SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends have teamed up with Nickelodeon, PFG Precious Metals and New Zealand Mint to strike 100,00 pure silver coins, each featuring the likeness of one of the main Bikini Beach characters.

The coins, which are square rather than circular, come in $2 denominations and are legal tender of Niue Island, a Pacific Island with a population of about 1,400, all of whose residents are citizens of New Zealand, PFG Precious Metals, a division of PFGBEST, said Friday.

Each of the silver coins measures 35 mm across and features Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and, on the reverse, SpongeBob, Gary, Sandy Cheeks or Patrick Star. 

The coins are available for a limited time from PFG Precious Metals, which is having them struck in the United States as a set of four coins that costs $279.

Each set holds the four coins in a treasure chest, complete with a certificate of authenticity issued by the New Zealand Mint.

This coin collection is extremely exciting for us, said Chris Kirkness, vice president for USA Operations at New Zealand Mint. With SpongeBob having such a huge fan base, we believe the issue will be a global bestseller. To marry a premium bullion coin with a fun and exciting brand such as Nickelodeon is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for New Zealand Mint.

Peter Thomas, director of business development for PFG Precious Metals, agrees.

This partnership joins a beloved television character with a collectible currency that stands the test of time, Thomas notes. Coin enthusiasts the world over will be delighted with a precious metal asset in the form of a 4-coin set that features SpongeBob.

More information is available at www.newzealandmint.com/spongebob or www.spongebobcoins.com. Shipping is scheduled to begin by mid-December 2011.