Without doubt one of the biggest names in entertainment history, Disney has been making movies for over 90 years. Founded in 1923 by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, it was just five years later on 18 November 1928 at the Colony Theatre in New York that it gave birth to its most popular creation, Mickey Mouse. The New Zealand Mint are marking the anniversary with the first in a new range of gold and silver coins and after only a few hours on sale, they’re selling out fast at both the NZ Mint and the Perth Mint.

Officially debuting in the animated feature film Steamboat Willie, it was the third of Mickey’s films to be produced, but was the first to be distributed. The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse, and his girlfriend Minnie, despite both the characters appearing several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy.

The film is also notable for being the first cartoon with synchronized sound (featuring the voice of Walt Disney as Mickey) and the first cartoon to feature a fully post-produced soundtrack which distinguished it from earlier sound cartoons.

In 1994 members of the animation field voted Steamboat Willie 13th in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons, which listed the greatest cartoons of all time. In 1998 the film was selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry for being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


REVERSE:  This coin face captures a still frame from the iconic scene where Mickey Mouse is seen cheerfully standing at the boats wheel. Wrapped around the top of the coin is the engraved name of this breakthrough cartoon, Steamboat Willie, and the year of its release, 1928.

OBVERSE: This features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

PACKAGING:  The Coin is presented in a classic wooden coin case which sits inside a themed printed outer box. When opened, the coin and Certificate of Authenticity are displayed.

Roll over image for gold box

The box seems to be a recent change at the New Zealand Mint with a move away from the esoteric offerings they’re well known for, and back towards a more traditional look. The coin looks good and will no doubt sell out in pretty quick order given the sheer size of the Disney memorabilia market.

A recent showing at a Singapore coin fare by the mint indicated more to come and plenty more silver coins, not surprising given it’s Donald Ducks 80th Anniversary this year and that’s a character appearing in forty more features than Mickey Mouse and is the fifth most published comic book character in the world after Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine.


$2 NZD 0.999 Ag 31.1 g 40.00 mm PROOF 10,000
$25 NZD 0.999 Au 7.78 g 20.60 mm PROOF 1,000