Project Description

2020 CHIBI COLLECTION by the New Zealand Mint

A phenomenon that has travelled far from its Japanese homeland, Chibi (ちび or チビ) is slang for short and is applied to various pop culture genres today. Chief amongst those are the small, chubby caricatures with their small bodies and over-sixed heads – also called super-deformed (SD). A popular style in anime and manga, and also with the Funko figures that are seemingly everywhere these days, we’re actually surprised the concept has taken this long to hit the numismatic world.

If anyone was going to do it, it would be pop-culture innovators the New Zealand Mint, who have an extensive catalogue of media franchises under their wing. These are perfect subjects for the Chibi treatment and the first to get reimagined was cult superhero, Batman. Rather than go with the dour character from the excellent Nolan movies, the mint sensibly took a more comic-orientated approach, with some similarities to the style popularised in the camp Sixties TV series. The follow up coins are equally whimsical and manage to be both an extreme caricature, and easily recognisable.

This was the first of the DC Comics Chibi Collection, which was soon joined by a Harry Potter series, and then a Star Wars one. Each coin is numbered as part of its own collection, rather than as a unified Chibi series as a whole. Given the accelerated release schedule, that’s probably a wise decision. At the time of publication, there are five issues available, with two coming from Potter, two from DC and one from Star Wars, and there’s another DC character imminent. Amazingly given the near $100 USD price tag per coin, the mint has plans to issue eleven coins in the next twelve weeks. Uniquely, the mint has teased silhouettes of the upcoming issues, which we’ve had a go at identifying, but bear in mind they’re our guesses (except for Flash, and some are obvious).

Each shaped coin has a standard obverse design. The usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the surrounding inscriptions marking this out as a Niue issue. The presentation is also as neat as you would expect from a mint known for the quality of it, the box allowing for easy display and being heavily themed for each issue. It’s a 1 oz fine silver coin and has a mintage of 2,000 pieces. Early releases have sold very briskly, with Batman and Darth Vader particularly showing some excellent initial price appreciation. It is possible the intensive release schedule might harm that a little, but it remains to be seen. An excellent idea, expertly realised and quite unique. Couldn’t really ask for more.

NOTE: The coins are listed in order of release, but each header is colour-coded to which of the three series it belongs. (Blue = DC, Purple = Potterverse, Green = Star Wars)

2020 DC COMICS 01: BATMAN

A cool design that taps into the love for Adam West’s camp 1960’s version, but with a healthy nod to the comics themselves. To be honest, the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan versions are a little dark for this concept.

2020 WIZARDING WORLD 01: HARRY POTTER

It seems that Harry Potter is a little less popular than the other two, if early indicators are correct, but that’s probably because the franchise is a bit quiet at present, with just another Fabulous Beasts movie on the horizon. Whatever the case, there’s no arguing with the interpretation of Harry Potter here.

2020 DC COMICS 02: WONDER WOMAN

Again, this follows Batman in mining the comics far more than the modern movie version of the character, but with a little of the Lynda Carter TV version thrown in for good measure.

2020 STAR WARS 01: DARTH VADER

A big hit and sell out on release, it’s easy to see why. A fantastic realisation of the character, although we can’t help but compare it to Mel Brook’s legendary take on the character with his Dark Helmet from the movie, Spaceballs.

2020 WIZARDING WORLD 02: HERMIONE GRANGER

It seems that the world of Potter is harder to distinguish than the others. That’s fair enough given they’re working with fundamentally normal humans in terms of appearance. Nevertheless, instantly recognisable as Hermione.

2020 DC COMICS 03: THE FLASH

Pretty neat design, definitely inspired by the comics instead of the TV and movie incarnations.

2020 STAR WARS 02: CHEWBACCA

A surprise second issue in the Star Wars range, Chewbacca is certainly distinct enough in appearance to not be confused with any other character. The bandolier is a nice distinguishing touch.

2020 DC COMICS 04: GREEN LANTERN

A character with little representation in the coin world, despite its long history. We’re going to put that down to a poor showing in the movie world with the otherwise solid Ryan Reynolds headlined movie being a total bomb. Hopefully, this interesting superhero will get more exposure in the future. The coin is bang on.

2020 STAR WARS 03: R2-D2

Love Star Wars, or hate Star Wars, you’ll have heard of the dinky white wheelie bin, R2-D2. One of the few characters to show up in pretty much every franchise movie, fans love it, and we’d predict the coin will go out as quickly as Darth Vader did so.

2020 WIZARDING WORLD 04: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

Dumbledore is the fourth character and the first to actually look a bit more distinctive than a normal human figure.

2020 STAR WARS: 04 STORMTROOPER

This is one of the most iconic characters in any of these three ranges and has a distinctive look that translates well to Chibi. Unfortunately, the chance of getting a squad of these to go with Darth Vader is pretty remote as this will likely be a quick seller.

2020 DC COMICS 05: SUPERMAN

Superman is one of the most easily recognisable characters in the DC Universe, so it’s good to see the character well served by the Chibi process. The cape was a giveaway with the silhouette teaser and it looks good here.

2020 HARRY POTTER: HAGRID ? (coming 01/12)

2020 ? (coming 08/12) Best reader guess so far is BOBA FETT

2020 ? (coming 11/12) Best reader guess so far is THE JOKER

2020 DC COMICS: HARLEY QUINN (coming 12/01/21)

2020 STAR WARS: LUKE SKYWALKER ? (coming 26/01/21)

2020 HARRY POTTER: SNAPE ? (coming 26/01/21)

OBVERSE EXAMPLES

SPECIFICATION

CHIBI COLLECTION
DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue Island)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS approx 31 x 36 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour, Shaped
MINTAGE 2,000 per design
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
NEW ZEALAND MINT