The Royal Mint celebrates 40 years of the perennial hit childrens picture book, The Snowman

First published back in 1978, Raymond Briggs’ children’s word-less picture book, The Snowman, debuted to critical acclaim. Telling the story of a young boy that builds a snowman which then comes to life, it was adapted to an Oscar-nominated animated short film in 1982. Much loved, especially in its British homeland, The Snowman has become a staple of the Christmas tv schedule and the book continues to sell. A sequel called the Snowman and the Snowdog was published on the 30th anniversary of the original.

After the tremendous success of their Beatrix Potter and Paddington coin ranges, we’re sure nobody is surprised that the Royal Mint has looked elsewhere for similar literary and popular culture subjects for another issue. The Snowman is comparitively limited in range compared to the Betrix Potter series, and comprises just a single design available in three formats. The basic brilliant-uncirculated base metal coin is not something we cover here, so its down to a single silver and a single gold coin to carry the flag.

These are fifty-pence denominated, so are standard seven-sided coins. The gold coin weighs in at ½oz and is struck in 22kt gold (0.9167 fineness). The silver coin needs only 8.0 grams of metal to achieve the same diameter, but distinguishes itself with a full colour application, the first time the Royal Mint has used colour so extensively. The design itself is about as classic a Snowman image as you could expect. The pair soaring through the sky over Brighton Pier completely encapsulates the story in both book and animated forms. The obverse is the usual Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The coins look well presented, both coming with a booklet packed full of information and images. They come in a themed outer shipper, but the coin box itself differs. The gold coin comes in the classic Royal Mint gloss wood box. These are always quality items, but the silver coin uses the superior acrylic block to make coin display very easy. The gold coin has already sold out at its 400 mintage at the mint – quite the feat given the price. The 15,000 mintage siler coin sells for £60 and appears to be selling equally briskly as it has also sold out. No doubt the ebay speculators will be out in force, so be careful what you pay as a premium.


The Royal Mint, together with Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House) has today announced that it will be releasing a series of special coins featuring Raymond Briggs’ iconic creation The Snowman, to celebrate 40 years since the publication of the timeless classic.

In a nod to the beautiful hand-drawn illustrations of the original book, the silver proof edition of The Snowman coin is the first UK coin to feature a design realised entirely in colour. Putting a new perspective on a classic scene from the book, The Snowman flies over Brighton Pier, with the bright city lights and twinkling stars captured in exquisite detail.

The task of creating a new design for the coin that lived up to the legacy of the source material fell to artist Natasha Ratcliffe, who has worked previously on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games 50p series. She was helped with this by long-time Raymond Briggs collaborator, Robin Shaw, Assistant Director of The Snowman™ and The Snowdog, the sequel to the original animated adaptation of the book.

Natasha Radcliffe said: “Growing up, I remember reading The Snowman and sitting down on Christmas Day to watch the animated version was something of a family tradition. When I was asked to create a design for this new series I was excited, but also nervous as I know the story means so much to people and the illustrations are a huge part of that.”

“I hope fans, old and new will appreciate the new design and enjoy unwrapping them as they watch or read The Snowman this year.”

Nicola Howell, Director of Consumer Coin at The Royal Mint commented: “We are thrilled to be a part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Raymond Briggs’ book The Snowman.

“Over the past few years, the Beatrix Potter and Paddington collections have been incredibly popular with our collectors and we believe this stunning flying scene depicting The Snowman and James captured on a commemorative 50 pence coin will be equally well treasured by children and adults alike.”

Thomas Merrington, Creative Director at Penguin Ventures said: “It was a key ambition for us to work with The Royal Mint once again for The Snowman’s 40th anniversary.   He appeals to such a wide audience from grandparents to children alike and these beautiful coins will make perfect keepsakes for every fan of The Snowman.”

DENOMINATION £0.50 United Kingdom £0.50 United Kingdom
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver 0.9167 gold
WEIGHT 8.0 grams 15.50 grams
DIMENSIONS 27.3 mm 27.3 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MINTAGE 15,000 400
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes