Aimed at that all-important fanboy/coin-collector market, New Zealand will issue Hobbit inspired legal tender costing exponentially more than its face value. Of course it's also incredibly cool.
A set of three gold coins — depicting Gandalf, Bilbo and Thorin Oakenshield — sells for $10,995 NZ ($8,798 Cdn), but each coin will bear a face value of just $10. The rim of each coin is inscribed in both English and Dwarvish with the words "Middle-earth — New Zealand."
The cheapest coins in the series have a $1 face value, but will retail for $29.90 NZ ($23.93 Cdn) each. In addition to an image of Bilbo shown reading his contract to become a burglar, other $1 coins depict Oakenshield, Gandalf and Radagast together and three of the 13 dwarves in scenes from the film.
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Set for release Nov. 1, the coins will be available internationally and are part of a publicity campaign aimed at rebranding New Zealand as "100 percent Middle Earth."
The first of three planned Hobbit films, based on Tolkien original novel, will debut Nov. 28 in Wellington. The New Zealand capital is changing its name to "The Middle of Middle Earth" for the occasion.