Iconic British coins that celebrate literature

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Iconic British coins that celebrate literature

Last updated on – Jan 11, 2021, 08:00 ISTShare
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01/10Coins commemorating British literature

Unsurprisingly, most classic English authors emerged from Britain. The country is well aware of this fact and celebrates it in many ways, from making museums or awarding blue plaques to author’s houses to hosting many book awards to honour a particular writer’s style.

They also honour legendary writers or iconic characters in their currency, The Royal Mint has often designed coins with such intention, which are loved by coin collectors and literature lovers alike. Here are some:

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02/10​Winnie the Pooh

The honey obsessed bear was a beloved bedtime storybook for several generations. The stories were originally written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard in the 1920ies and since then have had many adaptations. The coins feature several of the iconic characters from the series.

Photo: Royal Mint

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03/10​Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott is considered as one of the most influential Scots. Inspired by the poetry and folklore of his homeland, his writings beautifully capture the spirit of Scotland. He also coined several popular phases such as ‘caught red-handed’, ‘cold shoulder’, and ‘tongue in cheek’. To commemorate his 250th birth anniversary in 2021, this coin was minted.

Photo: Royal Mint

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04/10​Paddington Bear

For a nation that hasn’t had bears since the middle ages, Britain has quite a few iconic ones, though according to his story he came from Peru. Paddington Bear from author Michael Bond’s books(illustrarted by Peggy Fortnum) first appeared at Paddington Station and was found and then adopted by the Brown family. The coin features him in the coat and hat he was found wearing. The one in the picture above shows him as he visited St Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo: Royal Mint

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05/10​James Bond

Though better known by the movie franchise now, James Bond was a popular spy on page far before he was on the silver screen. The iconic character was created by Ian Fleming who was a naval intelligence officer and a journalist. After Fleming’s death the series was continued by several authors, most recently by Anthony Horowitz who published ‘Forever and a Day’ in 2018.

There are several coins in gold and silver and the one pictured above features the Aston Martin DB5.

Photo: Royal Mint

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06/10​Agatha Christie

On the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first novel by Dame Agatha Christie- ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, the Royal Mint released an incredibly thoughtfully designed coin.

They explained the design saying, “Adorned with all the hallmarks of her novels, this beautiful coin features everything you would expect from an Agatha Christie story – including her favoured method of poisoning – all served on a bed of jigsaw pieces which are symbolic of the ingenious plot twists we’ve come to expect from a typical Christie narrative.”

Photo: Royal Mint

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07/10​Sherlock Holmes

The iconic detective changed the genre of mystery with his entry into the literary world. Invented by Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, the character has been a fan favourite for years. The coin was released on the 160th birth anniversary of the author and designed by Stephen Raw, who explained, “In my design for the coin I have listed the most popular of those adventures but by necessity have kept the words very small. I hope it will encourage the ‘inner detective’ in those who are intrigued by the coin. Naturally, the only way to solve ‘the mystery of the text’ is by using that essential piece of equipment always carried by the intrepid sleuth: a magnifying glass.”

Photo: Royal Mint

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08/10​Peter Rabbit

This sweet bunny makes for quite a cute collection of coins. There has been a whole series of them starting from 2016, when the first coin was released in honour of the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth. Since then there has been a new one every year.

Beatrix Potter is known to have created the naughty character, who’s always up to mischief in Mr. McGregor’s garden.

Photo: Royal Mint

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09/10​H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells was one of the fathers of the science fiction genre. His work was so far sighted, he actually predicted several inventions before it was scientifically viable to make them. His books have had several adaptations and are much loved even today. To honour his contribution to literature, this coin was designed to honour his popular stories, ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘The War of the Worlds’. However fans were quick to point out that the iconic TRIpod had four legs and the hat wasn’t as described either.

Photo: Royal Mint

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10/10​William Wordsworth

A British poet who helped usher in the age of Romantic poetry, Wordsworth is known and loved world over.The coin was released on the 250th anniversary of his birth.

The words on the coin are from ‘Lines Written a few miles above Tintern Abbey’ by Wordsworth worked “into a design that also shows the type of landscape that inspired Wordsworth’s singular vision and poetic expression.”

It was designed by David Lawrence who explained, “The inspiration for the design is Scafell Pike in the Lake District, England’s highest peak, which is shown on the coin rising above a tranquil lake.”

Photo: Royal Mint

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