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 is everyones favourite superhero, Batman. Rather than go with the dour character from the excellent Nolan movies, the mint has sensibly taken a more comic-orientated approach, with some similarities to the style popularised in the camp Sixties TV series.

The coin is instantly recognisable, having the exaggerated head that distinguishes it as a chibi, and the cape and symbol that mark it out as the legendary DC superhero. It’s coloured, as you can see, but not high-relief, relying on the shape to stand out, which it manages with ease. The obverse is a simple one, with 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. It’s a 1 oz fine silver coin and has a mintage of 2,000 pieces. We understand that pre-sales of this one have been very brisk indeed, so a potential sleeper, perhaps. As you can see on the box, this is marked as No.01 and the mint has plans to bring in other franchises. It’s already shown silhouettes of two with big hints, and those are clearly Harry Potter and Darth Vader, but we understand they have greater plans for the concept as a whole. An interesting new idea, tapping into a collectable market far larger than just coins and one we’ll keep an eye on. We don’t have long to wait for a second issue either. This one is available from today for around $95.00 USD.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 31.5 x 36.0 mm
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes