The magical houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry hit the silver foil selection from Niue

Following the Crown Mint’s launch of its new eight-coin series of Harry Potter character coins last month, it came as a surprise to learn that the New Zealand Mint were also to debut a whole range of similarly themed issues. We’ve noticed the spread of media franchises in the numismatic world is often convoluted, so I guess we really shouldn’t be so nonplussed.

The NZ Mint has taken a clever approach to the licence with a beautifully artistic set of four, five-gram silver foils that feature the heraldry of the four main houses of magic at the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is a format that the mint has championed heavily over the last couple of years and with good reason. Despite weighing so little, they’re an expansive 148 x 98 mm in size, which is absolutely huge compared to a standard coin at 40mm in diameter, despite that coin weighing over six times as much.

Each of the four designs in packed with colourful imagery and must surely be appealing to fans of the books and movies. These are fully denominated in NZ Dollars, and the common obverse carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and a repeating background pattern of mint logos.

Packaging is equally impressive, with a neat frame making the display of each piece very easy. The outer shipper is equally well done. At five grams in weight, the cost has been kept down to a relatively affordable sub-$50 US. Not a bargain in metal terms of course, but it would be stupid to look at these in that way, especially given the cost of the licence, design etc. Compared to a lot of the plastic and paper rubbish that passes for memorabilia these days, having something like this in silver is on a whole other level.

Available to order now, these are a striking celebration of the world of Harry Potter so beloved by its millions of literary and motion picture fans. The mint has some new Potter coins due soon, indicating a serious commitment to the subject, as has the Crown Mint. Exciting times for fans, after years of minimal interest.

2020 HOUSE GRYFFINDOR

Gryffindor values courage, bravery, nerve, and chivalry. Gryffindor’s mascot is the lion, and its colours are scarlet and gold. During the books, the Head of this house is the Transfiguration Professor and Deputy Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall until she becomes headmistress, and the house ghost is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, more commonly known as Nearly Headless Nick. According to Rowling, Gryffindor corresponds roughly to the element of fire. The founder of the house is Godric Gryffindor.

The Gryffindor common room is in one of the castle’s highest towers, and its entrance is on the seventh floor in the east wing of the castle and is guarded by a painting of The Fat Lady, who is garbed in a pink dress. She permits entry only after being given the correct password, as was established in the third book, when Sirius Black tried forcing entry into the tower, only to be blocked by The Fat Lady after he could not give the correct password. In the first book, Neville Longbottom tends to forget the password and must wait near the painting until other Gryffindors arrive to open the way.

2020 HOUSE RAVENCLAW

Ravenclaw values intelligence, creativity, learning, and wit.[HP5][HP7] The house mascot is an eagle and the house colours are blue and bronze (blue and grey in the films). During the books, the head of this house is the Charms teacher, Professor Filius Flitwick, and the house ghost is the Grey Lady. According to Rowling, Ravenclaw corresponds roughly to the element of air. The founder of this house is Rowena Ravenclaw.

The dormitories are in Ravenclaw Tower, on the west side of Hogwarts. The common room is round and filled with blue hangings and armchairs, has a domed ceiling painted with stars and features a replica statue of Rowena wearing her diadem. Harry also notes that Ravenclaws “have a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains”. A logical riddle must be solved to gain entry, whereas the Gryffindor and Slytherin common rooms only require a password (Hufflepuffs need to tap a barrel in the rhythm of “Helga Hufflepuff”), indicating that it may be easier for those students from other houses who possess a high degree of intelligence to enter this common room than others. Professor McGonagall, the head of the Gryffindor House, solves the riddle accurately.

2020 HOUSE HUFFLEPUFF

Hufflepuff values hard work, patience, justice, and loyalty. The house mascot is the badger, and canary yellow and black are its colours. During the books, the Head of this house is the Herbology Professor Pomona Sprout, and the house ghost is the Fat Friar. According to Rowling, Hufflepuff corresponds roughly to the element of earth. The founder of this house is Helga Hufflepuff.

The entrance to the Hufflepuff dormitories and common room entrance is concealed in a pile of large barrels in an alcove in the corridor that holds the kitchen. To enter, one must tap the barrel two from the bottom in the middle of the second row in the rhythm of “Helga Hufflepuff”. Unlike any other house, the Hufflepuff common room has a repelling device that douses the illegal entrant in vinegar if the wrong lid is tapped or the rhythm is wrong.[24] The Hufflepuff common room is filled with yellow hangings and fat armchairs and it has little tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.

2020 HOUSE SLYTHERIN

Slytherin values ambition, cunning, leadership, and resourcefulness; the Sorting Hat said in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that Slytherins will do anything to get their way. The house mascot of Slytherin is the serpent, and the house colours are green and silver. Throughout the series, until the seventh book, the Head of House is Professor Severus Snape. Then, the previous Head of House Professor Horace Slughorn comes out of retirement, re-assuming authority after Snape becomes headmaster. The ghost of Slytherin house is The Bloody Baron.[26] According to Rowling, Slytherin corresponds roughly to the element of water. The founder of this house is Salazar Slytherin.

The Slytherin dormitories and common room are reached by speaking a password to a patch of bare stone wall in the dungeons, which causes a hidden door to open. The Slytherin common room is a long, low, dungeon-style room, under the Hogwarts Lake, furnished with green lamps and carved armchairs. The room is described in the second book as having a greenish glow.

The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity is a factor in selecting Slytherins, although this is not mentioned until the fifth book. There is no reason to believe, however, that Muggle-born students are not sorted there, merely that pure-blooded students are more desirable to that house, as there are several examples of half-bloods in the house – such as Snape, Tom Riddle/Voldemort and Harry himself was only excluded from the house at his own insistence. In Deathly Hallows, a group of Snatchers claim that “not many Mudbloods” are sorted into Slytherin.

When believing Harry to be dead and thinking that he has final victory in his grasp, Voldemort proclaims his intention to abolish the other three houses and force all Hogwarts students into Slytherin. This design is foiled by his defeat and death, after which Slytherin becomes more diluted in its blood purity, no longer remaining the pure-blood bastion it once was.(All descriptions courtesy of Wikipedia)

OBVERSE & SET

Bold Precious Metals
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SPECIFICATION per foil
DENOMINATION $1 NZD (Niue Island)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 5.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 148 x98 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MODIFICATIONS Colour
MINTAGE 10,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes