The Black Panther movie was released in 2018 by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. It was the 18th superhero film to be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and was a tremendous success.
The premise of the movie was complex but intriguing: Thousands of years ago, five African tribes fought over the ownership of a meteorite that crashed in Africa. The meteorite contained a rare element – vibranium. This element when ingested, gave that person super-human powers. The warrior who tried it was able to unite four of the five tribes and he created the kingdom of Wakanda. Having vibranium allowed Wakanda to develop an advanced technological benefit, which it kept secret for centuries, by pretending to be a poor, disadvantaged nation and by keeping its technology invisible.
Early Black Panther Coins
Black Panther fans and Marvel coin collectors were able to collect and enjoy movie and superhero memorabilia and sovereign nation coins before the release of the original movie in 2018. In 2016, with the release of Captain America: Civil War, retailers developed sovereign nation coinage to honor these superheroes. The island of Fiji authorized a set of six coins of the stars of that movie: Captain America, Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Silver Falcon and Black Panther. There were five coins, one of which was a two-ounce coin with Captain America on one half and Iron Man on the other half. This coin could be split into two pieces, each containing a superhero and one troy ounce of Silver, for a total of Six Troy Ounces.
All of these coins were authorized by Fiji, contained one troy ounce of .999 Fine Silver, bore a $1 denomination, and the Coat of Arms of Fiji. The coins were struck as Brilliant Proof Coins and were colorized. The coins were shipped in individualized tins and all were included in a Captain America: Civil War metal lunchbox. There were two 23” x 33” movie posters also included with this set. The total mintage was only 3,000 of each coin, meaning that only 3,000 collectors worldwide could ever own a set of these coins. Today, the complete set is offered, when it is available, at well over $1,000.
“It was absolutely amazing how fast these coins and their special holders were being purchased. The popularity of this six-coin set, with the lunchbox holder, was incredible. In fact, we had the six-coin set, individual coins, and also NGC-graded coins and we couldn’t keep our limited stock of any of them on our website for very long,” said MC Garofalo, the Director of the eCommerce Experience at online retailing giant, APMEX.
2018 Movie Coins
In 2018, in conjunction with the release of the Black Panther movie, the Perth Mint, in Australia, struck its third Marvel superhero character coin – the Black Panther. This coin was struck in .9999 Fine Silver and produced in both Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof finishes. The Uncirculated coin was limited to a mintage of 50,000 coins while the Proof version had a limited mintage of 2,500 coins. The obverse of the coin has the fourth-generation effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, as done by Ian Rank-Broadley. It was authorized by the island nation of Tuvalu and carries a $1 denomination. The reverse depicts a portrait of the Black Panther, reaching his hand out toward the viewer. The Proof version differed from the Uncirculated version as it was colorized for dramatic effect and was housed in an acrylic holder inside a collector’s tin. These coins were difficult to obtain since the worldwide mintage was so limited and collector demand was so strong.
“The overall popularity of the Black Panther coins exceeded our wildest expectations. We ordered hundreds of those coins – in Uncirculated, Proof and some certified coins. All of them sold out very quickly and, unfortunately, we couldn’t replace them for the customers who wanted more. Black Panther coins were literally flying off our shelves,” commented MC Garo-falo. She noted that these 2018 coins featuring the Black Panther by himself sold on the APMEX website even more quickly than the 2016 Captain America: Civil War coins sold.
2021 Black Panther Coins
In 2021, another Black Panther coin became available. This time, the coin was unusual in its appearance and style. From the Fiji Islands came Two Troy Ounce coins that were in the shape of the Black Panther’s mask. The mask was depicted in a domed design for added realism. The mask was made of .999 Fine Silver and had an antiqued type of finish. There was, yet again, another limited mintage of only 5,000 of these unusual coins.
