Authorities in New Zealand are doing everything they possibly can to cash-in on the publicity the region's about to get thanks to providing the backdrop to Peter Jackson's latest Tolkien production, going so far as minting a range of gold and silver coins starring characters from the series.

The coins are officially considered legal tender in New Zealand, but if you spent approximately £5,600 on three solid gold $10 coins, you'd be a bit of a nutcase to then take then to the shop to buy some sweets and a newspaper.

If over £5k is too much for $30 worth of local currency, there's also a $1 Hobbit coin you can have for $149. It's certainly a novel way of solving the financial crisis. Maybe we should start selling fivers with line drawings of Victoria Pendleton on them for £2,000? [NZ Post via The Register]