Star Wars coins not a purchasing force

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 16:05 10/08/2011

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Niue's Star Wars coins

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Niue residents will soon be able to feel the power of Star Wars currency - but there's a dark side.

The coins are legal tender, but come at a collector's price which would see a $2 ice cream cost $100.

The Star Wars saga has influenced books, toys, kitchen appliances, video games, cupcakes and even a mail box - and now an entire coin set is being made in its name.

The New Zealand Mint has been chosen to produce the legal tender coin set, which depicts colour images of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and other characters from the pop phenomenon.

Collectors from all over the world will be able to purchase the coins - but only people living in Niue will be able to use them as legal tender.

New Zealand Mint Vice President of USA Operations Chris Kirkness said the coins represented $2 but really had a value of about $117 and the silver alone was worth $45-55.

The first two sets of four coins each have gone on sale but wouldn't be ready until November.

The set will retail at $469.

Kirkness said people in Niue could use them as legal tender but they wouldn't want to.

"You wouldn't want to go and spend them because they're only worth $2 but the value is much more than that - no one is going to go buy an ice cream with them."

He said they were non-circulating legal tender.

"Traditionally who would buy these would be coin collectors but this product opens up the market as a gift product and enthusiasts of Star Wars," he said. "You know Star Wars if you're seven or 70."

Kirkness said some of the coins, like the Darth Vader one would come with special effects. When you open up the Darth Vader coin box you will hear a loud breathing sound, Kirkness said. The Millennium Falcon box would provide a sound of a jet taking off, when opened.

Only 7500 copies of each coin would be made and the first two sets would be released at the American Numismatics Association Show in Chicago next week - but wouldn't be shipped out to consumers until November.

Each coin has 1oz of silver.

 

The coins also had the image of Queen Elizabeth II on them.

Kirkness said the Niue effigy was well accepted in the market and New Zealand Mint had used it on coins many times in the past and that is why it chose to use it for the Star Wars set.

He said the Niue government would be paid a set fee as a royalty payment but wouldn't specify how much the set fee was.

The first Star Wars film was released in 1977 and was followed by two sequels and three prequels.

It became a world-wide sensation, developed a cult following and influenced a massive merchandise venture which depicted Star Wars characters on hundreds of different household items.

Kirkness said the saga would be released on Blu-ray in September and in 3D in February. Another set of coins would be launched at the same time as the 3D films.

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