We’re not exactly coin collectors (the rate at which they liberate themselves from our pockets and purses attests to that), but we’ve definitely got a touch of the Veruca Salts about the newest 50p collection from Royal Mint.
After the success of last year’s range, four new Beatrix Potter designs have been released. And they’re in colour. And they’ve got a Tom Kitten one. And. We. Want. Them. Now. Ahem.
The coloured editions – designed by engraver Emma Noble and featuring Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Benjamin Bunny and Tom Kitten – cost £60 each and have a limited run of 30,000, while there’s a silver version for £10.
Interest in the coins is so high that the Royal Mint website has been forced to introduce a queuing system to access any part of it, which at time of writing had 25,000 people in line and counting.
The release of each will be staggered: Peter Rabbit is out now, while Jeremy Fisher is released in June, Tom Kitten in August and Benjamin Bunny in September.
Last summer, Royal Mint produced a set of five Beatrix Potter coins to mark the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth, including Jemima Puddleduck, Squirrel Nutkin and Mrs Tiggywinkle.
Anne Jessopp, of The Royal Mint, said: “While we always knew that the Beatrix Potter characters would be a huge hit, the enormous popularity of the 2016 set exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“The coins sold out almost instantly as people raced to collect a complete set of the four friends. We’re delighted to be able to present another group of her exquisite characters, giving them a new lease of life on our specially designed coloured commemorative coins.”
While there’s been a huge fuss this time round, with completed listings on eBay appearing to show coins already having sold for £150 to £200 each (many listed as ‘pre-orders’), the Beatrix Potter ranges are not the first coins Royal Mint has produced in colour; £5 coins with vibrant red poppy designs commemorating Remembrance Day have been released since 2012.
It is not yet known how many of the non-colour Potter versions will make it into general circulation, and Royal Mint has been unable to update us on whether the coloured coins have completely sold out. However the holding page for the website states that more may become available as they sift through and cancel repeat orders.
But if you don’t manage to bag one and you’re simply in it for the cold, hard cash rather than a sweet tribute to a childhood favourite (you stone-hearted Del Boy you), then keep an eye out for other somewhat rare 50p designs, such as a 2009 Kew Gardens one or an Olympics design that was produced with an error.
Images: Royal Mint