The Royal Mint commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas with Alderney coins

03 Oct 2014

The Royal Mint is to celebrate the centenary of the birth of writer and poet Dylan Thomas with Alderney coins featuring the literary great himself, alongside symbolic references to his life and work.

Popular both in his homeland of Wales and internationally, Dylan Thomas’ works have been performed and enjoyed for decades, and include the ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood, the haunting poem Do not go gentle into that good night and the popular tale A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

Now, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we celebrate his inspirational talent with a coin struck for Alderney in his honour – available as a Brilliant Uncirculated £5, a silver Proof £5 and a gold Proof £1.

Meaning ‘son of the waves’, Dylan’s name originates from the Welsh mythical ‘Mabinogion’ tales,[1] and there could be no more fitting a name for the tempestuous character. Senior Royal Mint engraver Lee R. Jones has captured his origins in the waves featured on the reverse design reflecting Dylan’s name and the water of the Welsh landscape that surrounded and inspired the poet. Other touches, such as the ferns that recall the well-known poem Fern Hill, frame the instantly recognisable portrait of Dylan with his wild hair and wide eyes.

Designer Lee Jones said: “Dylan’s writing is so visual it has always moved me and I often return to it for inspiration. For this design I incorporated the fern, not just for its symbolism - rugged, growing and seen in the landscape of Wales – but also to recall Fern Hill, one of Dylan’s most famous poems, to make the design accessible and hopefully inspire others to read Dylan’s work.

“The waves of Dylan’s hair reflect the waves of Dylan’s name and the water of the Welsh landscape that surrounded and inspired him.”

These commemorative coins have been created in collaboration with Hannah Ellis, Dylan’s granddaughter, and an information booklet provided with each coin reveals delightful insights into Dylan’s life and works.

Lee R. Jones – notes on the designer Lee R. Jones is a senior engraver at The Royal Mint with several projects to his name, the most recent being his design for the 2014 70th Anniversary of D-Day £5 Coin. Lee obtained an HND in animation from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and worked in the world of animation and cinematography before joining The Royal Mint where he is able to apply his creativity. Lee has also exhibited work with the Society of Portrait Sculptors, receiving a commendation in 2014 for his portrait of Royal Mint Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers. A true fan of Dylan Thomas, Lee was delighted to design this commemorative reverse.


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