It’s not uncommon for The Royal Mint to release commemorative coins designed to commemorate iconic figures and events in British history.
A new special edition £2 coin was recently released which celebrates the author, H.G. Wells.
The coin features the image of a Tripod from War of the Worlds, as well as a top hat from The Invisible Man. Unfortunately, fans have spotted a couple of rather obvious mistakes on the coin that could easily have been avoided with a bit more research.
Intended to mark the 75th anniversary of Wells’ death, the tribute comes across a little hollow given the rather glaring mistakes featured on the coin. The first, and most obvious, is the fact that the Martian Tripod features four legs rather than three. The clue is very much in the name.
Artist Holly Humphries wrote on Twitter: “As someone who particularly likes one of his very famous stories, can I just note that the big walking machine on the coin has four legs? Four legs. The man famous for creating the Martian TRIpod.”
As The Guardian reports, it’s not just the War of the Worlds iconography that falls flat. Adam Roberts, science-fiction novelist and professor of 19th-century literature, who published a biography of Wells, noted that the Invisible Man shouldn’t be wearing a top hat. “It’s nice to see Wells memorialised, but it would have been nicer for them to get things right,” he said. “A tripod with four legs is hard to comprehend (tri: the clue is in the name), and Wells’s (distinctly ungentlemanly) invisible man, Griffin, never wore a top hat … I’d say Wells would be annoyed by this carelessness: he took immense pains to get things right in his own work – inviting translators of his book to stay with him to help the process and minimise errors and so on.”
Stephen Baxter, who wrote the official sequel to War of the Worlds, The Massacre of Mankind, and serves as the Vice President of the Wells Society said he believes Wells would be “very flattered by the coin, but infuriated by that non-tripod! It’s not just the extra leg but the stiffness of it. In the book itself, he has a sideswipe at the ‘stiff, stilted tripods’ depicted in an early ‘pamphlet’ on the war – in fact he was talking about clumsy illustrations in the newspaper serialisation of the book, its first publication. ‘They were no more like the Martians I saw than a Dutch doll is like a human being.’ Take that!”
Speaking of the errors, a spokesperson for The Royal Mint said: “We have created a new £2 coin to celebrate the life and works of HG Wells. The coin depicts scenes from famous works such as War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man as imagined by designer Chris Costello.” Costello has stated he was inspired by “vintage HG Wells book covers and movie posters”.
This is not the first time commemorative currency has featured an error. Recently, a 50p coin was released to mark Brexit. The coin was slammed for failing to use a comma, featuring the line “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”. Author Philip Pullman slammed the error, saying it should be “boycotted by all literate people” for not including a comma after “prosperity”.