back to article New Zealand issues Hobbit money

New Zealand has issued coins, all legal tender, marked with ElvenDwarven runes and bearing images of scenes and characters from the new Hobbit film trilogy. The coins are of course collectibles, but New Zealand Post describes them as “legal tender commemorative coins.” That means you could plonk them down on a Kiwi bar and …


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  1. jake Silver badge


    One hopes the fanbois world-wide will increase the Kiwi's coffers.

    But what a waste of money, overall.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A new munt coin

    From the NZ Munt.

    1. nichobe

      Re: A new munt coin

      Ewe cud buy a lut uf chups for theet kind of dosh bro!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A new munt coin

        Typo Corrected -- 'brew' not 'bro'

  3. Khaptain Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Too many brit expats

    The Kiwis I knew would never have wasted precious bar time by producing shit like this. This must be a vestige of the colonial occupiers.

    Paris : She would never lose her way for a bit of coin.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Too many brit expats

      Did you know many Maoris?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Norse runes pictured are actually Dwarven in the Tolkien universe, not Elven ( which looks a lot more like Aramaic )

  5. PT

    Calligraphically Challenged

    Those are Dwarvish runes, not Elvish. Appropriate really, since "The Hobbit" is all about Dwarfs and hardly any Elves.

    I'm curious how Jackson made three movies out of that skinny book. I couldn't make it last six hours if I had to copy it out by hand.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      Maybe they pulled in stuff from other books?

    2. Grikath

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      The average hollywood script fits on three pages average, so getting the Hobbit to a trilogy isn't that hard, really.

      1. Code Monkey

        Re: Calligraphically Challenged

        3 films is a lot of Thorin sitting down, singing about gold.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      "I'm curious how Jackson made three movies out of that skinny book. I couldn't make it last six hours if I had to copy it out by hand."

      Try again while somebody is waving 500 million dollars under your nose.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      "I'm curious how Jackson made three movies out of that skinny book. I couldn't make it last six hours if I had to copy it out by hand."

      As soon as I heard about the Hobbit movie I had a sinking feeling. There is very little in The Hobbit, a book I hold in high regard, that caters to the sensibilities of todays movie goers. I am going to be interested to see how Gandalf engaging the trolls in confusing discourse until the light of day makes them turn to stone is interpreted by Jackson and his CGI department.

    5. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      The assault on Dol Guldur by the White Council is going to be included too; it was referred to in the books, but will be detailed in the film.

      (They'll probably do it more dramatically than Elrond, Galadriel, and some wizards walking in the gate while Sauron buggers off down an escape tunnel - think Arwen: Warrior Princess™ decapitating orcs and trolls all over the place.)

      Won't stop me seeing it though, somewhat annoyingly.

    6. Fuzz

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      "I'm curious how Jackson made three movies out of that skinny book. I couldn't make it last six hours if I had to copy it out by hand."

      I'm guessing a lot of walking

    7. Colin Miller

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      The Cirth was invented by the Elves, and later expropriated by the Dwarfs. The Elves then used Tengwar.

    8. NogginTheNog

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      I'm actually quite made that the bugger managed to take a wonderful childrens' book, and turn it into a no-doubt 'epic' trilogy! Filled with unfeasibly CGI hordes and monster dragon armies and probably Sauron making a walk-on cameo, and fuck knows what else?!

      So can't help you with the HOW, but the WHY? Money of course, oodles and oodles of lovely cash that these are going to bring in, with the films, and the DVDs, and the toys, and...

    9. Ian Bush

      Re: Calligraphically Challenged

      It's quite simple - the 2nd film is entirely about escaping from the goblin's dungeon


  6. Graham Triggs

    I've nothing against special coins being made, or whether they are legal tender or not.

    But charging anything above their face value - and especially *that* much above their face value - is utterly insane.

    I can understand that they may not be cheap to make, and that they are a limited supply that you would want to charge a premium for. But I don't see why they couldn't have simply been given a higher face value that reflects how much they are priced at.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      So just ignore that they're legal tender then you fool.

    2. Tom 13

      @Graham Triggs: That's probably be because you don't collect coins.

      At today's spot price for gold, more than half the cost of the 3 proofs is in the bullion value of the coins. They'll need a fair chunk of overhang to allow for the increasing value of that. Then there's the premium for the proof. They issued them as legal tender because that makes the collectable as official currency instead of as medallions (for whatever reason this tends to make them worth more as collectibles). Typically the size of the coin is set by the size of the officially circulating piece, regardless of the bullion value of the coin, as is the case with US "silver proof" coinage. The sizes for the coins are usually the result of the last date at which coins were actually minted from gold or silver. I think if they changed the face value of the coin they get into other problems because nobody issues legal tender made from precious metals anymore.

      If I had the money, I'd probably buy a set for myself. If I really, really had the money, I'd buy sets for my friends too. But I don't have the money. Might get one of the peasant priced pieces though.

      1. Great Bu

        Re: @Graham Triggs: That's probably be because you don't collect coins.

        "nobody issues legal tender made from precious metals anymore."

