Six years ago, on a tiny island far, far away, coins adorned with images from a famous space opera were minted not only for shear enjoyment but also for legal tender.
First struck by the New Zealand Mint in 2011 — because everyone knows that Kiwis love their sci-fi — these coins are an official issue of the diminutive Polynesian island of Niue, are licensed by Lucas Entertainment, and are quite the spectacle.
Considering Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You) is upon us, it only makes sense to highlight a little-known galactic numismatic fact: Star Wars coins are, indeed, a thing, and if you so choose, you can buy goods with a golden wookie, or even a silver Skywalker — on Niue.
Here’s a look at a few pieces of cosmic coinage.
Star Wars Classic: Chewbacca 1 Oz Gold Coin
Rrrrrrrrarrrhhhhhh! Part of the original 2011 run of coins, this $250 piece features everybody’s favorite, furry warrior, brandishing his choice crossbow. These pieces are extremely limited, with a mintage of only 500 coins, and can be acquired for around $2,500.
Star Wars Ships: Millenium Falcon 1 Oz Silver Coin
Speaking of Chewbacca, his ship, manned by his dashing cohort, Han Solo, is also immortalized in coinage. The “Star Wars Ships” collection of the series features space crafts throughout the stories, and a notable ship depicted is the fan-favorite Millennium Falcon, issued in 2017. The mintage numbers were upped to 10,000 here, and these coins start at around $80.
Star Wars Classic: Darth Vader 1 Oz Gold Coin
Another issue from the original 2011 run — in fact, this coin started off the series — is the $200 gold piece, featuring Luke’s father, post-cybernetic upgrades and ominous, asthmatic breathing noises: Darth Vader. This release, also limited to 500 coins, was so popular, the New Zealand Mint notes the coins as sold out on their website.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Kylo Ren Silver Coin
Now it’s time to feature Vader’s grandson, and Star Wars’ latest villain, Kylo Ren. The Star Wars coin series depicts aspects of the newest Star Wars films, as well, and one that strikes both admiration and fear in coin collectors is this Kylo Ren $2 piece. With a mintage of 10,000, these coins start at around $80.
There are currently four parts of the Star Wars coin collection series from the New Zealand Mint: Star Wars: Classic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star War: Rogue One, and Star Wars: Ships. There’s no telling what coins will be released next, but here’s to hoping their equal parts Light and Dark Side, just for the sake of maintaining the balance, and all.