World Exclusive: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

5 October 2012

Award-winning actor Ian McKellen has officially given his seal of approval to stamps and coins being produced by New Zealand Post to celebrate the eagerly anticipated movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).

New Zealand Post is collaborating with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Pictures, and the filmmakers to produce official stamps and legal tender commemorative coins for all three films.  

New Zealand Post has today unveiled its designs for the world’s only legal tender coins linked to the first movie in Sir Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films based on The Hobbit, and for a set of stamps based on the movie.

Ian McKellen - who reprises his role as Gandalf in the new film after having embodied the character in Jackson’s Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – says the coins and stamps capture the essence of his iconic character.

“To put Gandalf on these splendiferous coins is a wizard idea,” Ian said from London, England this week.

Ian McKellen is also impressed by the specially designed stamps, noting: “The pointy hat, the beard and the illuminated staff – the $1.90 NZ stamp is pure Gandalf.”  

Exclusive arrangement

“We’re the only country in the world with the rights to produce these highly collectable coins, featuring iconic characters from what is sure to become a classic series of films,” New Zealand Post’s spokesman for stamps and coins Simon Allison said today.

The coins - which are legal tender - will go on sale from 1 November 2012, alongside a set of six stamps celebrating the film.

“The items announced today are appropriate mementoes of the film, and fit in with the mythology of Middle-earth – New Zealand.”

“We’re committed to honouring the legacy of Sir Peter’s films, by creating stamps and coins of the highest quality,” Simon Allison says.

For more information about these exciting collectables visit:

Selected products will be available from 1 November at PostShops, REAL Aotearoa stores, and online at or by phoning 0800 782 677.

Note: New Zealand Post is authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the only official issuer of legal tender New Zealand commemorative coins.


Media contact:   Michael Tull     (04)  496-4566

About The Hobbit Trilogy:
A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first of three films from filmmaker Peter Jackson, the Academy Awardwinning director of “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, who shot the films concurrently on locations across New Zealand.  The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro.  Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution  being handled by MGM.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released on 14 December 2012, with the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” releasing 13 December 2013, and the third film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” slated for 18 July 2014.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  All rights reserved.  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the names of the characters, items,events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey coins:

These world exclusive coins will come in a variety of styles and finishes to cater for different levels of collector.

Brilliant uncirculated coins: ($1 face value)

This coin - priced at $29.90 and gold in colour – depicts a pivotal scene from early in the first film – when Bilbo Baggins, in the presence of Thorin Oakenfield, signs the contract which will lead him on his adventures. The coin comes in a collectable folder featuring images from the film.

A set of three brilliant uncirculated coins – gold in colour – will also be available.  One shows Gandalf the Grey alongside fellow wizard Radagast.  The second features Thorin Oakenshield wielding his sword Orcrist. And the third depicts three of the dwarves who accompany Bilbo on his journey.  The $85 set of three coins comes in a collectable folder.

Silver coin with gold plating ($1 face value)

Just one coin will be available in this finish, and fittingly it shows the hero of this trilogy – Bilbo Baggins – setting out from Bag End on his epic quest.

Gold plating around the edge of this coin, which will retail for $149, includes the words “Middle-earth New Zealand” inscribed in both English and Dwarvish.  Each coin comes in a collector’s case, with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

Silver coin set ($1 face value)

This highly collectable set features six 1oz silver proof coins, each depicting an iconic character from the film – Bilbo Baggins, Gollum, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, Elrond and Radagast.

With a worldwide run of just 1,000 sets, these silver coins are expected to sell quickly to fans, investors and collectors worldwide.

Retailing for $889, each set comes with a certificate of authenticity in an engraved wooden box featuring the official The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey logo and a silhouette of the travelling party.

Premium Gold coins ($10 face value)

Collectors at the top end of the market will have two tempting options.

A single coin, minted from 1oz of 0.9999 gold and depicting Bilbo Baggins, will be available for $3,695.  Only 1,000 will be available worldwide, each in an engraved wooden case and with a certificate of authenticity.

For the truly discerning collector, a set of three 1oz 0.9999 gold coins will be the ultimate prize – with just 250 sets worldwide.  These coins depict Bilbo Baggins (a different design to the single gold coin), Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield.  Each set will retail for $10,995, and comes in an engraved wooden case which is lockable and includes a drawer for the certificate of authenticity.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stamps:

New Zealand Post will also be producing a set of six stamps featuring iconic images of some of the most beloved characters from the eagerly anticipated film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The stamps show Bilbo Baggins (70c), Gollum ($1.40), Gandalf ($1.90), Thorin Oakenshield ($2.10), Radagast ($2.40), and Elrond ($2.90).

Each design will be available as gummed stamps, and also in a number of products as selfadhesive stamps   First day covers, miniature sheets, and miniature sheet first day covers will also be available.

Given the huge worldwide interest in these movies, New Zealand Post has also developed a number of additional collectable options for these very special stamps – including a presentation pack (retailing for $29.90 but containing collectables to the value of $37.50), and an Ultimate Collection book of  collectables which will retail at $385.