Harry Potter seems to be everywhere at the moment, with MDM, the Monnaie de Paris, the Crown Mint. and the New Zealand Mint all issuing coins for the franchise. Just trying to keep up with who has the rights to what is frustrating enough, but it must annoy some of the mints as well, we’d imagine. The latest is a shaped one-ounce silver piece from the NZ Mint, who probably have more experience with the genre than anyone.
The first in this ‘Hogwarts House Crests’ Collection was a coin that depicted all four of the main houses on a single shield, and this second issue is likely the first of four giving each house its own coin. House Gryffindor’s emblem is shown filling the centre of the reverse face. There isn’t much more to it than that. Potter fans will love it, although I personally preferred the look of the silver foils the NZ Mint did a couple of years ago, even though I’m no fan of Potter in general.
Still, a good one for the fans and it’s as well presented as always. A mintage of 5,000 pieces, with availability from today.
Creatures of the North - Werewolf (2021 Royal Canadian Mint)
In a big launch early last year, we showed off the first in a new series from the Royal Canadian Mint called ‘Creatures of the North: The Kraken’. After an extended, no doubt Covid led delay, the second coin is about to ship. This time we’re out of the sea and into the woods with the legendary Werewolf.
The style of the coin is very much like the Kraken, with an in-your-face portrayal of the mutt-man by Gerald Gloade. There’s a large rim and border, which does detract a little, but it’s a good-looking coin very much in the RCM style.
An unlimited mintage two-ounce 0.9999 silver coin, it has the usual Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, and the mints security features like the micro-laser engraved 21 Maple privy mark to make like harder for the counterfeiters. A nice release and something a bit dfferent from them. Available now, they can be bought individually, in tubes of 14, or boxes of 280.
STAR WARS: THE MANDALORIAN BULLION COIN (2021 NZ Mint)
Star Wars bullion returns today with the new APMEXclusive release of the New Zealand Mints latest. This one is going to be super popular, we think, given it showcases the biggest character of the moment, The Mandalorian. The smash-hit Disney TV series is soon to start showing season 3, so we don’t doubt that fans will start looking around for merchandise, and what better than a bit of timeless precious metal?
As usual, there’s a one-ounce 0.999 silver coin and a one-ounce 0.9999 gold. The former has a mintage of 25,000 pieces, and the latter a very collectable 250. The design looks great, one of the better ones in the series, in our opinion. The obverse has done away with the effigy of Darth Elizabeth and gone with the coat of arms of Niue instead, just like the Star Wars Symbols sub-series.
Both can be ordered now, directly from APMEX and a few other dealers, no doubt. We added this one to our profile at the link below.
We actually missed the last pair of Chibi coins released at the end of August, but the pair for early September are here now, so we’ll jump ahead. The first of them is the next Lord of the Rings issue, in this case Aragorn, A popular character, we’d imagine the building hype for the new Amazon prequel series may increase interest in this franchise.
However, the big drop this time will obviously be the title character from the super-hit Disney TV series, The Mandalorian. Expect this one to sell out so fast, availability won’t make the end of the day. The NZ Mint is pacing itself with this sub-series – only Grogu (Baby Yoda) having come out so far, but expect more to come as the third season debuts, along with spin-off series, ‘The Tales of Boba Fett’. It does look spot on, with the mint sensibly fighting the urge to make it bright and gaudy.
Both are available right now for $99 USD, or you can opt for the ‘Premium Selection’ to get one of the first 200 numbered certificates for $199 USD., but we wouldn’t recommend it for value reasons. We’ve added this pair, and the two we missed, to our comprehensive profile of the series, filled with images and videos, all neatly laid out by sub-sets.
Fellowship of the Ring Movie 20th bullion (2021 NZ Post/APMEX)
Considered an absolute tour-de-force of the fantasy movie genre, Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is now 20 years old, and in a rare occurence, the New Zealand Post is issuing, in partnership with APMEX, a silver bullion coin to celebrate. The movie, and its sequels, were filmed in Jackson’s native New Zealand, hence the association, and the NZ Post have a long history with the Lord of the Rings franchise. Packed with big stars, the movie went on to make almost $900m, and was followed in 2002 by ‘The Two Towers’ and in 2003 by ‘Return of the King’. It’s unusual to see big, expensive blockbusters come out in rapid succession like that, but no doubt it will aid the NZ Post in continuing to release a new coin annually – well, at least two of them.
This one look really good, especially for a bullion coin. Depicting Frodo reaching out for the ring, it’s an excellent choice of perspective and packed with a lot of detail for the type. The micro lettering on Frodo’s sleeve (“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”) is a fine, unexpected touch. The obverse is simple, with just the effigy of Elizabeth II on it, surrounded by issue inscriptions.
A very neat release for a much loved franchise, the tight mintage of 10,000 pieces is attractive, as is the fact that New Zealand bullion coin issues aren’t a dime a dozen. Collectors in NZ should be able to pick them up from the NZ Post, while distribution elsewhere is being handled by the aforementioned APMEX. Available to order shortly.
The second of the New Zealand Mint’s shaped ‘Faces of the Empire’ series is already here, following the release of the debut coin, Darth Vader, just last month. As before, it’s a helmet coin design, although whether this is the style for the whole series, or just for a few of them, we don’t yet know. The style sits somewhere between the higher end helmet series and the popular Chibi coins, so we can’t accuse the mint of not having all the bases covered.
As to the need to have all the bases covered, we’re not so sure. The Star Wars Universe is pretty expansive and there’s a lot not yet covered, so we’d rather they directed their attention to that. Perhaps a shaped series showcasing the highly regarded animated series, or even the ships, which are comparitively under-represented at the affordable end. Even some silver foil blueprints might make a neat change, and in 5g form are pretty affordable.
Anyway, there’s nothing not to like here for the Star Wars fan. It’s neatly designed, and at an ounce in weight, cheaper than the earlier series at $99 USD. Packaging is as great as ever, and the 10,000 mintage means initial availability won’t be problematic. Available today. We’ll add this one to our very comprehensive round-up of the mints Star Wars releases.
Launching in 2017, the Nautical Ounce series of bullion coins has now reached the grand old age of five with the release of Sedov. This is actually an attractive range, with a relatively low profile, but easily the equal of much of the ship themed competition, and better than the similar Rwandan African Ounce wildlife series, in our view.
The 2021 coin shows us the Sedov, a German built ship (as Magdalene Vinnen II in 1921) that spent almost eight decades as the world’s largest traditional sailing ship. Built as a cargo ship, she spent much time as a training vessel in the Soviet Navy, as well as the Russian Navy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This beautiful 117.5 m long Barque vessel remains an active part of the naval calendar to this day, operating from Kaliningrad.
The coin continues with all the series design elements, including the border, the compass, and the oval ‘window’ showing off period naval equipment. The image of the Sedov itself is done in a style similar to previous entrants, under full sail in open water. A nice coin, and one instantly recognisable as from the producer of the African Ounce and the Stained Glass Lunars.
There’s a one-ounce 0.999 silver and a similar gold, the latter capped at just 100 pieces. In addition, there’s a 1oz silver proof (1,000 mintage), and for only the second year, antiqued high-relief silver variants in both 1oz (1,000 pcs) and 3oz (500 pcs) forms. These have been for sale for a while, but should actually start shipping any time now, so a good chance for us to catch up, although we are doing a profile of the series to date.
Back to the Future 2 bullion (2021 The Coin Company)
Back to the Future 2 bullion (2021 The Coin Company)
The second Back to the Future bullion coin moves through the trilogy to showcase the second movie. The Robert Zemeckis directed film was released in 1989 and was a hit, coming in at No.3 in the box office rankings that year. It continued the story of Marty McFly and Doc Brown, and it was filmed back to back with the third and final movie in the trilogy.
Last year saw a neat one-ounce silver bullion coin launched covering the first film, and it seemed pretty popular with its 10,000 mintage. There was also a 1oz gold proof with a 50 mintage, but that seems to have been replaced in 2021 with a bullion version capped at 100 pieces. We think that’s probably for the best. The 2021 silver coin remains at 10,000 units.
We like the design a bit more than last years, which was okay, but aesthetically unadventurous. This one seems to have a bit more pep to it, which is always a positive. Both are available to order now.
Another new limited mintage silver bullion coin series from APMEX debuted last year, called ‘Celtic Animals’. Similar in concept to their ‘Mandala Animals’ series, it depicts animals not in a natural form, but instead constructed from the symbology associated with that culture. They look like they’ve been constructed almost as if in a small, intricate tattoo style.
They look okay. The Mandala series was okay and this is more of the same. This second annual issue shows us a Rabbit (above), following last years Ox (below), which at least means they’re keeping the choice of subjects sensibly limited to those that were known, and likely depicted in Celtic society. A Celtic Kangaroo might be a bit of a hard sell!
Unlike Mandala, Celtic Animals is restricted to a single format – one ounce silver – but does maintain a very small mintage, in this case just 5,000 pieces. Issued for the Republic of Chad, it has their national emblem on the obverse. Available now.
The 15th bullion release in the New Zealand Mints Disney range launches today, and it’s the third in the Lion King sub-series. Reproducing scenes from the movie rather than just showcasing different characters, it’s something a little different from the rest of the range and all the better for it. This one has a scene of Simba, Pumbaa and Timon walking across a fallen log with the full moon behind. It looks decent enough and fans of the movie will surely love it.
Yet again, the usual one-ounce pair of 0.999 silver and 0.9999 gold make up the formats on offer, the former with a 25,000 mintage and the latter topping out at just 250 units. Both are provided encapsulated only. This is another APMEXclusive and is available to order now. We’ve added this to our full guide to the Disney bullion coins, so go check it out.
In amongst the explosion of popular culture releases, we’ve seen a growth in shaped coins. That’s hardly surprising given the obvious cross-over potential, and everything from Star Wars to Streetfighter II has put in an appearance. We’re going to assume that they’re very popular as most of them seem to sell out in short order.
One such was Shrek, the first in a series covering the hit movie franchise. Second to appear is the Eddie Murphy voiced ‘Donkey’ and it is, as you’d expect, donkey-shaped. Same as before, it’s a one-ounce silver coin with a 1,000 mintage and some neat packaging. Produced by The Coin Company in Australia, who also release Back to the Future and Jurassic Park coins, it’s available now.
Archangel Michael bullion bar (2021 Scottsdale Mint)
We don’t cover a huge amount of undenominated stuff here, escpecially bullion bars, but there are products released that fit our market coverage quite well. Scottsdale Mint’s new Archangel Michael silver bar is one such example. Quite similar in concept to the Royal Mints Britannia and Una & the Lion bars, this one takes an iconic classical figure, one ironically with great appeal to the UK coin collector market.
There’s very little not to love about this one. Michael’s pose is quintessentially heroic in nature, the shield looks stunning as a centrepiece, and the serpent sensibly sized in relation. We often see the protaganist dwarfed by the beast he’s fighting, but Michael is supposed to be the warrior Anrchangel, so that hardly seems appropriate. The depiction is very ‘epic’.
The obverse side has the mints name running vertically, along with a half-view of their attractive logo and the inscribed specification. As for mintage, these are unlimited and each comes encapsulated. At present, there’s only a one-ounce silver (0.999), and a one ounce 0.9999 gold produced in collaboration with PAMP, on offer. A super addition to the market and we can see why the format is becoming more popular. Available now.
First appearing in 2017, the Barbados Trident is back again with another mildly tweaked design, and in the full range of three sizes for a simultaneous release. The ‘tweaking’ continues to be constrained to the background field, which has passed through various geometric and wavey patterns to the ringed geometric wavey pattern you can see here. It’s like Scottsdales’s Maple, Eagle or Britannia.
Three formats are back. The one-ounce silver has a mintage of 30,000, the one-ounce gold 5,000, and the fifth-ounce gold 5,000. A staple of the calendar now, perhaps, it should be available to purchase from today.
APMEX have launched the second in their exclusive series of one-ounce silver bullion coins featuring stylised depictions of owls. These amazing birds have inspired some quite superb modern numismaticsand been a staple of the coin world for thousands of years, going back to at least the Athenian Tetradrachm. This bullion series appears to be the offshoot of a proof coin that debuted in 2020 – the Scops Owl – which employed a similar style and layout.
The first coin had the Great Horned Owl for a subject, and this second entrant has picked the Northern Pygmy Owl to do the honours. It’s depicted in a very distinctive style, hard to describe, but almost like a woodcut. It’s pretty effective and surrounded by a border that is common to the series. All of the issue inscriptions are placed on the obverse, surrounding the national emblem of Tokealu.
One of the biggest selling points of this series, outside of the unique style, is an extremely small mintage of just 5,000 pieces, tiny even by the limited mintage bullion market standards. The first coin sold out quickly, and we’d be surprised if this didn’t follow suit. Available now.
We’ve just seen the issue of the new Quokka and Wombat silver bullion coins from the Perth Mint and now it’s the turn of the second in the mints ‘Australian Brumby’ horse series. Launching last year with a nice running design by Jennifer McKenna, she’s returned for 2021 with another very attractive coin. We like the horse as a subject for a nature coin, much more so than something that looks like a kids stuffed toy.
The rearing horse fits the coin well and exhibits superb anatomy. Only the ground its standing on having an edge so close looks a little off, almost like the horse is manic-depressive and thinking of jumping, or just thinks he’s Pegasus, perhaps. I’m being petty though, and it’s a really attractive issue overall.
This series has a single bullion coin in it’s range, a one-ounce 0.9999 silver, but there’s also a couple of numismatic versions. The two-ounce high-relief silver coin (1,000 mintage) is a great looker, and is out now, and last year saw a one-ounce gold proof with a 250 mintage which will no doubt appear shortly. This bullion coin is an exclusive LPM release and has a 25,000 unit mintage. The Australian Brumby is turning into a superior series to the Australian Stock Horse, which preceded it. Available now.
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