2020 Royal Mint 'The Snowman' Gold Proof 50p
The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin gives us what we've missed out on this year: a hug. This collaboration between Snowman Enterprises Ltd. and the Royal Mint showcases the work of top UK designers and illustrators, celebrating a holiday film that has stood the test of time.
Crafted from 22 Carat Gold, this delightful piece captures the fine detail of Robin Shaw's deceptively simple design. Paired with Jody Clark's portrait of Her Majesty, Shaw's reverse evokes the distinctive style of The Snowman's creator: author and illustrator, Raymond Briggs.
Presented in bespoke packaging with a commemorative booklet featuring exclusive artwork, The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin is a collector's piece that will send you down memory lane. Can't quite remember the The Snowman™? Don't worry: we'll refresh you.
A Boy and His Snowman
A mainstay of festive television for nearly 40 years, The Snowman™ has captivated generations of Brits. The beloved animated film opens after a heavy snowfall. A little boy named James builds a snowman in his back garden, using coal for the buttons and an orange for his nose.
At midnight, his snowy creation magically comes to life. Together, they embark upon a night-time adventure, exploring the boy's home, riding on a motorcycle and flying over the frozen countryside to the North Pole. After meeting Santa Claus, the new friends rush home to beat the dawn.
Before returning to his bed, James and the snowman part with a hug. It's this touching moment that is captured on The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin. The next morning, the boy wakes up to find that his snowman has melted, making the coin's design particularly poignant.
A Timeless Christmas Classic
The Snowman™ was adapted from a 1978 picture book by Raymond Briggs. Entirely without dialogue, the 26-minute film first aired in 1982 on Channel 4 and was an immediate success. The next year, The Snowman™ was nominated for an Oscar and won a BAFTA.
Since then, the film has become essential Christmas viewing for the whole family, regularly rerun on Christmas Eve. In 2000, the films enduring appeal was recognised when it was listed among the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes by the British Film Institute. It's a certified national treasure.
As memorable as the film itself is the song that accompanies the boy and snowman's flight: Walking in the Air. Written by Howard Blake and sung by a cathedral choirboy, the piece has been covered frequently, with Aled Jones' version reaching number five in the UK charts in 1985.
A Source of Inspiration
The Snowman™ inspired a stage show, Irn Bru adverts and a sequel, called the The Snowman™ and The Snowdog, released in 2012 to mark the films 30th anniversary. The Snowman's creator, Raymond Briggs, worked on the new film and so did animator and illustrator Robin Shaw.
Shaw would go on to illustrate a retelling of The Snowman™ story by children's author, Michael Morpurgo. It is Shaw's designs that grace the reverse the reverse of The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin. Exclusive illustrations by the artist also feature in the accompanying booklet.
According to Shaw, his love for the story came from watching the film as a child. The distinctive hand-drawn style of The Snowman™, inspired by Brigg's illustrations, kickstarted a love for art and traditional animation. Discussing the process of designing a coin, Shaw has said:
'With animation you are always working to a 16 x 9 inch frame and it's all about composing images and movement within that shape and sequencing them to tell a story. Seeing this design on a 50p coin, on the other hand, lets you relish the beauty of a single image that needs to be completely legible in miniature and work perfectly with the shape of the coin itself.'
The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin designer, Robin Shaw, talks about his love for The Snowman™ and the process of designing a coin for the Royal Mint.
An Extraordinary Year
Christmas 2020 marks the end of a tough year for many. It is certainly one we will all look back on. The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin makes a subtle nod to the events of the last few months, making the coin an ideal means of marking 12 months that history will remember.
Shaw, the coins designer, notes that the COVID-19 crisis has reminds us 'of the importance of a hug and our love for one another' in 'a year when many of us have been separated.' Speaking on what inspired his design for The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin, the artist said:
'The relationship between the little boy and the Snowman is at the heart of the story. Starting with a handshake, the bond between them is immediate, but it is only when they hug that we fully appreciate the depth of emotion that they have for each other. It's such a meaningful and poignant moment.'
The Royal Mint Snowman Series
The Snowman™ first appeared on Royal Mint commemorative coins in 2018, with an issue released in collaboration with Snowman Enterprises Ltd. The 2018 coins marked four decades since the original book's publication and featured a reverse by coin designer and medallist Natasha Ratcliffe.
2019 marked the issue of another The Snowman™ coin in Brilliant Uncirculated and Gold Proof, as well as a Silver 50p coin with colour printing. These full-face colour designs are becoming a hallmark of the series but the Gold Proof design retains the simplicity of an attractive red-gold finish.
2020's issue is the third release in The Snowman™ series. Three versions of the 2020 coin have been released, including 15,000 coloured Brilliant Uncirculated 50 pence pieces and 7,000 Silver Proof coins, as well as the Gold Proof issue. A limited-edition bone china piggybank has also been released.
Did you know? In 2003 The Isle of Man released a limited-edition 50p coin to mark the 25th anniversary of The Snowman's release. Only 10,000 were minted and examples today can fetch more than £200.
Limited and Collectible
The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin is the most limited coin in the Royal Mint's The Snowman™ series. With a maximum mintage of 285, and only 275 available in special packaging, this is the smallest issue of coins in The Snowman™ collection yet, with numbers slashed from last year.
The Gold Proof coin offers the highest quality of finish in this series. So few are minted because the manufacturing process is much more complicated than for circulating coinage. You can see the difference in the contrast between the high-shine background and matt detail of the central designs.
With its superior finish and highly limited mintage, The Snowman™ 2020 UK 50p Gold Proof Coin is sure to be snapped up quickly by collectors. Given that last year's Gold Proof The Snowman design sold out entirely and is already demanding elevated prices, this coin is likely to increase in value.
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