The Royal Mint always release a good selection of anniversary commemoratives every year. With a history as long and rich as Britain’s, the mint is spoilt for choice on subject matter and the 2016 range is a good case in point. Subjects as wide-ranging as the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and the Queen’s 90th birthday, all show the range on offer. The seven-sided fifty-pence coin for 2016 is themed around it being 150 years since the birth of celebrated childrens author Beatrix Potter.
Born in 1866, Beatrix Potter was an English author world reknowned for her series of childrens books starting with The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She wrote around 30 books over her life, the 24 children’s tales being those she is best known for. A broad selection of eclectic characters have endeared her works to generation after generation of readers, both young and old. Even today, over 2 million Tales of Beatrix Potter books are sold every year and this September, a previously unknown manuscript that was uncovered in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum last year will be published. Titled The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, the book will be illustrated by Quentin Blake.
The coin is the classic 50 pence in shape and size. Struck in 8g of sterling silver, it’s a very clean and simple design, the reverse carrying an inscription of the name of the character, as well as a picture on a clean background. What has surprised in light of the relative lack of ambition with the design is the huge popularity of it, a testament to the love for the authors work. This first coin, Peter Rabbit, sold out of its run of 15,000 coins in just 8 days, amazing given that at £55.00 for ¼oz of sterling silver, the value is hard to quantify. Packaging is first class, the mint using solid acrylic frames for the first time, an item popularised by the New Zealand Mint over the last few years.
Following on from this will be three more coins in the style of Peter Rabbit which you can see below, and which will be released roughly one a month from June. Each will be packaged as the Peter Rabbit coin, have the same mintage, and sell for the same price. A huge surprise hit, so congratulations to the mint for a perfectly targeted coin release. Peter Rabbit might have sold out, but the next three are on pre-order now.