New Zealand is looking to combat its struggling economy by cashing in on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. The country, which was ground zero for the filming of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and Jackson’s upcoming prequel series, will create a series of coins commemorating Middle-earth and its rich cast of characters.
CBS Moneywatch points out that the release of the new legal tender coins will coincide with the debut of the first entry in The Hobbit trilogy, due in theaters this December. The goal of the campaign is to rebrand the country as “100% Middle-earth.”
Jackson’s films were a boon to the nation's tourism industry (second largest industry in the country), and New Zealand hopes to once again capitalize on another adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy novels.
While the new coins are legal tender in the country, they’re being aimed primarily at collectors. CBS points out that the retail cost of the coins will be more than their face value, with the most expensive going for roughly $3,000. Sounds like Gollum might have a few new Preciouses when things are all said and done. If that price is too rich for your blood, there will be entry level coins in the $25 range.
The new currency (featuring Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and other characters) aren’t the first time New Zealand has released commemorative coins based on films – there’s also been a set based on George Lucas’ Star Wars as well.