December 2021 marked 20 years since the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A fantasy story of epic proportions, the film invited a new generation into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved mid-century novels. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand, whose unique landscapes provided a bounty of spectacular scenery. One of modern cinema's greatest achievements, the film earned 13 Academy Award nominations and grossed US$897.7 million worldwide, putting New Zealand on the map as a beautiful place to visit and a brilliant location for film making.
This set of coins features the three primary villains of The Fellowship of the Ring. Saruman, who has shifted loyalty to the Dark Lord Sauron and imprisons Gandalf, is depicted in front of his tower Orthanc communicating with Sauron. Lurtz is an Uruk-hai, a monster sent by Saruman to capture Frodo and bring the One Ring to him. Finally, the third coin features the Eye of Sauron, the manifestation of Sauron’s spirit that watches over the evil lands of Mordor. On the obverse of each 0.999 silver coin, New Zealand is acknowledged as the home of Middle-earth with the fictional land’s name.