He has knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose…
And now the Gruffalo’s unique and fearsome features are being presented, for the first time, on one of three different 50 pence piece designs courtesy of The Royal Mint.
Is it a commentary on the evil and stupidity of money – reflected in the famed fable which follows a brave and wily mouse who outwits the Gruffalo?
In case you’ve forgotten, the story goes a little something like this.
A clever mouse goes into the woods and avoids being eaten by an assortment of dangerous animals – a snake, a fox and an owl – by telling them he’s dining with his friend, secretly conjured from his own imagination, whom he calls the Gruffalo; a monster who conveniently enjoys the taste of the mouse’s predators.
The mouse then survives the Gruffalo – who turns out to be real after all – by proclaiming himself the most fearsome animal in the woods by revisiting the terrified predators from his journey.
Here’s the film trailer to jog your memory:
It’s unlikely The Royal Mint have constructed their new three-coin collection as an homage to the blind greed of capitalism, presented through the Gruffalo’s ugly facade and even uglier core.
According to their press releases, instead, they created the collection to celebrate the titular book character’s 20th birthday. Makes sense, really.
It is still one of the most popular kids’ books of all time.
The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler has sold 13.5 million copies worldwide. You can bet The Royal Mint are hoping their coins will be just as popular.
I can’t believe it has been 20 years since The Gruffalo was first published.
In that time, he’s been brought to life on stage and screen, featured in nature trails, library cards and book tokens and turned into a soft toy; and now he’s got his own 50p coin.
Prices start from £10 for the basic coin, £65 for the silver proof coin, and £795 for one of the 600 gold coins – the rarest of the three – which weigh over 15g.
When I first envisaged him, over 20 years ago, I never anticipated that my artwork would be used on a coin.
The Gruffalo was born of an Anglo-German creative collaboration and it’s amazing to see how his universal appeal continues to connect with families across the world.
As a commemorative coin it won’t be entering general circulation, so if you want one you’ll need to head to The Royal Mint website.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.