Much like the popular Star Wars bullion coin range from the New Zealand Mint, Disney, that franchises parent company, has also seen a range of bullion issues over the last couple of years from the same mint. This showcases their own characters, rather than those bought in from Lucasfilm when it took over George Lucas’s iconic science-fiction universe.
There’s virtually no difference in the specifications between Disney and Star Wars, so collectors can quite happily interchange between the two if they so wish. A pair of formats on offer, both a troy ounce in weight. One is 0.999 silver, while the other is 0.9999 gold. The design of both is fundamentally the same, barring the obvious inscription details.
Some iconic designs have already appeared, with the 1928 classic Steamboat Willie kicking off the range in 2017. They’ve tended to lean towards anniversaries, with both Mickey Mouse’s and Donald Duck’s getting marked in bullion. A brief detour into Disney-themed lunar issues lasted just one year. A charming design that obviously didn’t resonate enough with collectors to be worth continuing with. Quite a missed opportunity this year if one doesn’t appear, given it’s the year of the mouse. The lunar coin is the only one to eschew the starburst pattern in the background field – something even the latest Lion King coin has employed. All coins have the bog-standard obverse of Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy (still using the venerable Ian Rank Broadley effort), with surrounding issue inscriptions, so no change there, sadly.
Six releases to date, with more coming, the series is obviously popular enough to warrant the continued issue of new designs. Packaging is limited to a capsule, although you can buy tubes of 25 silver coins, and even a monster box containing ten tubes. The first three issues had the mintage of the silver coin at 250,000 pieces, with the gold at 25,000 pieces. After that, we saw the number of silver coins dwindle to 90,000 and then 85,000, before hitting just 25,000 for The Lion King coin. Similarly, the gold fell to 9,000, then just 1,000 for Donald Duck, before falling to a tiny 250 pieces for The Lion King. That’s a very attractive mintage for a coin with a subject that popular.
Overall, a neat selection, if not a coherent series, for the Disney fan, and one in which the reduced mintages are a step in the right direction given the intense competition in the marketplace now. We’ll keep this guide updated with new issues.