The 2016 Niue Silver $2 Star Wars Princess Leia coin will forever hold significance to fans of the Star Wars films in which actress Carrie Fisher starred as Princess Leia. Fisher, who was best known for her iconic Star Wars roles, died on December 27, 2016 – the same year this officially licensed, limited-edition silver coin was released. The New Zealand silver commemorative coin, anchored by an obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, features a touching reverse scene in which Princess Leia bends toward her endearing robot friend R2D2 (“Artoo-Detoo”) and secretly divulges plans to destroy the evil Death Star spaceship.
The classic scene is from Star Wars: A New Hope, which American filmmaker George Lucas released in 1977. It was the first film of a famous trilogy of movies released between 1977 and 1983 under the Star Wars name that became one of the most popular and culturally significant fantasy film franchises of all time. Fisher starred in the three original Star Wars films, which in addition to Star Wars: A New Hope, also includes Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983). She would later star in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and will be seen posthumously in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is slated for release on December 15, 2017.
Fisher’s role as Princess Leia was important for many reasons. The fictional female heroine, critical to the plot and action in the Star Wars story, rose to prominence in pop culture during the late 1970s and early 1980s in part because at that time women were still cementing their place in the social realm beyond “traditional” roles. Princess Leia, as portrayed by Carrie Fisher, was a dynamic, multi-dimensional figure embodying epic superhero virtues that transcend sex or gender without losing touch with classic feminine identity as long portrayed in film.
In such, the likeness of Princess Leia as first introduced to society in the 1970s remains a fashion icon – perhaps most widely recognized by her “cinnamon bun” hairstyle popularized in the first Star Wars film from 1977. Princess Leia’s contributions to fashion didn’t stop with the bun hairstyle. In 1983, a 27-year-old Fisher stirred the silver screen when she appeared in her “metal” bikini costume for the Return of the Jedi.
Princess Leia’s appearance on the 2016 Niue $2 Star Wars silver coin is accompanied by other issues in the same Star Wars commemorative series released by the New Zealand Mint. Other New Zealand Mint Star Wars coins feature designs with other characters from the movie, including Darth Vader, Hans Solo, and Yoda.
The coin’s obverse boasts a cameo frosted finish. In the center is Ian Rank-Broadley’s (View Designer’s Profile) effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Rank-Broadley’s initials IRB are located just beneath the bust truncation. Wrapping around the rim, starting at the 7 o’clock position is the inscription: ELIZABETH II, NIUE, TWO DOLLARS. Centered at the bottom of the design is the date: 2016.
The reverse of the 2016 Niue $2 silver Princess Leia coin shows the heroine, portrayed by Carrie Fisher, as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). She is wearing a white gown made famous in the movie, along with her bun hairstyle, which resembles a large bun wrapped upon the side of her head over each ear.
In the reverse design, Princess Leia is seen from her right in a direct side-profile view as she tenderly bends forward to address her robot sidekick R2D2. Princess Leia kindly gazes toward the “face” of R2D2 while revealing plans on attacking the moon-sized destroyer space ship known as the Death Star, helmed by the evil Darth Vader.
On the coin, R2D2 squarely faces Princess Leia, reverently bowing a few degrees forward (leftward) to acknowledge the presence of the Jedi princess. In small-point serifed font on the left side of the reverse, along the rim, is inscribed 1 oz 999 Fine Silver © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
The edge of the 2016 Star Wars Princess Leia Organa silver coin is reeded.
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