        Some low denomination coins are still worth more in scrap metal value than the face value of the coin itself - that's why many countries make it illegal to melt down currency and why many are trying to reduce the number of low denominations they mint at all or what they make them out of (especially copper pennies - UK ones changed to alloys of steel in the 90's)

        Of course, silver dollars and gold coins went that way decades ago.

        (US coins for example: )

  7. WillbeIT

    ye gads

    For crying out loud reg. Please don't waste a brass razoo on that pisswater. (queue beer troll hits). Better you order a fine IPA from one of the hundred or so craft breweries. Big feet welcome. No tui.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: ye gads

      Or Steinlager, it's undrinkable.

      1. GrantB

        Re: ye gads

        I don't drink a lot of beer these days, (you can get a reasonable bottle of wine for the cost of a beer at a pub), but can't really complain about Steinlager Pure. Mass market sure, but... It's beer so can't be all that bad

    2. John Hawkins

      Re: ye gads

      Guess the water they use for brewing is cleaner these days. Many decades ago we visited the local Tui brewery on a school trip and I noted that the river was pretty manky looking (must have been all that dairy effluent going into it) - I expect that gave the beer a bit of body. Though even at that time my Dad reckoned that Tui was a lot waterier than it had been.

  8. Piloti


    Tui is owned by DB Breweries, an NZ Brewer.

    Which is in turn owned by Asia Pacific Breweries.

    Which is [currently] a JV between Fraser and Neave and Heineken.

    Sad how global brewing works these days.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Sadder still (was: Re: Tui......)

      It's all skunked. I don't care what anybody says, methyl mercaptan is NOT a pleasant component of beer.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Sadder still (was: Tui......)

        That's the stench agent in LPG!

      2. A. Coatsworth

        Re: Sadder still (was: Tui......)

        So that's why skunky beer is skunky... I had always thought it was just a baseless perception, never knew the chemistry behind it.

        And that's why I love El Reg's forums... you always learn something new!

        (non-skunky) cheers!

  9. Geoff Campbell

    And remember, children...

    ...philately will get you nowhere.


    1. Robert Ramsay

      Re: And remember, children...

      Are they doing stamps as well?

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: And remember, children...

        Nah. Philatelists were mentioned in the article, though, so I figured, what the hell?


    2. P. Lee

      Re: And remember, children...

      Philately put my cousin through college. Don't knock it.

  10. h4rm0ny

    They've done this before.

    When the Lord of the Rings movies came out, they did one with Gandalf on it. Ian McKellan joked that it was the first time there'd ever been a coin with a queen on both sides

    He's a funny one.

    1. WillbeIT

      Re: They've done this before.

      but it did...not...pass!

  11. Colin Miller


    In Cirth the text is an unpronounceable mess, but in Old Norse runes, it is "middle earth - new ?ealand" - the Z rune is upsides down.

    1. badmonkey

      Re: Cirth!=Norse

      I did a look-up on the Wikipedia article (yes I was that bored)

      The transliteration into Latin from the "Cirth" or Dwarvish runes gives something like:

      Njindndtō ōdbps - Lhōp Njōdtdlnd

      Did somebody really screw up this badly on something that's supposed to be a priceless collectable?

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Cirth!=Norse

        > I did a look-up on the Wikipedia article (yes I was that bored)

        You were Bored of the Rings?

    2. Steve Graham

      Re: Cirth!=Norse

      Ah, so that's why I was able to read it. I was thinking "I'm surprised Tolkien just copied real runes".

  12. Alex Gollner

    Typographic inconsistency!

    Pity that the n dashes used for the English text are designed to be used for lower-case text. The runes have properly positioned dashes.

    1. badmonkey

      Re: Typographic inconsistency!

      Yes. Poor attention to detail it looks like, unless this graphic was a rough draft...

  13. Alan Brown Silver badge


    "yeah right"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you still use this method to import gold and avoid certain 'taxes'?

    A remember some time ago when silver (or it may have been gold) coins that were legal tender were issued somewhere in europe. As they were legal tender the import value was their face value when crossing the borders, and not their silver worth - which helped get round a nice import loop hole. Can you do that with these? Is it still possible to buy 10 x $10 coins and claim you are only importing goods worth $100 (even though it is thousands of dollar worth of gold)?

    Curious is all.

  15. Kernel

    "That means you could plonk them down on a Kiwi bar and demand a nice cold Tui* in return. You'd be mad to do so, however, as the coins sell for well above their face value."

    If you're daft enough to order a Tui then you'd probably be daft enough to buy these coins - most beers produced by NZ's two big brewing companies are flavourless crap, probably because the use of hops and malt in their makeup has been cut to the absolute minimum.

  16. Michael Dunn


    Interesting that tui is a Thai word for "spit." Gives me a pleasant chuckle here in Crete every time I see one of their planes land.

  17. John Lewis


    Give me a Stanley Green from the Invercargill Brewery any day.

  18. MVS

    Occupy Mordor

    Because one ring should not be allowed to rule them all

  19. Felix Krull

    That's great!

    So can I ask my boss to get paid in Hobbit money and only pay tax on the nominal value?

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