The obverse depicted the Coat of Arms of Fiji, along with the year of issue, weight, fineness and carried a $5 face value. These coins were housed in a black-lacquer display case made specifically for this coin. This unusual but attractive coin is again difficult to locate. This was the third “mask coin” in the series coming after 2019’s dual release of Spider-Man and Ironman masks.
“These mask-shaped coins were outstanding sellers. We purchased several hundred of these mask-shaped coins and they didn’t fail to impress us. These mask-shaped sovereign coins, with the image of the Black Panther on them, are fun and very cool collectibles. There are but a small handful of them left,” said MC Garofalo.
Marvel Mini Hero
The final existing coin that honors the Black Panther Marvel superhero is the Marvel Mini Hero #3 for the Black Panther. This coin is in the shape of a miniature version of the Black Panther character. This is an actual coin for the Fiji Islands for 2021. It has a $2 denomination and is made of .999 Fine Silver. It is a colorized Proof coin with a tiny mintage of only 2,500 pieces. The reverse of the coin has a mirrored finish with the coat of arms of Fiji and the date, denomination, weight and fineness.
Box Office Success
In 2016, actor Chadwick Boseman made his first acting appearance as the Black Panther character in the movie Captain America: Civil War. His performance in that film cemented his future role as the Black Panther. And audiences loved his portrayal of their superhero.
The Black Panther movie was a watershed event because it was the first Marvel Studios picture to feature a black director and a predominantly black cast of characters. More importantly, it demonstrated that a movie such as this, would not only satisfy the wants and needs of a minority audience, but it would also be extremely popular with all audiences.
Box Office Success By the Numbers
How successful was the Black Panther movie? The American Film Institute named Black Panther as one of the Top 10 Films of 2018 as it grossed over $1.3 billion in revenue worldwide. It shattered many box office records and became the 9th highest grossing film of all time. It received seven nominations for Academy Awards, including the very first time that a superhero picture was nominated for the Best Picture award. It won three Academy Awards, Two Screen Actors Guild Awards, Three Critics Choice Awards, Three Golden Globes Awards, and Eight Grammys. More importantly, it was a culturally significant film as it included a Wakandan language that was based on actual African language roots, and it strived to portray African culture, mores, and values as accurately as possible.
Social media was gaining an even stronger influence on society in 2018, and Black Panther became the most ‘tweeted’ movie of all time with more than 35 million tweets by March of 2018. The movie’s release in February of that year was changed numerous times to accommodate other MCU releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
MCU planned its sequel, Wakanda Forever, in which, Boseman would reprise his role as T’Challa, king of Wakanda. But in August of 2020, Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. This unexpected turn of events caught Marvel Studios executives off-guard. Wisely, they chose not to recast the role of T’Challa to another actor. Instead, this new movie explores the other characters that were already developed in the Black Panther and new characters.
In Wakanda Forever, the son of the king of Wakanda assumes the throne after the death of his father. But he is challenged by the leader of the dissenting tribe and they fight for control of Wakanda. The son wins the battle but that is only one of his numerous challenges. Pieces of vibranium appear on the black market and the new king attempts to reacquire them. And he is challenged again, this time by his cousin, for control of Wakanda. Intrigue, deceit, treachery, bravery, honesty, and courage are all the main elements of this Black Panther movie.
Black Panther Spoiler Alert
Additionally, there will be a war between Wakanda and another superpower – Atlantis, who will both fight over control of vibranium. The current rumor is that T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, may become the next Black Panther. Like all MCU movies, there will be plenty of action, plots, sub-plots, heroes, and villains – everything one would expect from Marvel. The new film is scheduled for release in the United States as part of Phase Four of the MCU, on November 11, 2022. It’s a safe bet to say that these movie characters will become the next heroes (and villains) to be placed on sovereign coins and other memorabilia items. The Marvel fans have loved the series and these coins, so there is no reason to believe this new version of the Black Panther will not be as popular as the last, if not even more popular.
This story about Black Panther coin collecting previously appeared in COINage magazine. Story by Mike Garofalo. To subscribe to COINage magazine click here.