Today marks the start of National Storytelling Week, which is celebrated in February each year. It’s a great chance for people to share their own stories and listen to the stories told by others.
As part of the celebrations, we’ve taken a look at some UK coins that celebrate some of the very best storytellers.
One of the greatest storytellers and playwrights of all time, William Shakespeare, shot to fame during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre.
He wrote 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets and a variety of other pieces!
In 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary since his death, The Royal Mint issued a three-coin series, each taking inspiration from a theme of Shakespeare’s plays.
This coin’s design was inspired by Shakespeare’s history plays, with an edge inscription that reads: “The Hollow Crown”, from his play “Richard II”.
Beatrix Potter’s enchanting tales of countryside characters, including Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle skyrocketed her to stardom. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 and it instantly became a best-seller!
And it was in 2016 that Peter Rabbit escaped from Mr. McGregor’s Garden and made his first debut on United Kingdom coinage.
Issued to celebrate 150 years since the birth of renowned Children’s author, Beatrix Potter, this 50p changed coin collecting forever.
This series of coins continued into 2017, 2018 and 2019. Fifteen Beatrix Potter coins have now been issued since 2016, each featuring one of Potter’s delightful characters, from Flopsy Bunny to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.
The title of the rarest of the Beatrix Potter 50p actually belongs to two coins! The 2018 Peter Rabbit and 2018 Flopsy Bunny both have a mintage of just 1.4 million!
A list of great story tellers wouldn’t be complete without Charles Dickens!
Dickens’ 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 to this day.
The reverse design of this £2 coin by Matthew Dent features Dickens’ recognizable profile crafted from the titles of his most famous works.
This coin had a circulating mintage of 8,190,000 and is one of my personal favourites!
Agatha Christie’s first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 and it kick-started the nation’s love of her detective novels and murder mysteries.
In 2020, to mark 100 years since her first publication, The Royal Mint celebrated the world’s best-selling novelist with this £2 coin.
David Lawrence’s design of this coin pays homage to Christie’s crime novels, with a piece of a jigsaw slotting into place and her signature at the bottom.
The coin also features the edge inscription ‘100 years of mystery 1920’-2020’ to mark this very special anniversary.
Sherlock Holmes 50p
In 2019, to mark 160 years since the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Royal Mint issued this 50p coin.
The prolific writer is best known for his incredibly popular detective stories featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes™. It is said his works revolutionized the crime genre, and despite Doyle sharing an ambivalent relationship with his famous character, Holmes’ popularity resulted in Doyle becoming one of the best-paid authors of the time.
The reverse has been designed by Stephen Raw and features a silhouette of Sherlock smoking a pipe, surrounded by a few of his most-famous story titles.
Are there any other great storytellers you think should be celebrated on our UK coins? Comment below!
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With 37 different £2 coin designs in circulation, it’s very tough to choose a favourite, but one of mine is certainly the Great Fire of London £2, issued in 2016 to mark the 350th anniversary of one of the most well-known disasters to hit London.
The reverse of the coin, designed by Aaron West, depicts the city of London burning in flames from a distance and makes for an eye catching design which I’m sure many collectors love just as much as I do.
But are you lucky enough to have one of these coins in your collection?
Whilst this coin was previously considered ‘Less Common’ (as rated on our Scarcity Index), it has now been confirmed that the mintage figure for the Great Fire of London £2 was mistakenly listed and the coin is in fact rarer than we once thought…
To reflect the change to the Great Fire of London £2 coin’s mintage figure, we’ve updated our mintage charts to show you how rare this coin actually is compared to the other £2’s in circulation.
The Great Fire of London has actually jumped up 15 places on the mintage chart now that the correct figure of 1,625,000 has been confirmed.
The previous figure of 5,135,000 placed the coin in the middle of the pack, just slightly rarer than the Gunpowder Plot £2, however it can now be found amongst the London Underground £2 coins, nearer the top of the mintage chart.
These changes are also evident on our latest Scarcity Index update.
Whilst the coin has only moved up the index by 4 coin places, this is the biggest movement on the £2 index and the coin’s Scarcity Index score has actually jumped up from 18 to 34 – almost doubling from the previous index!
Historically, the Great Fire of London £2 has always scored in the mid to high teens, but the updated mintage figures now reflect the fact that the coin is in fact harder than previously believed to find in your change.
Have any other coins been affected?
It wasn’t just the Great Fire of London £2 coin which was affected by the updated mintage figures… There were in fact 4 coins from 2016 with previously incorrect figures.
The changes haven’t made much of an impact to either of these coin’s rankings for the Scarcity Index, with both coins actually moving down 1 place on the index pictured above.
With regards to our mintage figure charts, the two coins have simply swapped positions, as can be seen below.
With regards to 50p coins, the only coin affected was the 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p.
This relatively small increase has had no effect on the coin’s ranking on the Scarcity Index or position on the mintage figure chart, which can be seen below.
Whilst the changes to the mintage figures for the Shakespeare £2s and Peter Rabbit 50p have made minimal impact, it’s fair to say that with almost 4 million less Great Fire of London £2 coins in circulation than previously thought, the scarcity of this coin has definitely increased, making it even more special for those of you lucky enough to have one in your collection.
Add the Great Fire of London circulation £2 to your collection!
Following the updated mintage figures, I’m sure collectors will be keen to make sure this coin is added to their collection.