VIDEOGAMES ON COINS: A multi-mint round-up of gaming and numismatics

Video games have grown from the weird little hobby of the far-sighted few, to a mainstream juggernaut that drawfs the movie and music industries. It’s easy to understand why. Other forms of entertainment generally involve soaking up someone else’s vision, but gaming allows you to control the narrative personally, to a quite extraordinary degree in some modern titles.

From early, pixelated beginnings, to today’s AAA titles, video games have muscled in on the formerly sedate entertainment industries, with a huge variety of game types, like puzzles, shooters, adventures and fighters. It took quite a bit of time before gaming hit the coin world, but as you will see from the round-up below, they’re here to stay, and the selection is equally wide.

We’ve limited this to precious metal coins and rounds, although some, like Pobjoy Mint’s ‘Angry Birds’ base-metal offerings, may be added shortly. These guides are a great way for us to stay on top of certain types of popular coin without them taking over coverage too much, and we have similar ones under our Coin Profiles section (especially Thematic Guides). The Changelog will track updates for you, and the guide is currently spread over two pages, with the copious APMEX selection occupying page two. Let me know if I’ve missed any, as this is a first pass.

2022
11/04 ARTICLE PUBLISHED
30/04: ADDED SCORPION TO CHIBI
29/06: ADDED SUB-ZERO TO CHIBI

2018+ ARCADE CABINETS (New Zealand Mint)

2018 SPACE INVADERS (3,000)

2019 TETRIS (3,000)

2020 MORTAL KOMBAT (2,020)

2021 STREET FIGHTER II (2,000)

One of the first to pick up on the potential of the burgeoning video-game market for coin subjects, the New Zealand Mint released what is still one of the best of the genre when it debuted Space Invaders. The coin used a lenticular process to display two separate images, which change when the coin is gently rotated. It perfectly highlighted the simplicity of the original arcade game. Best of all, was the brilliantly quirky packaging, designed to replicate a miniature arcade cabinet.

Since then, we’ve seen a single annual release, all in the same one-ounce format, and all with equally clever, customised packaging. Sadly, the lenticular effect from the launch coin has fallen by the wayside. A real standout idea for this series, that would have worked just as well on subsequent coins. A shame, but the series remains a classic of the genre.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$2 NZD (Niue) 31.1 g / 0.999 silver 40.0 mm Proof w/colour SEE ABOVE

2021+ CHIBI SERIES (New Zealand Mint)

2021 SFII 01: RYU

2021 SFII 02: KEN MASTERS

2021 HALO 01: MASTER CHIEF

2021 HALO 02: CORTANA

2022 MORTAL KOMBAT 01: SCORPION

2022 MORTAL KOMBAT 02: SUB-ZERO

Regular readers of this site will need no introduction to the cult of Chibi. Released in 2020, these little Japanese ‘Super-deformed’ inspired coins have been hitting the market at a rate of four per month ever since. In fact, the series is so big now, we made a guide that is already bursting at the seams, so a look at that will give you an idea of the range available.

Here though, we’re concentrating on those with a video-game theme, and that means two main subsets. The first is Street Fighter II, and the second is Halo. Both have a relatively casual release schedule, having seen only two releases each as we go to press. Halo isn’t exactly awash with noticeable characters, so we’re not expecting a huge range of those, but the fighting game, Street Fighter II, is awash with them. Popularity will no doubt be the deciding factor on just how big that set gets.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$2 NZD (Niue) 31.1 g / 0.999 silver approx 31 x 36 mm Proof w/colour 2,000

2021 HALO: MASTER CHIEF HELMET (New Zealand Mint)

We’ve already seen ‘Faces of the Empire’ take a look at the helmets of the Star Wars Universe, and it looks like the videogame ‘Halo’ is now getting the treatment. The seminal shooter which almost single-handedly ensured the success of Microsoft’s first console, the original X-Box, is now 20 years old, so this is an anniversary release.

Like the similarly styled Star Wars coins, this ‘Master Chief Helmet’ coin is shaped and struck in an ounce of 0.999 silver, and coloured on the reverse face. It’s neat enough, and it isn’t like the market is awash with Halo coins, so it will have appeal to that market. The appeal will be heightened by the smart packaging, which is something this mint is particularly adept at.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$2 NZD (Niue) 31.1 g / 0.999 silver 31.8 x 36 mm Proof w/colour 5,000

2022+ STREET FIGHTER BULLION (LPM / Perth Mint)

2022 RYU

2022 CHUN-LI

This series was a surprise after the disappointing earlier release, and in our opinion, is on a whole other level for design. A pure bullion series, struck by the Perth Mint, this one has some terrific, modern artwork, inspired by the classic CAPCOM game. There are just two issues to date, but both are top notch.

There are classic one-ounce silver and gold coins, as well as a coloured silver, all struck in 0.9999 fineness metal. Mintages are relatively small, and 20% of the coloured coin mintage is available mounted to a themed card, much like the Stock Horse, and Marvel coin series have been.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$1 (Tuvalu) 31.1 g / 0.9999 silver 40.9 mm B/Unc 15,000
$1 (Tuvalu) 31.1 g / 0.9999 silver 40.9 mm B/Unc w/colour 5,000 (1,000 carded)
$100 (Tuvalu) 31.1 g / 0.9999 gold 32.6 mm B/Unc 100

2021 STREET FIGHTER MINI FIGHTERS (LPM)

2021 RYU

2021 CHUN-LI

2021 KEN MASTERS

2022 GUILE

These one-ounce shaped silver coins have been likened to Chibi by some, but in reality, they’re completely different. These are heavily stylised video-game character coins, beautifully done in a Japanese style. Coloured on the reverse face, and issued for Fiji, they have a small (for a one-ounce coin) mintage of just 1,000 pieces per design.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$1 FJD (Fiji) 31.1 g / 0.999 silver Variable (circa-40 mm) Proof w/colour 1,000

2021 STREET FIGHTER II 30TH ANNIVERSARY (LPM)

2021 M. BISON

2021 VEGA

2021 CHUN-LI

2021 RYU

LPM have chosen four of the most iconic characters from the game to adorn these coins, and each is a simple and clean affair. A proof finish background has upon it a coloured image of the character, along with the game logo, and the company logo. There’s the big bad, M.Bison, along with Vega, Ryu, and fan favourite, Chun-Li. The obverse carries the national emblem of Fiji, along with the issue inscriptions, thankfully kept away from the reverse face.

Just the two formats, neither with a high mintage. The silver coins come encapsulated and have a mintage of 5,000 pieces. The gold coins have an identical design and weight, but come with a neat Certificate of Authenticity (different for each design), and a tiny mintage of just 50 pieces.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION DIMENSIONS FINISH MINTAGE
$0.5 FJD (Fiji) 31.1 g / 0.999 silver 40.0 mm B/unc. w/colour 5,000
$10 FJD (Fiji) 31.1 g / 0.999 gold 32.0 mm B/unc. w/colour 50

PAGE 2: APMEX