The most expensive, made from one ounce (28.3 grams) of pure gold, costs more than 350 times its face value. It will set Tolkien enthusiasts back NZ$3,695 (£1890) but has a face value of just NZ$10 (£5). The cheapest is available for almost 30 times its face value - a NZ$1 (£0.50) coin retailing for NZ$29.90 (£15). The coins go on sale from November 1 and New Zealand Post said it expected strong international interest in the build up to the premiere of the first of the three Hobbit movies in Wellington on November 28.So what does Gandalf himself think about this new career development? Here's Sir Ian McKellan's typically delightful response to New Zealand's TVNZ:
"To put Gandalf on these splendiferous coins is a wizard idea," McKellen said from London.No word yet on what the grave-spinning corpse of J.R.R. Tolkien makes of all of this. Still, a Bilbo coin. Neato!
He said he is also impressed by the specially designed stamps saying: "The pointy hat, the beard and the illuminated staff - the $1.90 NZ stamp is pure Gandalf."