The currency of Niue Island in the Pacific Ocean has coins featuring Disney and Star Wars characters. The peculiar island state is located south of Samoa and east of Tonga. Its land mass is approximately 101 square miles and it has a population of about 1,600. The island is a self-governing country in free association with New Zealand. Although it is not a member of the United Nations, it is a full member of other UN specialized agencies like the UNESCO and WHO. The island has unitary parliamentary and constitutional monarchy consisting of 14 municipalities or villages. Niue began issuing currency in coins in 1966. However, the coins are in bullion and non-circulating base metal commemorative that are only considered legal tender within the nation. The Niue dollars are minted by the New Zealand Mint and are produced in 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, and $2 denominations. All the Niue coins strictly depict the national crest of an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on one side. The nation however mostly uses the New Zealand dollar as the official currency.
History of the Currency
The issue of currency with Disney characters begun when officials of the island decided to introduce Pokemon on the face of coins in 2001. It is believed that the idea was meant to market the small island nation. Since then, a number of fictional characters have featured on the currency including Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Goofy. In 2011, the star wars motion picture series was released with authorization from Lucasfilm Ltd. Some of the characters on the coin series included Doctor Who and the Godfather.
Value of Niue Disney Coins
The nominal face value of the coins differs significantly from their actual value because they are made of precious metals. A coin having a nominal face value of only 2 Niue dollars can retail for over US$625. The difference in value is due to the metal composition of the coins, for example, the most expensive set of the coins features a quarter ounce of gold. Demand for the currency by coin-collectors from across the globe has also been a critical contributor to the rise in the value of the coins. The demand for the coins was recently exhibited when an online sale of one thousand silver Donald Duck coins was sold out in less than seven minutes.
Gains From the Currency Issue
So far, the tiny island has gained immensely by creating global awareness about its presence on the world map which in turn has boosted the nation’s booming tourism sector. The country is also expected to earn more than US$4.5 million in royalty over the next ten years for every coin sold.
Future of the Currency
The nation has recently released the Code of the Future coin series. The coin series is meant to become a symbol of the future, new technologies, and ideas. The coins are $2 in nominal value and are highly detailed, featuring UV and Fluorescent painting. Future releases of the Disney series are expected to showcase characters such as Cinderella, Donald Duck, Ariel, Pluto, and Pocahontas.