One of the ultimate video games, Tetris, inspires a new range of coins and rounds from APMEX

We’ve seen a growing number of videogame properties making their way to the coin world and it’s hardly surprising. For a few years now, the videogame market has dwarfed the movie, and music industries for sheer size, with many new releases hitting the billion dollar mark in revenue in staggeringly short periods of time. Like the music and movie industries, videogames have their classics, and it’s to those that the coin producers have focused their gaze.

The New Zealand Mint were the first to really expend effort in this direction with a superb lenticular ‘Space Inavaders’ coin that came in some brilliant packaging meant to ape (subtle Donkey Kong reference there!) an arcade cabinet. They followed it with less inventive Tetris and Mortal Kombat coins. APMEX also jumped in with a range celebrating 40 years since PacMan burst onto the scene,

APMEX are back in the genre with their own range of Tetris coins and the selection of designs does a great job of encapsulating everything about the game, from its origins to it playability. The core coin is a silver bullion piece, issued for Niue, and with a 10,000 unit mintage. It depicts an image of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square, alluding to the games Russian origins, as well as the Tetris logo. The obverse carries the Niue emblem, rather than the more common effigy of QEII, but there’s a neat block motif at the top as a nod to the theme.

As well as the silver bullion variant, there’s also one that is coloured in an almost ‘8-bit’ computer graphics style. This has a mintage of 3,700 pieces and comes slabbed, but ungraded – a decorative thing that looks pretty good. A gold version, also an ounce in weight, with a tiny 100 mintage, comes in a themed tin with a Certificate of Authenticity, much like the proof silver version with its 370 mintage. Both of the latter coins are cleanly struck and eschewing colour.

Rounding out the range is a pair of undenominated, double-faced one-ounce silver rounds. Each has a coloured image on both the reverse and obverse faces and depicts elements of the game in actual, or inspired-by forms. These also come pre-slabbed and have an unlimited mintage.

All six Tetris coins are available to order from today and you can see more, including links to buy, on the APMEX store page.


Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Soviet Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov. The first playable version was completed on June 6, 1984, while he was working for the Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the Soviet Union in Moscow. He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favourite sport. The name is also used in-game to refer to the play where four lines (the maximum simultaneous clearance number) are cleared at once.

Tetris was the first entertainment software to be exported from the Soviet Union to the United States, where it was published by Spectrum HoloByte for the Commodore 64 and IBM PC. The game is a popular use of tetrominoes, the four-element case of polyominoes, which have been used in popular puzzles since at least 1907. (The name for these figures was given by the mathematician Solomon W. Golomb in 1953.)

The game, or one of its many variants, is available for nearly every video game console and computer operating system, as well as on devices such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable media players, PDAs, Network music players, and as an Easter egg on non-media products like oscilloscopes. It has even been played on the sides of various buildings.

While versions of Tetris were sold for a range of 1980s home computer platforms as well as arcades, it was the successful handheld version for the Game Boy, launched in 1989, that established the game as one of the most popular video games ever. Electronic Gaming Monthly’s 100th issue had Tetris in first place as “Greatest Game of All Time”. In 2007, it came in second place in IGN’s “100 Greatest Video Games of All Time”. In January 2010, it was announced that the games in the franchise had sold more than 170 million copies–approximately 70 million physical copies, and over 100 million copies for cell phones–making it the best selling paid-downloaded game of all time. (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue) $2 NZD (Niue) $2 NZD (Niue) $250 NZD (Niue) None
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 39.0 mm 39.0 mm 39.0 mm 34.0 mm 39.0 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion Proof Proof Bullion
MODIFICATIONS None Colour None None Colour both sides
MINTAGE 10,000 3,700 370 100 Unlimited (TBC)
BOX / C.O.A. No / No Slab / No Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Slab / No