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Star Wars’ Numismatic Legacy

Star Wars’ Numismatic Legacy
Category: Articles
Author Name: Louis Golino
Posted: 04-20-2018

Star Wars has a prominent role in modern numismatics and its characters can be found on many silver and gold coins in the collections of people all over the world. Read more about Star Wars coins from one of our experts! 

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Updated 1/7/2021

Star Wars is an iconic, modern American classic of cinema. It is also an extremely successful movie franchise created by filmmaker George Lucas about memorable characters in space, such as Luke Skywalker, R2D2, Yoda and others from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” that have been immortalized in a wide range of collector coins issued recently.

Because the original film was released in 1977, most of these coins were produced in 2017 to mark its 40th anniversary. 

Since the early days of the franchise, fans of the films have avidly sought fandom merchandise like books and video games about Star Wars, not to mention dressing up as characters from the movies for conventions or Halloween parties. 

Coins about Star Wars are another way for fans to relive and celebrate their favorite movies and characters from the series.

For those on a limited budget, there are Star Wars bullion coins such as the 2017 Niue Stormtrooper silver coin.

UHR series

The New Zealand Mint has been the issuer of most Star Wars collector coins, issued on behalf of the Pacific Island nation of Niue, that feature the Star War theme on their reverses and the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on their obverses.

Yoda in High Relief One major series consists of 2-oz. Ultra High-Relief silver Proof coins, which began with pieces issued in 2017 for Darth Vader (that show him wielding his red lightsaber, which is colorized)  and Han Solo (that shows him emerging from a frozen carbonite surface). Both of which are available both raw and graded by NGC.  Each of these coins has a limited mintage of 5,000 coins.

The recent and third release in this popular series is the 2018 Yoda UHR coin. It features an all-new design that captures the essence of this character, the legendary Jedi master who was small in size but wise and powerful, and who trained Jedi for over 800 years. Raw coins come in a Star Wars-branded case with a capsule and certificate of authenticity.

There is also the Star Wars Classic series also issued by the NZM for Niue, which are 1-ounce silver Proofs coins issued for the key characters from the original film, including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Yoda, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, R2D2, C-3PO and Obi Wan-Kenobi, including 1-oz. gold versions of some issues. Just released was a coin featuring the vile Jabba the Hut, notorious crime lord of Tatooine. 

Silver notes about Star Wars

Also issued by the NZM for Niue is a series of silver notes made from 5 grams of .999 fine silver with a mintage of 50,000 units.

There are so far three Stars Wars silver notes, which include ones for R2D2 and C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker, who are among the most beloved characters of the original 1977 Star Wars film.

The notes are colored and engraved with the character honored appearing on the reverse, while the obverse features the Ian-Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

And each note has a unique mintage number and is presented in a protective sleeve that includes details about the note’s authenticity.

Other Star Wars coins

Star Wars Star Destroyer Another series celebrates the 2016 Star Wars film, Rogue One, with two colorized 1-oz. silver Proofs limited to 10,000 coins each called “Empire” and “Rebellion” and the series of rectangular-shaped 1-oz., colorized silver Proof coins that depict the original movie posters for “The Empire Strikes Back,” the second film of the original Star Wars trilogy and one of the most popular and well-known films of the franchise, which are available in original packaging and graded Proof 69 by NGC.

“The Force Awakens,” a film in the series released in 1980, is celebrated with a six-coin series from the NZM of colorized silver Proof coins, of which MCM has three left.  Each piece is limited to 10,000 units.

A more recent movie from 2017, “The Last Jedi” is honored with a series of colorized 1-oz. silver Proof coins for Niue, which is a three-coin series with coins for Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Supreme Leader Snoke. These coins are still available from MCM and have a mintage of 10,000 each.

Ships series

Finally, there is a 2017 Niue series of 1-oz. colorized silver Proof coins that depict the spaceships from the Star Wars films that combine frosted, mirrored, and colorized surfaces. The series consisted of six coins, of which four are still in stock.  Each coin shows a white diagram of the spaceship against a blue surface similar to an architect’s blueprint for a house.

Whether you are a die-hard fan of all Star Wars movies, prefer the early ones, or love those released more recently, thanks to the New Zealand Mint and MCM there are coins you can purchase that will remind you of all those great adventures, characters, and spaceships that are an important part of movie and numismatic history. 

Chibi Star Wars Series

The New Zealand Mint recently introduced a Star Wars Chibi coin series that sees some of the most popular characters from the franchise represented in “Chibi” style. Chibi is a Japanese term that refers to something short, small, or often cute. Art work in this style often shows figures represented with stubby limbs and large heads. Some of the fan-favorites who have appeared on Chibi issues include Chewbacca, R2-D2, Boba Fett, and more!

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About The Author

Louis Golino Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst,” and in August 2021 the column received the NLG award for best column on modern U.S. coins. He has also received other awards for his writing. He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and and other publications. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.

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