This Christmas sees the release of the fifth UK 50p coin in The Snowman™ series. Just as watching the animated film has become an annual festive tradition for people around the world, so has buying our Snowman coins to collect or to give as gifts to loved ones. This year, the coin is even more poignant following the death of The Snowman’s creator, the charismatic and wonderfully talented Raymond Briggs CBE, in August.
Born in London in 1934, Raymond Briggs developed a passion for drawing at an early age. He studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and later the Slade School of Fine Art before pursuing a career as an illustrator and author of children’s books. Combining fantasy with the ordinary, his bestselling books, such as Father Christmas (1973) and Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), have enchanted children and adults for decades. In 1978, his wordless book The Snowman was published. Beautifully illustrated with only pencil and crayon, the story follows a boy, James, who builds a snowman in his garden one winter’s day. That night, an unforgettable adventure begins when the snowman comes to life.
The Snowman soon caught the attention of producer John Coates. After much persistence, the producer persuaded Briggs to permit him to adapt the book into an animated film. On 26 December 1982, the animated version of The Snowman premiered on Channel 4. The film was a huge success and garnered global acclaim, earning an Academy® Award nomination and winning a BAFTA TV award. Forty years later, millions of viewers continue to watch the animation every Christmas.
In 2012, to coincide with The Snowman animated film’s 30th anniversary, a long-awaited sequel premiered on Channel 4. Made with Raymond Briggs’ approval, The Snowman™ and The Snowdog is equally as charming and enchanting as its predecessor is. The Snowman and The Snowdog takes place in the same house that features in The Snowman and tells the story of a boy, Billy, who discovers a snowman-making kit hidden under the floorboards of his new home on Christmas Eve. Billy builds a snowman and, with a little leftover snow, a snowdog.
Award-winning illustrator Robin Shaw, who acted as assistant director on The Snowman and The Snowdog, has worked with The Royal Mint since 2018, helping to develop the designs that feature on the reverse of our Snowman coins. This Christmas, to celebrate ten years since The Snowman and Snowdog’s release,
The Snowdog will appear on a UK 50p coin for the first time. Created by Robin Shaw, the charming 2022 design sees The Snowman and The Snowdog in a heartfelt embrace, making it the perfect gift to show someone how much you care.
Robin has often spoken about how The Snowman captivated him as a child, and how he was encouraged to pursue a career in illustrating and animation as a result.
“The Snowman was something I saw as a child and it entranced me. I looked at the book and saw the film and thought: ‘That’s what I want to do!’ To be entrusted with Raymond Briggs’ most enduring creation continues to be an incredible joy.”
Raymond Briggs inspired generations to draw, read and create. Like The Royal Mint, Raymond Briggs was an original maker who appreciated the understated simplicity of beautiful artistry. Using the most advanced minting technology, we are able to strike coins that capture the much-loved character that Raymond Briggs first brought to life and ensure that Snowman fans treasure them for generations to come. We are proud of our association with The Snowman and endeavour to continue sharing Raymond Briggs’ legacy and enduring messages of fun and friendship through our beautiful Christmas coins.
“As a nation, we have grown up with The Snowman in our lives. Raymond’s character is the personification of unconditional and unassuming warmth, kindness and generosity. That’s what makes him such a timeless and timely character.
“Becoming part of a traditional Christmas is an incredible honour and is testament to the special place that Raymond Briggs occupies in the nation’s hearts.”