From a Winnie the Pooh storybook to coin

Category: Collect

Left: Silver Proof booklet. Centre: Colour-printed Brilliant Uncirculated coin in its packaging. Right: Silver Proof coin housed in its acrylic block and two-piece box.

The world of Winnie the Pooh and friends is a very special one, so when we captured the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood on a 50p coin series, we knew the designs had to do the much-loved storybooks justice.

Daniel Thorne, a member of The Royal Mint’s Product Design team, was involved in the early stages of designing the coins, as he explains:

“Choosing the right image from E. H. Shepard’s illustrations was the beginning of the process and it wasn’t easy! We had so many beautiful images to choose from.”

“I added a buzzy bee from the storybooks in the background of the design which will appear on each of the nine coins – I think it’s a really nice touch to link the whole collection.”

A number of the coins that have celebrated childhood characters include colour-printed silver Proof editions. The Winnie the Pooh and Friends Collection is no different, but we’ve also struck a special colour-printed coin finished to Brilliant Uncirculated standard too.

Ieuan Williams is a New Product Introduction Engineer at The Royal Mint, and his role was to make sure that the coin designer’s vision was achievable. The final printed coins you see have been through numerous processes to check that each one is perfect – it needs to be bright and bold today but also stand the test of time.

“There were numerous steps in producing the coin, and at each stage, we liaised with Disney to ensure the coin was exactly right for such a classic family favourite. We were able to use our latest digital printer to produce the Winnie the Pooh 50p coins, which meant we could achieve different effects on one coin.

Above: The silver Proof coin in production, before colour has been added.

“The first stage is to add a layer of primer – this is white so when colour is placed on top it really pops. Areas of the coin are then masked before more colour is added, but the background of each coin, like the grass Pooh Bear sits on, has only a thin layer of colour added to give it a watercolour effect. The characters themselves are the stars of the coin and more colour is added so they really stand out.

“For each layer a die is produced, which is the tool that strikes the coin with tonnes of pressure. These have to be lined up perfectly or the layers will be out of place and the whole design will fail. We hold trial runs of 100 to 1,000 Brilliant Uncirculated coins and around 25 coins for the silver Proof editions; this makes sure everything is flawless before we strike larger numbers of the coins.

“It’s been such a great project to work on. Everyone has been really excited to be involved in making the coins – pretty much anyone you meet knows of Winnie the Pooh. I find the way people have compared the characters to different human qualities and even mental health issues really interesting; that really resonates with me. The series has been a pleasure to work on.”

Above: The silver Proof coin in production, before colour has been added.

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©Disney. Based on the “Winnie the Pooh” works by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard.

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