This childhood legend is on a new Christmas coin and we’re so here for it
If you’re struggling to think of Christmas present ideas this year, The Royal Mint might have saved you with their latest special 50p coin.
The Royal Mint are truly getting into the festive spirit this year with the launch of a Snowman 50p coin to mark the 40th birthday of Raymond Briggs’ picture book The Snowman.
The Snowman, which was brought to life on screen in 1982 with Aled Jones famously singing the theme song, remains popular Christmas viewing among adults and children alike today.
Raymond Briggs’ book, which was published in 1978, has now sold more than 5.5 million copies around the globe.
The film adaption, which is entirely wordless other than Aled Jones’ I’m Walking in the Air song (and a David Bowie speech in an alternative version), won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar.
The Royal Mint is celebrating the anniversary of the book's publication by releasing three versions of the coin, each of which will have a different worth.
What do the coins look like?
Drei 50p Münzen mit dem Thema 40th Anniversary of The Snowman wurden von der Royal Mint aus Großbritannien ausgegeben. pic.twitter.com/iCC5sHQfDz
— Ludwig Redling (@LudwigRedling) November 6, 2018
Natasha Ratcliffe was the artist behind the design of The Snowman 2018 coins. She enlisted the help of Robin Shaw, who has worked with Raymond Briggs for many years and was assistant director of The Snowman and The Snowdog.
In the story, a young boy called James builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. The Snowman comes to life that night to take him on a magical, flying adventure.
The coin will feature the famous image of the Snowman and James flying over Brighton Pier, and depending on which version you go for, the coin may or may not be in colour.
Ms Ratcliffe told The Express:
Growing up I remember reading The Snowman, and sitting down on Christmas Day to watch the animated version was something of a family tradition.
I hope fans, old and new, will appreciate the new design and enjoy unwrapping them as they watch or read The Snowman this year.
Where can you get a Snowman 50p?
You can bag yourself or your loved one the latest new coin on The Royal Mint’s website – but the price of the coin depends on which of the three designs you go for.
The cheapest is The Snowman 2018 UK 50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin. It is made from Cupro-nickel, and as it's an unlimited edition which is unlikely to become rare, it only costs £10.
More expensive is The Snowman 2018 UK 50p Silver Proof Coin, which is made from Sterling Silver. Only 15,000 editions are being released, and such it costs £60.
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On another level altogether is The Snowman 2018 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin. Just 400 editions have been minted, so it's hardly a surprise that the RRP is £775.
Fortunately for your bank balance (or unfortunately, if you're a keen coin collector), the two more expensive coins have now sold out, meaning the £10 edition is the only one you can currently buy from the Royal Mint.
There are currently no plans to release a Snowman 50p into official circulation, so unless you're prepared to enter a bidding war on eBay, you'll have to settle for the Uncirculated Coin.
Which other coins can you collect?
On a more serious theme (or not, depending on your views), Philip Hammond announced a Brexit 50p coin in last week's budget. The coin will be available from 29th March next year – the day the UK leaves the EU.
The Royal Mint also have a wide variety of special coins available to buy, including the Paddington Bear and Beatrix Potter collections.
Some of these specialist coins are also in circulation now, so keep your eyes peeled as you could make money by selling them on or adding them to your own collection.
One of the rarest (and therefore likely most valuable) 50p coins is one with a Kew Gardens design on it. Only 210,000 were minted, and one recently sold for £400 at auction.
The Olympic 50p coin with a footballer on it is also pretty rare, with 1,125,500 in circulation. It typically sells for about £20 on eBay – far less than the Kew Gardens coin, but still 40 times what it's worth if you spend it!
And it's not just 50p coins that are worth top dollar. There is a series of £1 coins celebrating British capital cities and £2 coins marking the 2002 Commonwealth Games, with some selling for well over £100 online.
Of course, perhaps the rarest and most unusual design of the last year was the Harry Kane £5 note. Just four entered circulation, and each one is valued at a whopping £50,000!
Know someone who'd love a Snowman 50p coin? Tag them in the comments on Facebook!