The pill-gobbling Pacman is 40 years old and APMEX have four new coins to put in the arcade machine

Given the huge size of the popular culture influence on modern coins over the last half-decade or so, it’s surprising that the massive gaming market hasn’t appeared more. With games now making more money than movies and music combined, it’s fair to say that the potential remains, to a large part, untapped. The New Zealand Mint has a very neat trio of coins, one with Space Invaders, one with Tetris and one with Mortal Kombat. The latter pair are simple coloured affairs, but the debut coin was a brilliant mix of lenticular technology and presentation.

Now, US coin dealer APMEX has issued, for Niue, a range of silver and gold coins to mark the 40th anniversary of this most iconic of titles. Designed by 25 year old Toru Iwatani, with limited programming knowledge, it was Namco’s attempt to fight the growing influence of Taito’s Space Invaders, which it did very successfully. It remains hugely popular to this day.

It isn’t difficult to do a Pacman coin, of course. Simple, strong characters and playing field lend themselves well to the limited canvas on a coin, and these coins pick the charcters we know best to showcase the game. It looks okay, not a classic representation, but the characters have morphed over the years to be a little more three dimensional, which is what we have here. There are three basic variants in the range. Of most interest will be the 1 oz silver bullion coin with its 25,000 mintage. That looks to be one for every collector given how unique the genre is in the bullion market. A gold 1 oz brilliant uncirculated, and a 1 oz silver proof round out the trio, both with a mintage of 400 pieces and coming boxed with a C.O.A.

The fourth coin is also a 1 oz silver issue, but has a unique colour design on the reverse, quite different from the others. This isn’t being sold as a full-on numismatic, but rather as a niche coloured bullion coin, complete with a 4,000 mintage and slabbed packaging. All coins in the range are issued for Niue, but eschew the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II for the national coat-of-arms. A nice change, and the border of Pacman and ghosts is a great touch. Available now, you pick these up from APMEX, or from select dealers worldwide, like LPM in Hong Kong, for example.



Pac-Man is a maze arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1980. The original Japanese title of Puck Man was changed to Pac-Man for international releases as a preventative measure against defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an F. Outside Japan, the game was published by Midway Games as part of its licensing agreement with Namco America. The player controls Pac-Man, who must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts. Eating large flashing dots called “energizers” causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for bonus points.

The development of the game began in early 1979, directed by Toru Iwatani with a nine-man team. Iwatani wanted to create a game that could appeal to women as well as men, because most video games of the time had themes of war or sports. Although the inspiration for the Pac-Man character was, reportedly, the image of a pizza with a slice removed, Iwatani has said he also rounded out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi. The in-game characters were made to be cute and colorful to appeal to younger players. The original Japanese title of Puckman was derived from the titular character’s hockey-puck shape.

Pac-Man was a widespread critical and commercial success, and it has an enduring commercial and cultural legacy. The game is considered important and influential, and it is commonly listed as one of the greatest video games of all time. The success of the game led to several sequels, merchandise, and two television series, as well as a hit single by Buckner and Garcia.

The Pac-Man video game franchise remains one of the highest-grossing and best-selling game series of all time, generating more than $14 billion in revenue (as of 2016) and $43 million in sales combined. The character of Pac-Man is the mascot and flagship icon of Bandai Namco Entertainment and has the highest brand awareness of any video game character in North America.(Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue) $2 NZD (Niue) $250 NZD (Niue) $2 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 39.0 mm 39.0 mm 32.0 mm 39.0 mm
MODIFICATIONS None Colour None None
MINTAGE 25,000 4,000 400 400
BOX / C.O.A. No / No Slab Yes / Yes Yes / Yes

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