New Zealand Mint expands its popular culture range with Lord of the Rings and a silver foil map of Middle Earth

It’s been a much quieter year on the silver foil front than 2019 was, partly from Coroney, of course, but we think the flood of them was bound to ease off anyway. The main reason is likely the New Zealand Mint, the biggest producers of them, has wrapped up some movie poster sets and hadn’t launched anything major in their place. At present, they still have Harry Potter movie poster reproductions in progress,but it’s mainly solo issues now.

We reckon that’s a good thing, allowing the innovative format to be used in situations where it plays to its advantages over a standard silver coin of similar weight – namely, surface area. The Perth Mint has recently issued a fine range of James Bond foils in two different formats (5g and 35g), but again, they’re movie posters, so hardly pushing the envelope, no matter how nice they are. The best other use for silver foils came early on, with CIT’s really beautiful ‘Waldseemuller Map’ back in November 2017, a concept revisited by Downies with its Captain James Cook map earlier this year.

Now the NZ Mint has issued its own silver foil map, and it also heralds the first of its new Lord of the Rings franchise to hit the market. It’s a very cool choice for the launch, both different and with imagery prized by fans – giving a good background to the story. This is one of the mints premium foils, so a relatively huge 175 x 262 mm in size, despite tipping the scales at just 35 grams (0.999 silver). We love the presentation of these. They come in a big acrylic ‘capsule-frame’ that allows for easy display, making them a fine focal point for a collector.

The design is straightforward enough, but doesn’t need to be more than that as messing with the subject matter can get you hung, drawn and quarterd if you get it wrong! The map is nicely detailed and attractively coloured. We’d like to have seen the torn edged look that others have used, but we’d really be nitpicking at this point.

These are issued for Niue and are legal tender, something many of these foils aren’t as they carry no issuer at all. There’s a generic repeating pattern of mint logos covering most of the surface on this side, but there are some minor embellishments around the effigy of Elizabeth the Seemingly Immortal…

All wrapped up in a colourful, themed shipper, it has a RRP of $145.00 USD and a mintage of just 2,000 pieces. The former is up because of the price of silver, the latter down from the heady numbers of early foil issues. Available to order from today, this is a great start to a hugely loved fantasy world and deserves to do well for the respect that’s been shown to it. When Waldseemuller came out three years ago, our first thought was a Game of Thrones map of Westeros. Hopefully someone will see this and make that happen.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 35.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 175.0 x 262.0 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes