The Fool is the debut release in Niue’s new Tarot Card inspired silver coin series

Despite spending much of its time in the movie and TV franchise world, the New Zealand Mint does release a few unrelated series each year, often with unusual subjects. This time, they’ve focused on the mystical (and nonsensical) world of Tarot. The inspiration for countless books and movies, the occult Tarot cards actually have a more innocent origin, but they’re now firmly linked with the weirder aspects of belief.

Whatever the case, they contain some hugely entertaining stories, myths and aesthetics, so make a great subject for a coin series. The mint has chosen, sensibly in our view, the rectangular one-ounce format for these coins, and colour was a no-brainer given the look of the original cards. A simple border surrounds a coloured image that could have been lifted straight from an actual card.

The series looks like it will be focusing on the more unusual parts of the Tarot deck, called the Major Arcana, the ones most unlike a regular card deck. Who better to start with than ‘The Fool’, analagous to the Joker in a normal pack of cards, and the only one to carry no number? Other characters of the 22 in the Major Arcana include The Devil, Death, The Magician, and the Lovers, so plenty of future choices for the series.

A mintage of 2,000 pieces, nice presentation and a $95.00 USD pricetag are all standard fare for this mint for this kind of coin, so if the subject appeals, they make a relatively affordable purchase. We’ll follow the series via our Quicklooks as the year progresses.


The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen, many of which are still played today. In the late 18th century, some tarot decks began to be used for divination via tarot card reading and cartomancy leading to custom decks developed for such occult purposes.

Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits which vary by region: French suits in Northern Europe, Latin suits in Southern Europe, and German suits in Central Europe. Each suit has 14 cards: ten pip cards numbering from one (or Ace) to ten, and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Knave/Page). In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool; this 22-card section of the tarot deck is known as the major arcana. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit. These tarot cards are still used throughout much of Europe to play conventional card games without occult associations.

Among English-speaking countries where these games are not played frequently, tarot cards are used primarily for novelty and divinatory purposes, usually using specially designed packs. Some who use tarot for cartomancy believe that the cards have esoteric links to ancient Egypt, the Kabbalah, Indian Tantra, or the I Ching, though scholarly research has not found documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century. (Wikipedia)

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 53.0 x 36.0 mm
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “TAROT“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0