Topical Topics column from the October edition of Coin World monthly:
In recent years it seems like virtually every movie or television
series that features superheroes or other iconic characters has been
the subject of a commemorative coin or series issued by a world mint.
But some of the subjects of these coins stand out from others and
are of interest to more than just die-hard fans.
That is certainly the case with the original
Star Trek series
that began 50 years ago on Sept. 8, 1966, on NBC.
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That series, the creation of Gene Roddenberry, ran for only three
seasons, ending on June 3, 1969, but it was followed by an animated
version and numerous feature films and successor television series
that have given the Star Trek franchise a significant place in popular
culture and inspired legions of fans known as Trekkies.
Perhaps more importantly, the fictional 23rd century adventures of
Star Trek also promoted interest in the U.S. space program
and the study of astronomy and cosmology.
And that is undoubtedly related to the fact that the first
television series ended just before the U.S. changed the course of
history with the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Star Trek coins of Perth Mint, Royal Canadian Mint
Two major world mints, the Perth Mint in Australia and the Royal
Canadian Mint, secured licensing rights to issue Star Trek coins from
CBS, which now owns the rights to the original series. Both mints have
issued a considerable number of well-designed and expertly minted
coins on the
Star Trek theme.
Capitalizing on several Canadian connections to the original
Trek series, such as the fact that two actors, William Shatner,
who played Capt. James T. Kirk, commander of the USS Enterprise
(NCC-1701), and chief engineer Scotty, played by James Doohan, were
both born in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a series of 11 silver and gold coins in
May on the 50th anniversary of the first series.
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Several of those coins depict the well-known Enterprise spaceship
(arguably the most famous and recognizable science fiction spacecraft
of all time), while others honor legendary episodes and the main
characters of the series, which also included Spock and Lt. Uhura. The
gold coin is in the shape of the delta shield that was worn by crew members.
In 2015 the Perth Mint launched an extensive series of colored
silver coins that focused not just on
the original series but also on each of the successor television series. For
each series there is a coin for the respective captain and spaceship.
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It is noteworthy that the most popular coins are those that depict
Kirk, Spock, and the original Enterprise.
Latest Perth Mint coins
Those coins were followed in 2016 by a series of silver and gold
coins specifically for the golden anniversary of the original series.
In July a set of two, colored, 1-ounce silver coins was issued,
including one with an artistically compelling color portrait of actors
Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in their roles as Capt. Kirk and Spock. They
are shown holding a communicator and a tricorder, classic Star Trek
gadgets, against a backdrop of stars, planets, and 23rd century space
craft technology. The second coin shows the Enterprise flying through
space at warp speed.
While the coin with Kirk and Spock, having a 5,000-coin mintage, was
also sold individually, the set was limited to 1,500 units and is the
only way to obtain the colorized Enterprise coin. The sets, which sold
out quickly, were sold in the transporter-shaped package that was also
used for the two-coin sets issued in 2015.
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Then there is a 1-ounce silver bullion coin sold in capsules, like
all Perth Mint bullion, that also shows the Enterprise and has a
mintage of 50,000 coins. A total of 1,701 (the ship number for the
Enterprise) of those coins were reserved for sale in Australia and
sold in a special presentation card, so only 48,299 coins are
available outside Australia. They are sold at bullion-related prices,
and the carded coins also generate Australian tax revenue.
By law a portion of all Australian coins must be reserved for sale
within that country.
Perth’s Makeila Ellis, who handles press inquiries for the mint,
Coin World: “The Star Trek bullion coin was
introduced to trial a licensed bullion coin. At this point in time it
is not the first in a new series but is part of our overall range of
50th anniversary products. 30,000 of the coins were sold in the first
She also noted that the two-coin colored set was “produced
specifically for the First Commemorative Mint of the USA,” which
received “half of the mintage of both products.” As a result, North
American buyers were not able to purchase those coins directly from
Perth and were directed to U.S.-based distributors for Perth coins.
Perth also released three high-relief coins that depict the
Enterprise, including 1- and 5-ounce silver coins and a 1-ounce gold
piece. The respective mintages are 6,000, 800, and 400, and each coin
features the 50th anniversary logo.
Another exclusive issue
Ellis also said those coins are exclusive to GovMint in the United
States (and also sold by Modern Coin Mart, which is owned by the same
company, Asset Marketing Services). Both companies sold both ungraded
and graded versions of these coins, including some that feature labels
signed by Shatner.
With a mintage of just 800 coins, and some of them reserved for sale
within Australia, not many of the 5-ounce coins are available.
Perth is perhaps the leading world mint when it comes to producing
coins in high-relief, and these coins certainly meet the exacting
standards of craftsmanship for which the mint has a well-deserved reputation.
In September, Perth issued another silver coin,
this one in the shape of the delta shield, that
carries a mintage limit of 5,000 coins and features the 50th
anniversary-delta shield logo. It comes housed in an acrylic display case.
Science fiction and astronomy are undoubtedly topics that appeal to
many coin enthusiasts, as previous Coin World articles have suggested,
but over the long term, the success of the
Star Trek coins will
be shaped by how much crossover appeal exists between coin collectors
and Star Trek fans. VIDEO