Britain’s literary heroes celebrated on coins…

The Royal Mint have released many commemorative coins in the past few years and one recurring theme is prominent literary figures.

Tonight is Burns Night, a night when many people around the world will remember one of the world’s most famous poets, Robert Burns.

So naturally, I thought this was a great opportunity to take a look back at some of the recent circulation coins that have celebrated some of Britain’s best loved literary heroes.

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796)

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as one of the great literary figures in British history.

Burns night is celebrated each year with a traditional Haggis supper on his birthday, 25th January, and is more widely observed in Scotland than the official national day, St Andrew’s Day.

The reverse design of this £2 coin features an extract from Auld Lang Syne, Burns’ most famous work.

Find out more about this coin here  >>

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

William Shakespeare is the most influential literary figure in British history and his works are an important part of Britain’s cultural heritage.

This coin is one of three that celebrate William Shakespeare’s life work and commemorates the 400th anniversary since his death. This coin takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s famous tragedies and features a skull and a rose and was designed by John Bergdahl.

The other two coins in the series celebrate Shakespeare’s most famous ‘Comedies’ and ‘Histories’, taking inspiration from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’  and ‘Macbeth’, respectively.

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Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)

Charles Darwin was a British scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world.

His book On the Origin of the Species was extremely controversial as it made it seem possible that humans evolved from apes, and contradicted the widely held Orthodox Church theory of creation at the time.

The reverse design by Suzie Zamit features a profile portrait of Darwin facing a chimpanzee and is a favourite amongst collectors.

Add this coin to your collection today >>

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)

Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classic English literature.

His enchanting stories, vivid characters and depiction of Victorian life are widely acknowledged across the world by critics and scholars alike and his novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.

The reverse design of this £2 coin by Matthew Dent features Dickens’ recognisable profile crafted from the titles of his most famous works.

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Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, The Royal Mint released this 50p to celebrate Beatrix herself.

Designed by Emma Noble, the coin includes elements that celebrate Beatrix as the artist behind some of the best-loved characters in children’s literature along with the nostalgic font used for the inscription.

Along with this 50p The Mint have also released a further 7 Beatrix Potter coins, featuring many of our favourite characters from her beloved stories, including Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck.

The popularity of both the 2016 and 2017 Beatrix Potter 50p series has been astounding and introduced many thousands more people to the world of change collecting.

Own the complete 2017 Beatrix Potter collection today >>

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

Jane Austen is one of the best-loved English novelists from the 19th century. Her novels were revolutionary and from her first novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, readers began a love affair with her fiction that has lasted two centuries.

Designed by Dominique Evans, a portrait of Jane Austen features on this £2 coin, released in 2017, to mark 200 years since her death.

Interestingly, with the introduction of both this coin and the new polymer £10 note, Jane Austen became the first person ever, aside from the reigning monarch, to feature on both a UK coin and UK banknote at the same time.

Secure this coin today >>

Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)

This £2 coin was issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s famous novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

Whilst on holiday in Geneva Mary Shelley and her poet friends, including Lord Byron and future Husband Percy Shelley, decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. Out of this Mary Shelley created Frankenstein, a story about a scientist’s scary act at playing God and creating life. It went on to become one of the best loved gothic novels.

The reverse of this gothic coin was designed by Thomas Doherty and features the words ‘Frankenstein’ in an electric gothic font

Register for updates about this coin’s availability >>


  1. John Redmond on January 26, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Hi what are the chances of odtaining the set of uncirculated £2 coins of the commonwealth games of 2002 do change checker have or can sort coins that are no longer minted thank you JOHN your information on coins is valuable to collectors keep up the good work

    • Luke Hearn on January 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Hi John, Obviously, as i’m sure you’re aware, the 2002 Commonwealth £2 coin series is rare due to the very low mintage figures. Unfortunately, as a result, we do not have any of the 2002 BU Commonwealth £2 coins in stock. I would suggest the best place for you to look next is eBay. In our experience it is an easy and secure place to buy and sell base metal coins. You may wish to search for recently sold BU Commonwealth £2 coins so that you have a good idea of what you can expect to be paying. I hope this helps and thanks for your kind comments – Luke

  2. Les Kent on January 26, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Well done to all at Change Checker
    all the work you do is very inforative
    and very helpfull for collectors, so
    please keep it going.

    • Luke Hearn on January 26, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Thank you Les! We aim to make all our blogs as informative and interesting as possible and I’m delighted to hear that you’re enjoying what we’re doing. Thanks Luke

  3. Barry Wilshaw on January 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Well done Luke a very good description of everybody and also information of the back of the coin’s

    • Luke Hearn on January 25, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks very much Barry, glad to hear you enjoyed reading the blog – Luke

  4. Janice on January 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Just checked my £2 Britannia coins found 4 2015 and 2 2016 great