The latest release in the New Zealand Mint's ongoing Disney Classics series of collector's coins has now been released and is a special four coin set called The Jungle Book - 50th Anniversary Coin Collection.
As the title might indicate, the set celebrates the 50th anniversary of Disney's classic animated film The Jungle Book – which was first released on October 18th, 1967. Since this is a special anniversary collection, the New Zealand Mint is choosing not to release the four coins in the set individually as they would normally do. Instead the coins are only available as a single proof set.
The Jungle Book was the 19th animated feature film released by Disney and would be the last film to be produced by Walt Disney himself. Songwriter Robert B. Sherman, who worked on The Jungle Book, has called the movie “Walt’s parting gift to the world”. The film was released to both critical and commercial success and is, to this day, one of the most beloved of the Disney films by young and old alike.
The movie is inspired by Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name and tells the story of a young boy called Mowgli, who was raised by wolves in the Indian Jungle. The boy is forced to leave the only home he has ever known when a fearsome tiger called Shere Khan makes it clear that he is no longer welcome in the Jungle. Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern-mentor Bagheera and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who do not exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python, and the smooth-talking King Louie.
The four silver coins feature key scenes from the movie that are depicted with selective engraving and a partial colour finish on the reverse of each coin. The first coin depicts Mowgli sharing a scene with the villainous tiger Shere Khan, set against a backdrop of engraved reeds.
The second coin sees Mowgli playing in the water with the even tempered bear, Baloo. Blossoms are engraved overhead, with the rest of the reverse design being colourized. Baloo is best remembered for singing the “Bare Necessities” song.
The next coin on features the rowdy and smooth talking King Louie, the orangutan who was crowned as king of the apes. The two characters are sitting on an ancient stone throne while sharing bananas. The stone throne is expertly engraved to replicate the one from the film, while the background, King Louie and Mowgli are finished in colour.
Then finally we see the black panther Bagheera and young Mowgli fast asleep on a tree branch. Bagheera is seen in his typical protector and friend role with his tail wrapped around the boy's waist to keep him from falling whilst they sleep.
The only text that appears on the reverse of any of these coins is the typical “1 oz 999 Fine Silver © Disney”, engraved discreetly around the coin's rim. The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, encircled by the usual obligatory enscriptions. “ ELIZABETH II”, “NIUE”, “TWO DOLLARS” and “2017” describe the ruler, county of issue, denomination and date of issue respectively.
The four coin set is housed in a wonderfully embossed book style display case. The finely detailed pattern on the cover resembles an antique leather bound book, inspired by images from the original movie. The four coins are encapsulated and nestled inside the velvet lined housing. The certificate of authenticity provides additional information about the film.
All four coins contain 1 Troy ounce of pure .999 Fineness silver, in a 40mm(1.5748 inch) proof coin. The set has a maximum mintage of 10 000 pieces and is available to order directly from the New Zealand Mint website for US$250.00 per set. Given that the New Zealand Mint usually sell their licenced 1oz silver coins for around $85 each, the $250 pricetag for four coins works out quite a bit cheaper than it would normally do.
The packaging on this set is exquisitely finished and for fans of the Jungle Book movie I'm certain that this would make a very compelling set to own.