While certainly having a lower profile in the coin collecting market than the huge hit that is the Star Wars movie poster coins, the New Zealand Mints companion series showcasing the early Disney shorts from the 1930’s is no less impressively done. After Mickey’s Revue and the Silly Symphony Flowers and Trees, comes a tale known throughout the world as a warning against arrogance and complacency, The Three Little Pigs.
The Silly Symphony series of shorts were released by Walt Disney Productions in the decade running from 1929 to the outbreak of WWII. Small self-contained stories featuring new characters in each one (including a first appearance of Donald Duck in 1934), they were set to music and noted for their innovative use of Technicolor and the multiplane motion picture camera. Winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film seven times, the franchise went on to feature in newspapers as a comic strip, and a range of books and comics.
One of the most widely and fondly remembered of the 75 Silly Symphonies is the tale, The Three Little Pigs. Based on an old fable, it’s the story of three anthropomorphic pigs who build three houses of different materials. A big bad wolf blows down the first two pigs’ houses, one made of straw and the other of sticks, but the third pig’s house, made of bricks, can’t be blown down. The wolf drops down the chimney to get to the pigs but is burned on the fire and runs away. Like all old fairy tales, the original is full of death and destruction, but Disney toned it down considerably for the cartoon and everybody gets to live. Probably wise – it’s easy to read about pigs getting butchered by a wolf while you’re eating a bacon sandwich, but probably a little traumatic on a youngster to see it animated.
Struck in an ounce of fine silver, the mintage is set at a maximum of 10,000 pieces and the price is $85.00 USD. These are packaged in the superb acrylic display frames the NZ Mint uses, along with a certificate of authenticity. The outer shipper box is heavily themed and of a great quality. It’s hard to criticise this mint for the effort it puts into presentation, something critical in coins that jump over into memorabilia-land. The obverse is the standard NZ Mint Niue one of an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, along with inscriptions detailing the issuer, date and denomination. The all important reverse depicts a reproduction of the original Oscar-winning 1933 short. A niche subject in the Disney world, these are impressive issues for the serious collector and far removed from the endless waves of paper and plastic Frozen rubbish that proliferate in that market. Available today from the mint website or from sponsors like Minted-UK and Powercoin.