Mischievous Peter Rabbit™ was the first Beatrix Potter character to be celebrated by The Royal Mint in partnership with Penguin Random House UK, and the blue-jacketed bunny has since gone on to star on a series of 50p coins. Each year, we’ve brought more of Peter Rabbit’s adventures to life in a series of beautiful designs, carefully selecting iconic images that recall his most memorable moments. Whether he’s squeezing under a garden gate in search of mischief, or munching on radishes after another scrape with Mr. McGregor, each release featuring Peter Rabbit has been eagerly anticipated – a testament to his timeless charm and the skill involved in the meticulous recreations of the hand-painted illustrations which brought Beatrix Potter’s iconic books to life.
2021 is an extra special year for Peter and The Royal Mint as Britain’s favourite bunny hops onto a new coin, appearing on a UK one ounce and £5 coin for the very first time. To mark the switch to a new denomination, Ffion Gwillim and the coin production team were determined to do something extra special.
From Concept to Coin
“The colour-printed coins featuring Peter have a special charm, but this time around we wanted to get back to basics. Beatrix Potter’s original privately printed illustrations are all in black and white, so that’s where we looked for inspiration. It was a lot of fun to revisit The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It’s such a timeless classic and Peter’s antics never get old. After leafing through the book, we settled on an image showing the whole Rabbit family all together. It’s from the early part of the story when Peter’s mother warns him not to get into any mischief. But we all know how that turns out! What I really like about this particular illustration is that it has a great narrative element. As a designer I always look to tell a story, just like Beatrix Potter did in her unique and wonderful way.
“Capturing the warmth and charm of the original illustration is as much a technical process as an artistic one. We have our own technical team who help us throughout the model making process that eventually gives us a die capable of producing thousands of coins. We work closely with them every step of the way to make sure Peter is looking his absolute best as he hops over to the one ounce and £5 coin.”
A Spring Surprise
“After all the attention to detail and hard work, it’s so exciting and rewarding to see the end result. You get a special thrill when you see the first coin come off the press. It’s been great fun bringing Peter back and I hope everyone gets a nice spring surprise when they see him on a different denomination for the first time. We’ve pulled out all of the stops to create something extra special for fans of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit that I hope will take pride of place in their collections.”
Beatrix Potter is one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors of all time. From her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) she went on to create a series of stories based around animal characters including Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Tom Kitten. Her humorous, lively tales and beautiful illustrations have become a natural part of childhood. A source of inspiration was the Lake District where she lived for the last thirty years of her life as a farmer and conservationist.