New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint

Behind the Design of the Edward Jenner UK £2 Coin



During his lifetime, Edward Jenner made one of the most significant contributions to immunology the world has ever seen. As the man whose breakthrough work and pioneering process of vaccination led to the global eradication of smallpox, we are proud to celebrate his work in our Innovation in Science series.

Jenner’s study of smallpox, one of Britain’s most prominent health problems at the time, led to the global eradication of the disease and paved the way for other vaccines to follow. His groundbreaking work ultimately changed the world saving countless lives in the process.

The impact of Jenner’s work on humankind was immeasurable and it is important to us at The Royal Mint that the Edward Jenner coin features a design that not only upholds his lofty legacy but also pays tribute to his accomplishments and highlights his incredible contributions to science. The chosen designer is therefore highly experienced, with a growing legacy of Royal Mint coin designs.

Henry Gray has provided artwork for countless brands and products throughout his career, but in recent years has flourished in the realm of coin design. Since 2020, Henry has created a variety of designs for The Royal Mint, including the 150th Anniversary of the British Red Cross, The Who and Alexander Graham Bell – the last being part of the Innovation in Science series.

With the Edward Jenner coin complete, Henry can now add another design to his growing CV. We caught up with the man behind the design to discover what went into this latest creative project and how the final design was developed.


You’ve worked on several coin projects over the last couple of years. What attracted you to this one in particular?

“The first thing that attracted me to this project was the fact that it was so immediately relevant. Having just emerged from a year of lockdowns and vaccine rollouts, to research and design a coin paying tribute to the father of immunisation was both eye-opening and humbling.”

As someone who has designed several coins, what is your favourite part of the process?

“My favourite part of the process is the process. First, immersing myself in the story of the subject is always fascinating. Then to overcome the challenge of retelling that story in a way that might inspire others gives great satisfaction.”

Were you familiar with Edward Jenner prior to this project?

“I wasn’t. My teachers would probably disagree with me, but I don’t remember doing any history in school. It’s probably why discovering and retelling these stories is so interesting to me.”

How did you approach the initial coin design concept?

“Before I did anything, I went to my local library. It’s only a small community library, but they still managed to produce a pile of books for me to fully immerse myself in.”

Was there anything you knew you wanted to include from the outset?

“There were a number of key elements from Edward Jenner’s life story that I included and made reference to in my initial designs. There was the simplicity of his tools and the modern tools used to combat smallpox that seemed to contrast powerfully with the scale of the achievement they delivered. There was also the astounding legacy of his discovery leading to the overall eradication of smallpox on a global scale. Ultimately, his discovery affected the entire population of the world, and he is often credited as saving more lives than anyone else in history.”


What were the main challenges you found during the design process?

“As is usually the case, the main challenge for me was finding a way to distil the narrative into an iconic image small enough to fit on the tiny canvas of a coin, yet still maintain a clear message that can be understood and inspire interest.”

How did you find the overall design experience for this coin?

“Designing a coin for such a prominent subject is always extremely challenging and this project was no different. This is probably why it is so rewarding when I finally get to see the finished coin.”

What are your thoughts on the finished design?

“I hope it encourages people who aren’t familiar with Edward Jenner to delve deeper and discover his astonishing story. Meanwhile, I hope that those who do know Jenner’s story feel that it communicates his achievement and legacy in an interesting way. I can’t wait to get one!”

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