Along with the Perth Mint;s Marvel Superheroes series and the NZ Mint’s own Disney coins, Star Wars has made the transition from proof commemorative to bullion with some success. With the recent launch of a fifth coin, it’s clear that buyers want more than the usual nature and national personification on their bullion. To be honest, these will have an enhanced appeal to the more youthful collector, and that is certainly a good thing for the market.
Launching in 2017, the series debuted with the biggest movie villain of them all, Darth Vader. This ultra-iconic character has been a stalwart of the series as three of the five coins issued at the time of writing have featured him. Indeed, it has alternated between a Vader design and a trooper coin until now, and noticeably, all have featured the baddies – the Imperial side of the universe, with not a Rebel themed coin in sight. Whether that remains the case in the future remains to be seen.
Each design has followed a strict artistic style, one we call bas-relief inspired. This involves an image being formed from simpler elements, eschewing fine detail for a cruder, high contrast look. It’s actually pretty effective, although one you either love or hate. There’s a disappointing lack of difference between the Vader coins in particular. but all are neat enough in their own right. The obverse is a typical NZ Mint design, rolling out the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the inscribed issue details.
Two formats on offer, both a troy ounce in weight. The choice is either 0.999 silver or 0/999 gold. The design of both is fundamentally the same. Packaging is, as you’d expect, limited to a capsule, although you can buy tubes of 25 silver coins, and even a monster box containing ten tubes. Until the latest release, the mintage of the silver coin has been capped at 250,000 pieces, with the gold at just 10% of this number. Darth Vader III changed all that, with the silver dropping to just 100,000 pieces, and the gold to a positively tiny 1,000 units. t remains to be seen if this is the new normal for the series, but it does make them more appealing to collectors in a market filled with smaller mintage competitors.
UPDATE: Issues marked with a ** in their title bar use the alternative obverse design without the effigy of QEII. Red bordered titles means it’s the Vader sub-series, yellow, the miscellaneous, green the symbolic, and blue The Mandalorian. The distinction is ours and not the mints as far as we can tell, but this does seem to be the pattern in the various releases.