An elusive British book character has finally made his way out of the forest and onto a UK 50p coin, making his debut appearance especially for collectors!
After months of anticipation, The Royal Mint has now released the brand new Gruffalo® 50p in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Julia Donaldson’s classic children’s Tale.
The Gruffalo has sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide and is adored by children and families across the globe, who I’m sure will now be delighted to see this character (terrible tusks and all) immortalised on a UK 50p coin for the very first time.
The reverse design by Magic Light Pictures beautifully captures the mysterious and unusual beast, described in Donaldson’s book as having ‘two large, curved horns at the top of his head’ and ‘an enormous, poisonous wart on the end of his wet nose.’
Since the release of the first Beatrix Potter 50p coins in 2016 – a collecting sensation, appealing to not just dedicated collectors, but the wider public and fans of the children’s stories too – classic book and film characters have been a real favourite theme for 50p coins.
The release of The Snowman 50p last Christmas created a flurry of excitement as collectors and lovers of the story rushed to add this coin to their collection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the latest fictional character to take to our UK coinage becomes the next must-have coin.
The Gruffalo® 50p is available in Brilliant Uncirculated and Silver Proof quality, with the silver coin featuring colour printing to really bring the orange eyed monster to life. Just 25,000 colour printed silver coins are available and after the sell-out success of the silver Snowman 50p, collectors looking to secure this coin will want to act quick!
From publication of The Gruffalo in 1999 to the film adaptation, to the west-end theatre production and now to the 50p coin, the adoration for this endearing character amongst children and adults alike makes the 20th anniversary of the Gruffalo a wonderful occasion to celebrate.
Own the coin in superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality
This is the first time the Gruffalo has featured on official UK coinage and serious collectors will want to guarantee themselves one for their collection.
A Stephen Hawking 50p has just been announced and this new coin for 2019 is set to be out of this world!
The latest Royal Proclamation has revealed that a brand new 50p coin will be issued by The Royal Mint this year, celebrating the life of one of the world’s most acclaimed physicists and ambassadors for science – Stephen Hawking.
The 50p design will feature a stylized depiction of a black hole with the inscription “STEPHEN HAWKING” and the entropy equation.
As a great innovator in his field and one of the most famous British scientists of modern times, it seems a fitting tribute that a new coin should be issued featuring Stephen Hawking.
His breakthrough ideas on the workings of the universe can be seen as a significant contribution to humanity, making the complexities of physics relatable for the everyday person.
Interestingly, Stephen Hawking could become one of only three people in British history to be commemorated on a coin within a year of their death, alongside Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother.
Although all the details have not been released yet and the actual design is still top secret, it seems likely that the Stephen Hawking 50p coin will be hugely popular with the British public.
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First Trust Bank, one of four main banks in Northern Ireland, will become the first Northern Ireland-based bank to end the practice of printing its own-denomination banknotes. The bank revealed it will scrap its own banknotes next year and switch to dispensing Bank of England notes from its ATM network.
Although the UK has a vast variety of different notes in circulation, The Bank of England is the only bank to issue notes for England and Wales, while there are seven different banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland that currently produce their own notes.
The decision is thought to be an economic issue and means that all existing First Trust banknotes will not be able to be used for payments from midnight on 30th June 2022. They can however be exchanged for Bank of England banknotes, or other sterling banknotes of equivalent value at Post Offices up until 30th June 2024.
Why do Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own banknotes?
The UK has a vast variety of different notes in circulation and although those of us living in England and Wales don’t see many, there are three different banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland that currently produce their own notes.
In fact the tradition of printing banknotes was considered the norm centuries ago as most of the UK’s banks produced their own banknotes. However over time they weren’t all doing it responsibly and were not able to back the notes up with actual assets. The law changed in the 1840’s in England and Wales so all production of banknotes was moved to The Bank of England bar Scotland who argued for an exception as they were not having the same issues. The Bank Notes Act of 1928 allowed banks in Northern Ireland to produce their own notes.
For people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the banknotes are part of the furniture and a part of their cultural identity that usually feature local landmarks and historical figures. These issuing banks have also considered the notes as part of their marketing as customers are seeing the name of their banks in their hands as they spend cash.
Can you spend Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes in England?
Yes. The notes are legal currency and backed with physical assets with the Bank of England so can technically be accepted anywhere in the UK. However, the problems come as shops are not always overly familiar with all the different types of notes and may not be sure on how to check them for counterfeiting so don’t like to accept them.
Is this the beginning of the end for Northern Irish and Scottish banknotes?
The decision is scrap the printing of banknotes at First Trust Bank is thought to be an economic issue and comes as other Northern Ireland banks prepare for the change over to modern Polymer notes in the very near future. The update is needed in order to produce counterfeit resilient notes to protect against forgery and ensure the security of circulating notes. But this costly change could be too much for First Trust handle.
There are also a lot fewer of these notes changing hands and with the increasing use of digital payment methods and mobile technology, it could be the reasoning behind the decision to scrap the notes.
The other three Northern Irish banks are currently in various stages of issuing their own polymer £5, £10 and £20 notes and it is clear that Scotland are completely committed to keeping their own notes as Clydesdale Bank was the first bank in the UK to issue a Polymer note back in 2015.