Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he writes a monthly column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2017, for  “Liberty Centennial Designs,” in Elemetal Direct, he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best article in a non-numismatic publication. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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Back to the Future Coins: Will They Continue to Sizzle or Fizzle?

On October 21 the Perth Mint ( www.perthmint.com.au ) released three coins to mark the 30 th anniversary of the 1985 film sensation, Back to the Future.   The date was of course not randomly selected as October 21, 2015 was the future date the film’s protagonists selected while using a souped-up DeLorean DMC-12 car with a time machine.

To mark this event three coins were released: a 1-ounce colored silver proof depicting the DeLorean that comes in a replica of the car, which with the touch of a button opens and lights up the hood of the car to reveal the coin inside; a 2-ounce colored silver proof made in the shape of the famous hover board – a skateboard with no wheels that hovers over the ground that made its appearance in the second film of the Back to the Future trilogy, which appears to hover inside the packaging using magnets; and a ¼-ounce gold proof coin that also depicts the famous car.

The car coin has a mintage of 7,500; the hover board coin is limited to 2,015 pieces; and the gold coin to 1,000.

The gold coin is still available, but the other two items sold out immediately at Perth’s retail web site when released and very quickly from authorized Perth distributors like Talisman Coins in St. Louis and the Coin Shoppe in Canada. 

On eBay the two silver coins continue to bring solid premiums over issue price.  The car coin was issued at $90 and has been selling for about $140 on average with some higher sales, while the hover board has done even better.  It was issued at $130 and has been bringing $200-250. 

A lot of astute buyers and dealers saw the potential for the coins to do well and bought extras, which helped drive the sell-outs and price increases.

So the question arises: will these well-designed and innovative “fandom” coins retain their secondary market premiums, or will interest in them decline as the novelty fades?

It is too early to say for sure, and it would be natural for there to be some tapering off of prices, but I suspect these coins will do fine long-term.

The mintages are rather low for coins with global demand that also have crossover appeal for fans of the films.

In recent years an ever-increasing number of coins based on popular movie and television characters have been released.  Some of those will clearly have greater staying power than others.

Back to the Future is not as significant a movie franchise as Star Trek or Star Wars, let alone James Bond, but it did have an impact on popular culture that is probably greater than many people realize, partly because it got so much right about how things would change in 30 years.  Plus it inspired legions of time travel movies. 

Besides, these coins are simply good fun, and that should never be underestimated.  

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