Disney bullion coins return for Donald Duck’s 85th birthday in gold and silver

Even more so than Star Wars, the New Zealand Mint has issued multiple Disney bullion coin releases over the last few years. Starting with Steamboat Willie, we’ve seen a mix of designs from both the Mickey Mouse family, and from that of the dysfunctional duck, Donald and his kin. The mints latest issue is one of the latter.

Donald Duck is now 85 years old, and like Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday, is getting gold and silver bullion coins to mark the occasion. It’s a pretty standard release from the mint again, with just a 1oz 0.9999 gold and a 1oz 0.999 silver version on offer. Both carry the same basic design, and in our view, it’s a better one than the mouse received. A decent waste-up portrait of this ultra-iconic character takes centre stage, with an increasingly popular starburst pattern of radiating lines filling the background field. This works with varying degrees of success on many of today’s bullion coins – sometimes an enhancement, sometimes detrimental – but it fits in here because of the showbiz connections.

The obverse features the age-old effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley. The NZ Mint has never been very imaginative with its obverse faces, despite the rising popularity of enhancement at other Niue issuers like the Mint of Poland, and the Czech Mint. Perhaps we’ll see the Jody Clark version next year, but don’t expect much else to change (an effigy with Mickey Mouse ears would be interesting instead of waiting for Prince Charles…)

The gold has a very small mintage of just 1,000 pieces, following a recent trend towards tiny mintage gold bullion coins. Even the silver is way tighter than the usual 250,000 pieces at just 85,000. Both limitations are welcome. The collector and stacker have plenty of options now, so coins like this with mid-high six-figure mintages make less sense than a few years ago. The gold is provided encapsulated, while the silver is also available in 250 coin monster boxes, comprised of 10 tubes of 25 pieces. Available today.


A little known fact is that Donald Fauntleroy Duck has appeared in more films than any other Disney character, listed as appearing in approximately 178 theatrical films compared to Mickey Mouse’s 137, and is the fifth most published comic book character in the world after Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. Today Donald is a very popular character in Europe, particularly in the Low Countries and Scandinavian countries where his weekly magazine has remained the most popular comics publication for over 50 years.

Voice performer Clarence Nash auditioned for Walt Disney Studios when he learned that Disney was looking for people to create animal sounds for this cartoons. Disney was particularly impressed with Nash’s duck imitation and chose him to voice the new character. Disney came up with Donald’s iconic attributes including this short-temper and his sailor suit (based on ducks and sailors both being associated with water). While Dick Huemer and Art Babbit were first to animate Donald, Dick Lundy is credited for developing him as a character. Donald Duck first appeared in the 1934 cartoon The Wise Little Hen which was part of the Silly Symphonies series of theatrical cartoon shorts. The film’s release date of June 9 is officially recognized by the Walt Disney Company as Donald’s birthday.

DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue) $250 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.0 mm 32.0 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion
MINTAGE 85,000 1,000
BOX / C.O.A. No / No No / No