Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek TV series, which first aired on September 8, 1966, turns 50 this year, and the Royal Canadian Mint is celebrating with the issuance of a series of coins commemorating characters and scenes from the beloved show.
Roddenberry himself, if he were alive, would likely be none too pleased with the tribute, given that he personally abhorred money and forbade it from playing a role in the Star Trek universe.
As one of the show’s producers said to an aspiring screenwriter, “He believed that by the 23rd century, mankind would have evolved past the need for money.”
Not only is the line of Star Trek commemorative coins legal tender, but they also feature, as required by the laws governing Canadian currency, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on their flip side, who obviously will still be the functioning English monarch in the 23rd century.
Despite Rodenberry’s apparently sincere belief that humanity would eventually come to regard money the same way doctors would look back at using leeches to cure disease, he wasn’t allergic to making a little bank off his creation, spinning off 12 motion pictures, with a new one in development, several other TV series and lots of books and other merchandise carrying the Star Trek franchise seal of approval.
The Royal Canadian Mint coins feature images of four of the Original Series’ iconic characters: Kirk, Spock, Uhura and Scotty, available for $10.
William Shatner, whose alma mater is Montreal’s McGill University where a building has been named in his honour, and James Doohan are both Canadians.
There’s even a stamp depicting the Klingon character Kor, played by Toronto actor John Colicos.
A silver coin featuring an image of the USS Enterprise costs $20.
A pure gold delta-shaped coin decorated with the Starfleet insignia and minted to a quantity of only 1,500, retails for $1,299.95, even though its value as legal tender is only $200, and is already sold out according to the Mint’s online shop.
The strangest and most unique offering arrives in the form of a series of coins depicting images from popular scenes from beloved episodes, which will be staggered in their issuance over the coming months, including City on the Edge of Forever, in which Captain Kirk falls for an Earthling portrayed by Joan Collins whom he is forced to watch die, in accordance with the Prime Directive, to be published in August, along with Mirror, Mirror in September, and slightly amusing The Trouble with Tribbles in October.
Not to be outdone, Canada Post has also issued a series of commemorative stamps, depicting Kirk, Spock and irascible Dr. McCoy, all available in a booklet.
As William Shatner says in the Royal Mint ad for the coins, you had better act fast if you want these coins “because they’re selling at warp speed.”
Rodenberry, obviously, would be furious.