It’s that time of the year again, when the Royal Mint shows off its core range of commemorative coins, those based on circulating currency, and it’s another varied selection of formats and subjects. All of them are being overshadowed by one thing, however, so let us get the elephant in the room out of the way. Here at AgAuNEWS, we focus on numismatics from an art, design, and technology standpoint. The financial aspects are too quickly changing, as the precious metals used for their construction are subject to the whims of the commodoties market. So, when a coin fails on such a basic level as the HG Wells one has this year, it irks us greatly.
HG Wells is an absolute giant of the literary world and his works are universally well known. Chief amongst them is the seminal War of the Worlds, the invasion of Earth by hordes of Martian tripods. You know tripods, don’t you? Those three-legged things (clue’s in the name). I saw this coin on Sunday and it took about two seconds to see the error. A four-legged tripod. Now Chris Costello is a talented artist and his work on last years Maytflower coin from the Royal Mint was a real standout, but how did this not get noticed?
Costello drew the art, of course, and we can’t expect every artist to know every detail, but how was this not spotted through the multi layers of review before this coin went to die stage? Frustratingly, it’s actual a really nice piece and a terrific homage to HG Wells, but the four-legged tripod is a killer. For a mint so enmeshed in British literature, history and science, it’s a flaw that should never have occured.
The other four designs are okay, but nothing really screams artistic merit to me. The John Logie Baird design is neat enough, but the others are pretty generic. A shame that the HG Wells coin will get a mass of attention for the wrong reasons as it remains a fundamentally attractive piece, but the error raises questions on the design review process at the Royal Mint.