Murderous Moggies weekend: Disney’s classic Lion King adorns the NZ Mints latest bullion coin

Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Stormtroopers, and Scrooge McDuck, have all featured on bullion coins from that king of the popular culture licence, the New Zealand Mint. They’ve been mining the extensive Disney catalogue for a few years now, but they’ve preferred to stick to the older stuff as far as classic Disney is concerned. A change for the mint is this new APMEXclusive issue celebrating, in a particularly timely fashion it has to be said, the 25th anniversary of the much loved Lion King. Why timely? This week has seen the premiere of the new remake of the movie, using extensive and very high quality CGI in place of the old school traditional animation. Almost certain to be a box office hit, what better time to tap that interest with a new bullion coin than now?

Coins of this type from the NZ Mint tend to follow a set pattern. Issued for Niue, they’re available in a 1-oz silver format, and a 1-oz gold. That is indeed the case here, but with the interesting caveat that the mintage is a fraction of the normal amount. In the past, their bullion coins have tended to have a mintage cap of 250,000 units in silver, and 25,000 in gold. Even though the subject of this issue will be popular, just 25,000 silver and 250 gold coins are being struck. That’s a drop of 90% and 99% respectively, making these quite the rarity for a Disney bullion coin.

They’ve certainly chosen an iconic image for the design. The view of Simba on Pride Rock is one that’s almost become the de facto way to depict a lion. The radiating lines representing the sun help to fill out the background field, but at heart, it’s a simple affair, and more powerful because of it. The obverse is a standard Niue affair – just the usual effigy of QEII and the inscribed issue information. So, King on one side, Queen on the other…

As we hinted at above, this one is exclusive to US giant, APMEX, who have sole worldwide distribution rights to it. The gold coin is sold individually encapsulated, but you can pick up the silver in tubes of 25 coins or monster boxes containing 10 tubes, as well as singly. The limited mintage and popular subject means this could be a clever buy, but as always, we’ll leave that decision up to you. The coins are up on the APMEX site now, and should be available to order shortly.


Released in 1994, it is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, and its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by the lives of Joseph and Moses, from the Christian Bible, and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Lion King tells the story of Simba (Swahili for lion[3]), a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba’s paternal uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. Upon maturation living with two wastrels, Simba is given some valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King.

The Lion King was released on June 24, 1994, to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music, story, and animation. However, the film also drew several controversies, particularly for its similarities to Osamu Tezuka’s 1960s anime series Kimba the White Lion. With an initial worldwide gross of $766 million, it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing release of 1994 and the second-highest-grossing film of all time. It is also the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, as well as the best-selling film on home video, having sold over 30 million VHS tapes.

The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film has led to many derived works, such as a Broadway adaptation; two direct-to-video follow-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998), and the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ (2004); two television series, Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard; and a 3D re-release, in 2011.

On September 28, 2016, Walt Disney Pictures confirmed that Jon Favreau would be directing a remake of the 1994 animated film The Lion King, which would feature the songs from the 1994 film, following a string of recent box office successes on the other Disney live-action remake films such as Maleficent, Cinderella, Favreau’s The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast.

It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his original role as Mufasa. Much of the main cast signed in early 2017 and principal production began in mid-2017 on a blue screen stage in Los Angeles. (Source:Wikipedia)

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 25,000 250
BOX / COA No / No No / No