The Royal Mint continues its dive into the literary world with its extensive fifty pence coin range with the addition of Winnie the Pooh. Coming at the same time the New Zealand Mint also has a four-coin series in progress, it does nothing to help us understand the intricate world of licencing media properties, but well, here we are.
We’re not going to go into the whole Winnie the Pooh backstory, or the inumerable other 50p coins from The Snowman to Peter Rabbit, via Paddington (the bear, not the train station…), so lets have a quicjk look at the coins themselves. This is to be a nine-coin series released at the rate of one trilogy per annum. Each one will depict a scene or character from the childrens favourite and all seem to continue with the charming artistic style that has served the mint so well over the last few years.
Two main formats pique our interest here. The eight-gram sterling (0.925) silver coins are selectively coloured – the mint long having accepted that mass public interest almost demands it, often to the dismay of collectors. We’re agnostic on them. It suits some, but not others, especially gold coins, which we rarely see colour looking good on. Fortunately, the other format is a 22kt (0.9167) gold one of half-ounce in weight, and these remain free of colouration.
Packaging on the latter is the mints traditional glossy wood box, while the silver coins employ the superb solid block frames we like so well. Both seem well tuned to their respective audiences. Just 525 of each gold design will be struck, and they’re selling very quickly. Royal Mint gold has become super popular over the last couple of years, with new releases regularly making national news sites. The silver is capped at 18,000 units each. A subscription is available, but the discount for signing up is somewhere between nothing and zero…
Available now, you’ll either want them badly because the subject appeals, or you’ll choke on your cornflakes when you see the £67.50 per coin price of the 8g silver coins. We confess to liking the decision to go with using the original watercolours of E.H. Shepard as a basis for them.