Beatrix Potter, the Gruffalo, Paddington, and the Snowman are all classics of children’s literature and motion media that have enraptured people for decades. What they also have in common is appearing on a shiny piece of metal with the Queens head on the back. Each of these icons has been the subject of the Royal Mints attention, and the latest to join this elite group is easily our favourite – Wallace and Gromit.
The creation of Nick Park of Aardman Animations, the stories tell of the adventures of Wallace and his dog, Gromit through a series of four stop-motion animated short films and a single movie. How good are they? The first three shorts (A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995)) have 100% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, while the movie (The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, 2005) has garnered a 95% rating. That’s a remarkably consistent performance. Voiced by Peter Sallis, it has become a classic of Englishness that has captured millions of fans worldwide. Pretty good subject for a coin then…
The coin release is another of those 50p designs that have become the Royal Mints go-to format for this genre. Three metals on offer again. A 22kt gold 1/2oz piece occupies the high-end, a sterling silver 1/4oz with colour sits in the middle, and a base-metal version is for those that want the design on a budget(this one won’t be entering general circulation). A simple design, and one that works brilliantly, especially in gold form. It seems perfectly at home in cleanly struck form. Sadly, the silver coin is almost completely coloured. Normally not something we criticise as colour certainly has its fans, but this ultra-clean design just looks so good in bare metal form.
No changes on packaging, with the wooden box and acrylic frame back in employment for their respective variants. The BU version comes in a blistercard, although if you’d like to trundle down the Royal Mint Experience in Wales you can strike your own. Indeed, on 01 November, some Aardman model makers will be there showing people how to make their own model, which you can take home afterward.
A great subject and a cool design, this one has hit written all over it, and with online queues building up for lesser subjects that have exceeded 30,000 people for some past releases, we ‘re going to predict their website will take a battering tonight. We usually give the mint an earache over pricing (the gold version has risen to a hard to justify £830), but what’s the point? It should be up any time now (we’ve gone live right as the embargo lifted).