Project Description

2018-2020 STAR WARS MOVIE POSTER FOILS by the New Zealand Mint

There’s no doubt that the New Zealand Mint are now the biggest proponents of the fledgling silver foil format. It could be argued that the format was first popularised by the European producer CIT Coin Invest, but the NZ Mint have the biggest selection on offer at the moment. Relatively cheap to design and produce, mints are more likely to take a chance with releasing a foil instead of a coin as the risks are less.

Star Wars issued can’t really be considered a huge risk, however. The ever-popular movie franchise has generated billions of dollars of revenue, along with an insatiable appetite for merchandise. The recent coin series like the superb Classic Star Wars, for example, have proven big hits, so Star Wars is an obvious choice for a new format. Called premium foil, this is the NZ Mints top format and at 35 grams, are seven times the size of the regular banknote-size issue. Stretching out to an expansive 262 x 170 mm in size, they constitute a huge canvas in terms of the numismatic market.

In the case of this series, it’s the superb movie posters that are being showcased. They’re fairly straightforward to reproduce, but the mint has left certain parts uncoloured to let the silver shine through, and it works well. These are very attractive items for the Star Wars collector. Despite the size, this remains a coin and carries a small effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, but we can’t imagine anyone being too interested in it. These are all about the display and the perspex frame they come in is designed to make doing that a doddle.

A fine centrepiece to a memorabilia collection, the price of $130.00 is hardly excessive in that market and the 10,000 mintage means availability should be easy enough. At the time of writing, all are still available. The prequel trilogy is to be released in 2019, and we fully expect the latest trilogy to get the foil treatment in 2020, just as it has on the standard silver coins in 2019.


The original design for the Star Wars movie poster (left) was undertaken by highly regarded fantasy artist brothers Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. This was undertaken before they had a visual representation of the actual actors playing the roles, hence the generic look of the main characters. A striking piece that obviously resonated with George Lucas as it came to be the basis for the iconic actual piece of art used.

Tom Jung, a Chinese American native of Boston, was a freelance illustrator (he did the poster for notorious bomb, Plan 9 From Outer Space) working for the advertisement firm Lucas went to consult with and he wound up doing a re-imagined version of the original Hildebrandt concept. Adding the droids and the actual actors likenesses, the work has gone on to become one of the most highly recognised and iconic pieces of work in movie history.


The Empire Strikes Back has seen a wide variety of posters produced to promote it around the world, not just the one used by the New Zealand Mint for its coin. While Tom Jung reinterpreted a design done by the Hildebrandt brothers for the first movie, he produced an original one for The Empire Strikes Back  and it’s an excellent piece, clearly in the style of the most famous Star Wars poster.

Another iconic poster was produced by the artist responsible for the brilliant Jaws movie poster, Roger Kastel and it’s a beautiful one. It’s a mass of ephemeral colour and would’ve been my first choice for the coin, but no doubt everyone will have their own favourite. Some of the modern stylised posters are equally amazing and well worth seeking out.


The Return of the Jedi was originally to be called Revenge of the Jedi until it was pointed out that the Jedi would not seek revenge. Drew Struzan produced a now famous poster with the original title. Much sought after today, it’s surprising it wasn’t simply modified and used anyway.

The poster used for the New Zealand Mint coin was done by artist Kazuhiko Sano, but there were several others as there have been for all the movies. A poster featuring a light saber by produced by Time Reamer. A poster by regular Star Wars artist Tom Yung inadvertantly gave away the destruction of the Death Star.


The teaser poster, featuring Anakin with his shadow forming Darth Vader’s silhouette, was released on November 10, 1998.

After Lucas opted for a drawn theatrical poster, Drew Struzan, the artist responsible for the Special Edition posters, was commissioned to illustrate, and the poster was unveiled on March 11, 1999. Lucasfilm dictated that, contractually, Struzan’s illustration was the only art the foreign distributors could use, and other than the text, it could not be modified in any way.


Also by Drew Struzan, this poster focuses on the core couple in the film, Padme and Anakin. One of the least convincing movie couples in history, it was nevertheless deemed to be the main focus of the movie by George Lucas. In style, it is clearly of the same ilk as what had gone before.

Originally, the artwork for the poster centred around the films main protagonist, Count Dooku, but he was removed at Lucas’s request so as not to give away too many plot details.


In a move that surprised nobody, Drew Struzan has produced this third prequel poster as well and it follows a very similar artistic style. The use of Darth Vader to ‘overwatch’ everything is a potent touch, foreshadowing the rise of the Sith and the coming civil war in the Republic.

The focus of the artwork here is the central battle between the two main characters, who also appear in portrait form around the scene. The lack of variety in the characters chosen is indicative of the movies limited nature, rather than Struzan’s choices.


Created by design agency LA and based on the art and concept ideas of Drew Struzan.


Created by design agency BOND and based on the art and concept ideas of Drew Struzan.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 35.0 grams
DIAMETER 262 x 175 mm
FINISH Brilliant uncirculated
MINTAGE 10,000
BOX / COA Yes / Yes