Popeye joins the shaped coin market, along with new Kung Fu Panda, Pennywise, and Ghostbusters releases

With this week’s release of LPM’s new Popeye coin, we thought we’d round-up a few other pop-culture themed, shaped character coins for your perusal. There are quite a few producers getting in on the act these days, and their popularity seems to be increasing. Traditional collectors may wonder what all the fuss is about, but coins like these are attractive to casual collectors, especially in the healthy memorabilia market, and bring in new blood to the hobby.

Along with LPM, we have a new issue for a Stephen King film from talented German producer, MDM, and a couple from regular dabblers in this genre, The Coin Company, based in Australia. It’s a good selection, but what you prefer will likely depend on which of the associated franchises you like. The packaging for the Ghostbusters coin is a great reminder of its importance in this genre.


Known for his distinctive spinach-fueled strength, squinty eye, and sailor attire, Popeye, was created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1929. His animated cartoons, often featuring his love interest Olive Oyl, nemesis Bluto, and endearing phrase “I yam what I yam,” gained immense popularity. Popeye’s tales revolve around his adventurous escapades and unwavering sense of justice.

You can see that in the coin, which has chosen a supremely classic pose to depict him. As with all these coins, it’s coloured on the reverse face, and makes a great homage to the character. The packaging loos well themed, and the mintage of 500 is quite low for a one-ounce coin. No doubt we’ll be seeing Bluto and Olive Oyl soon.


A surprising great film, released in 2017, It, based on the Stephen King novel, tells the story of Pennywise, a shape-shifting monster that likes to take the form of a clown, who periodically reappears to feed on children. Played by Bill Skarsgard, It’s a relatively lightweight horror movie, but good fun regardless, and popular enough to spawn a sequel in 2019.

The coin is a good one, with some great little touches, especially on the part-coloured reverse, like the way the name ‘Pennywise’ has been pressed into dual use as hair texture. The obverse has some creepy text around the Barbados coat-of-arms. A cool coin, but at five-ounces in weight, not a cheap one.


A beloved animated franchise, Kung Fu Panda continues to draw on its massive popularity with a fourth film due in March 2024. The title character, Po, appears in fighting pose on this new The Coin Company silver coin, which tips the scales at an ounce in weight. It follows the same pattern of the many similarly shaped pop-culture franchise coins this producer has released, with a coloured reverse, over a proof finish.

You couldn’t really ask for a better reproduction of the character in coin form, and it’s topped off with some attractive packaging. It’s likely we’ll be seeing a few of these coins issued for the franchise, given the tightly defined group of characters that are a constant in every film.


The cult hit Ghostbusters franchise has seen a few coins of late, but the most obvious element for numismatic imagining is clearly the iconic logo. This isn’t the first time it has appeared on a silver coin, but The Coin Company has done a good job here with a bright, colourful implementation, and an unusual for this genre, antique finish on the obverse.

The star here, however, is the brilliant packaging. Set into a ghost trap, complete with a red button and bifold door cover, it’s an inspired piece of presentation, likely to drive sales of the coin on its own. It’s all in a themed outer shipper, and with a Certificate of Authenticity. If you’re a Ghostbusters fan, and who isn’t, this is a cool homage.

POPEYE $2 (Samoa) 31.1 g of 0.999 silver 19.4 x 36.0 mm Proof, colour 500
PENNYWISE $5 (Barbados) 155.5 g of 0.999 silver 75.0 x 60.5 mm Prooflike, colour 750
KUNG FU PANDA $2 NZD (Niue) 31.1 g of 0.999 silver ~ 40 mm Proof, colour 1,000
GHOSTBUSTERS $5 NZD (Niue) 62.2 g of 0.999 silver ~ 50 mm Antique, colour 600