Star Wars Money Is Accepted As Legal Tender In One Country

Niue, a tiny island a thousand miles from New Zealand, prints collectible coins worth 2 NZ dollars featuring pop culture characters, all because of the success of their Star Wars coins.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Currency in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Mashable India shared an amazing fact that sounds bizarre but is true: there is a country that accepts Star Wars collectible coins as legal tender. The tiny South Pacific island of Niue, located over a thousand miles northeast of New Zealand, is 101 square miles with a population of only 1,600. Legal tender, printed in New Zealand, has Queen Elizabeth on one side and Star Wars legends on the other, including Chewbacca, Rey, and Jabba the Hutt.

While Niue has been self-governing since 1974, the country still recognizes the Governor-General of New Zealand (the head of the English monarchy) as the highest executive figure in the country’s government. That explains why the royal family is on one side of the coin, but why Star Wars on the other? It turns out it was for marketing purposes over a decade ago.

The Daily Mail reported on the printing of the coins back in 2011, noting that while the limited-edition coins have a legal value of 2 NZ dollars, each is worth far more than that because of the precious metals used in their creation. Queen Elizabeth is plain and dull on one side, while the other features full-color Star Wars characters. Due to the process used in their creation, the coins have a 3D embossed effect, and while yes, they can be used to buy a pint at the local pub, the real value is what they are worth to collectors.

Only minted for three years, from 2011 to 2014, 50,000 were created of each design, 10 in total. It’s unknown how many are still in circulation today, but those aren’t the rarest Niue Star Wars coins, as at the same time, an even more limited run of 7,500 coins was produced with the Millenium Falcon and Darth Vader. Though the priciest coins were limited, the New Zealand Mint has produced other Star Wars currencies that can still be purchased today.

star wars movies
Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia, both available on legal tender

A series of silver notes technically worth only one NZ dollar was produced with the stars of The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker. Featuring Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, BB-8, or Leia and Han, the notes were sold in a collector’s case for $49.95. Even more astonishing is that the New Zealand Mint is selling Star Wars: The Bad Batch coins, which, again, are legal tender worth 2 NZ dollars, featuring Hunter and Wrecker.

When an entire country could fit inside one of Florida’s Top Ten Greatest Swamp Cities, Jacksonville, boosting the local economy by churning out legal tender with popular characters on them makes sense. Niue didn’t stop at Star Wars; you can buy official coins with Captain America, Batman, Jon Snow, Harry Potter, and Bumblebee.

Getting to Niue to spend $100 worth of material on a 2 NZ dollar can of soda is incredibly difficult. Only one airline flies, twice a week, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Niue International Airport, which is only “international” in the loosest sense of the word. Come to Niue for the fantastic beaches, amazing sailing, and surprisingly popular rugby team, and leave with the strangest legal tender you can find on the planet.

This is the way.

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