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Counterfeit Chibi Coin

By Jay Turner - November 11, 2021

With the popularity of modern coins, mints from around the world constantly come up with new coins for customers hoping to develop a product that will be a winner. One such product line was offered by the New Zealand Mint under the country of issue of Niue. These coins were in the design of different Chibi characters. These coins first issued in 2020 started with the American superhero character Batman and have since exploded with over 55 different issues and counting.

The term Chibi is from Japan. Originally the term had a split meaning with it, either being a taunt like calling someone a “shrimp” or “pipsqueak” or used as a term of endearment, such as “small” or “cute.” The term and style of art started with Japanese manga and anime, with the series Sailor Moon being credited for as providing the basis for the term as is known today. In Sailor Moon names like Chibiusa, or little rabbit and Chibi Chibi, referring to a three-year-old character in the series, exist in the lexicon of that universe. The term has since become more synonymous with the words short and cute. The art style of Chibi is one in which characters are given small bodies with large heads, often with the head size being one third to one half the character’s height. The style also greatly enlarges the eyes and faces while diminishing clothing and bodily features, especially feet and shoes.

With the current popularity of this style of art and success of other Chibi collectible products like Funko Pops, it was only a matter of time before coins would follow. With licensing agreements, series such as DC Comics, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings have all had characters become Chibi coins. Like any other popular coin, it was only a matter of time before unscrupulous sorts followed the money and made counterfeits.

Counterfeit Niue 2021 $2 Chibi – The Child from The Mandalorian. Click image to enlarge.
Niue 2021 $2 Chibi – The Child from The Mandalorian PCGS PR70. Click image to enlarge.

A recent submission to PCGS of Chibi, The Mandalorian – The Child or Baby Yoda -- coin didn’t turn out well for the submitter when the piece turned out to be counterfeit. With visual inspection comparing an authentic example, the counterfeit becomes quite noticeable with the design being incorrect on both sides. On the Yoda side, the enamel is incorrect in color, texture, and gloss. On the Queen Elizabeth II side, the design of Queen Elizabeth II is wrong. There is no cameo contrast, as there is on authentic examples, and the lettering is different in style and size. This counterfeit is also missing the bottom line of text “© & TM Lucasfilm LTD,” a copyright the counterfeiter didn’t follow as well as missing the designers’ initials under the bust of Queen Elizabeth II. Lastly the counterfeit is not silver, which the authentic New Zealand Mint issues are.

A quick search on eBay shows at least 10 examples for sale and sold at the time of writing this piece. While the authentic coins can sell for up to $300 on eBay, the counterfeits are being offered as low as $30 with free shipping. Like the old saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” But with education, buying from reputable sources, and obtaining certified pieces you can avoid these traps.

Article provided by PCGS at
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