It's nothing as radical as Gandalf Dollars or Bilbo Bucks or Gollum Wheat Pennies, but yes, money emblazoned with actors Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman's mugs will soon be legal tender in New Zealand.
On November 1, the New Zealand Post will release a series of commemorative coins and stamps bearing the faces of sundry Tolkien characters.But don't expect to stumble upon these coins in circulation — the price tag alone should inspire Smaug-like hoarding among collectors. As AFP notes:
The most expensive, made from one ounce (28.3 grams) of pure gold, will set Tolkien enthusiasts back NZ$3,695 ($3,020) but has a face value of just NZ$10, while the cheapest is a NZ$1 coin retailing for NZ$29.90.
McKellen — apparently regressing into his persona from Extras — offered what is perhaps the most delightfully oddball press quote in recent memory (via TVNZ): "To put Gandalf on these splendiferous coins is a wizard idea [...] The pointy hat, the beard and the illuminated staff — the $1.90 NZ stamp is pure Gandalf."