The Royal Mint has started the countdown to Christmas by launching a new range of festive 50p coins featuring the characters from the iconic film The Snowman.
It means the titular character from the 1982 movie and his friend James have found themselves on a Christmas coin for the third successive year, after the Mint released versions in 2018 and 2019.
The latest 50p will be purely commemorative and will not enter circulation, just like its two predecessors.
The latest festive 50p from the Royal Mint features an embrace between James and the Snowman, characters from the 1982 Christmas classic ‘The Snowman’
The coin, which the Royal Mint has released four versions of, features James hugging the Snowman, which its designer said helped ‘remind us of the importance of a hug and our love for one another’ after ‘a year where many of us have been separated’.
Robin Shaw, who worked on the 2012 TV sequel to The Snowman, The Snowman and the Snowdog, as well as other adaptations of children’s books like The Tiger who Came to Tea and Paddington Bear, added: ‘In creating the 2020 design I wanted to capture this unique bond between the Snowman and James in recognition of Raymond Briggs’ timeless tale which unites us each Christmas.’
The coin will sell on the Royal Mint’s website for between £10 and £1,125, depending on whether collectors opt for a brilliant uncirculated, brilliant uncirculated (coloured), silver proof or gold proof version.
Unlimited numbers of the brilliant uncirculated version will be available, but the other three will have limited availability.
The latest design was created by the animator Robin Shaw, who worked on the 2012 sequel to the original The Snowman, The Snowman and The Snowdog
There will be 15,000 coloured brilliant uncirculated coins available, 7,000 silver proofs and just 275 gold versions, which will be sold for the top price of more than £1,000.
The Royal Mint’s Claire Maclennan said: ‘Each year our coins celebrating the Snowman prove incredibly popular with adults and children alike, and we hope this year’s design depicting a hug will be a poignant addition to the collection.’
The original 1982 The Snowman has now been featured on a festive 50p for three years, and is a Christmas TV classic
Have previous versions ‘flown’ off the digital shelves?
With 2020 the third successive year in which the Royal Mint has released a festive 50p featuring James and the Snowman, This is Money had a look to see if there had been a dash through the snow for the 2018 and 2019 versions.
Unfortunately, the Mint has only released commemorative coin sales figures for as recently as 2017, meaning we don’t have an idea of how many uncirculated versions were sold, and therefore it’s harder to gauge their worth.
Although, as any coin collector will tell you, a coin is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it.
|2018 50p||2019 50p||2020 50p|
|Brilliant uncirculated – cost/number available||£10 – unlimited||£10 – unlimited||£10|
|Brilliant uncirculated (coloured) – cost/number available||N/A||N/A||£20 – 15,000|
|Silver proof – cost/number available||£60 – 15,000||£65 – 25,000||£67.50 – 7,000|
|Gold – cost/number available||£775 – 400||£680 – 600||£1,125 – 275|
|Source: Royal Mint|
Interestingly enough, the retail prices of the Snowman coins have actually risen over the last few years.
The cost of the silver proof has risen from £60 to £67.50 between 2018 and 2020, while the number available from the Mint has fallen from 15,000 to 7,000. And the gold proof version has seen its availability reduced from 400 in 2018 to 275 this year, with its price increasing from £775 to £1,125.
The Mint said prices were reviewed to reflect the long term increase in the price of gold, and new features such as colour printing. It insisted its prices were competitive.
Turning to eBay, some sellers appear to be making a tiny profit on the retail cost of £10 on the 2019 version.
One listing showed several versions of the coin, which shows James with the Snowman stood behind him, sell for £12.97 and £12.47 in late November.
The 2019 the Snowman 50p has sold for as much as £12.97, but many sellers have made a loss on the original retail price of £10
However, on the whole prices tend to be lower than that, with some collectors saving money by getting their shopping in very early.
On one listing, the coin could be had for as little as £7.99 in August, rising to £9.95 by last weekend.
And a similar trend, of sellers putting up prices as the festive period approaches, can also be seen with the 2018 50p.
However, this coin generally appears to be worth more in the eyes of collectors, perhaps because it captures the iconic scene of the pair flying, with the two pictured above Brighton pier.
The first coin to feature the characters in 2018 appears to be more valuable to collectors. EBay listings also show it increasing in price in the run up to Christmas
One listing showed it having sold for £14.99 since 30 September, £15.99 from 22 October, £17.99 from 25 November and £18.99 on the last weekend of November.
Another listing seen by This is Money showed it selling for £17.68.
And those collectors looking to get their hands on both previous versions, perhaps because they want to line up all three, can also snap up a slight discount.
Collectors looking to complete the set of three could find both 2018 and 2019 coins together for a discount, but many of these sets have already sold out
A limited number of listings which showed brilliant uncirculated versions of both coins sold together listed them for £19.95, or roughly £9.97 each.
Meanwhile those looking to try and get the best possible price for the new festive 50p, rather than paying over the odds on eBay, were handed some unorthodox advice from the blog Coin Hunter, which sells and values change.
In an email to This is Money, they said: ‘If you want this coin, but not as a Christmas present, wait until the new year, as The Royal Mint often reduce prices of unsold stock as interest wains, as it will for a Christmas coin release.’
Another award for This is Money
This is Money reporter George Nixon clinched the Change Checker ‘Coin Story of the Year’ award for 2020
This is Money always likes to think of itself as the number one source for all things numismatic.
This meant it was a particular point of pride to be handed the Change Checker ‘coin story of the year’ award for the second time in three years, for a September story about the release of the first in a set of Winnie the Pooh 50p coins.
This is Money’s George Nixon, who wrote the story, said: ‘When Small Change – as I have been christened during my time writing about coins at This is Money – was just a small boy, I like many kids was in love with the Hundred Acre Wood and the stories of Winnie the Pooh.
‘It’s fitting and especially lovely then to have won this award for this particular story.
‘It’s a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the original Coin Boy Lee Boyce, and to have returned Change Checker’s award to its rightful place at This is Money after a year away.
‘Whether it’s news of the latest children’s book characters to appear on circulated change or tracking the price of the rarest coins around, we try our best to be the number one source for all things numismatic.’
Since that story, The Royal Mint has released two more coins displaying characters from the books of A.A. Milne, with Christopher Robin released in October and Piglet in November.
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