Literary characters and figures are no strangers to being on British currency, in previous years we’ve seen; Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Jemima Puddleduck, Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear, and a full collection of Shakespeare coins. We’ve also seen author, Jane Austen make it onto a bank note thanks to feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez.
In 2019, The Royal Mint, are introducing new literary-themed coins for you to collect. 350 years after Samuel Pepys’ last diary entry there will be a commemorative £2 coin. Pepys’ diary which accounted historical events including the Great Fire of London began on 1st January 1660 and the last entry was on the 31st May 1669. “And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journal …” – wrote Pepys. The coin is designed by Sculptor, Gary Breeze, and features a quill writing in Samuel Pepys’ shorthand, complete with his signature and the date at the bottom.
Also released by The Royal Mint this year, is a commemorative 50p celebrating the 160th anniversary of Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday. Doyle, is best known for bringing us the fictional but brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes who features on this coin. In the centre of the 50p, is the silhouette of Holmes in his distinguishing deer stalker hat and smoking a pipe. Surrounding Sherlock are the titles of Conan Doyle’s Holmes books including; The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear.
So, before you had over you change in a shop, take a second to check them in case you’re holding Sherlock Holmes, Samuel Pepys, Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear or William Shakespeare in the palm of your hand.