon cases (RRP NZ$125)

The coins were all released on the same “blister packs” (plastic-wrapped onto a backing card, with the edition number on the back) as the silver coins. The single-issue coins weren’t prominently promoted on or available from the NZ Mint website at the time, and ultimately they were distributed in the United States through other retailers, in particular the Home Shopping Network, who serialised their release with an “auto-ship” programme that included a unique 4-drawer storage case to protect all 14 gold-plated coins.

  1. Luke Skywalker
  2. Princess Leia
  3. Obi-Wan Kenobi
  4. Yoda
  5. R2-D2
  6. C-3PO
  7. Han Solo
  8. Chewbacca
  9. Darth Vader
  10. Emperor Palpatine
  11. Jabba the Hutt
  12. Wicket W. Warrick
  13. Stormtrooper
  14. Boba Fett

You can read our 2017 interview with Brent Hindman, head of sales and marketing at NZ Mint, to glimpse behind the scenes of their design and manufacturing processes related to the NZ Mint Star Wars coin collections, and check out all of our NZ Mint coverage under the NZ Mint tag.