The New Gruffalo 50 Pence - A Monster Reveal

Author: Emily Phelps - Commemorative Coin Editor

Published: 15 Oct 2019

Last Updated: 22 Oct 2019


The Royal Mint is releasing a brand-new coin commemorating one of the nation's favourite bedtime stories, The Gruffalo. The tale of a mouse who conquers his fear, outsmarting his enemies with the help of an imaginary friend, is now celebrating its 20th year anniversary. 

The obverse of the coin boasts the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Jody Clark, with the reverse featuring the mouse and Gruffalo by Magic Light Pictures.  This design is presented in two different versions; a brightly coloured silver proof in a printed acrylic block, and a non-coloured base metal coin, struck in Brilliant Uncirculated condition in fold-out packaging.  

New Gruffalo 50 Pence Coin Featuring Both Characters

New Gruffalo 50 Pence Coin

To celebrate these much-loved characters and their 20th anniversary, a new Gruffalo 50 pence coin will be released this year. Following the huge success of the first 2019 Gruffalo coin, which we still have in stock, faced huge demand, The Royal Mint have conceived a fresh design for the 50 pence. Not just featuring The Gruffalo as it did the first time, the coin also includes the mouse set against the forest, recreating the scene where the two came face to face for the first time. This is the first Gruffalo coin that has been designed with the two main characters in the illustration. 

Gruffalo 50p Coloured Proof Coin - First Edition

The First Gruffalo 50 Pence Coin

Similar to the first edition, the new coin will be released in two different finishes, with a brightly coloured silver proof coin in an acrylic case, and the classic uncirculated edition in a fold out carboard sleeve.  

Brilliant Uncirculated

Coloured Proof

Please note that none of these coins will be in circulation unlike the Peter Rabbit and Paddington series

The Tale of The Gruffalo

In 1999, the author Julia Donaldson introduced us to “The Gruffalo”, a story that would create one of the most popular picture books in the world. Alongside Julia, the illustrator Axel Scheffler brought some of the most well-known characters to life, with the pair soon becoming one of the most successful partnerships in the world of children's books, seeing “The Gruffalo” sell over 13.5 million copies worldwide.  

The story follows a quick-witted mouse on a thrilling adventure in search of a nut but stumbles upon something far worse.  

Throughout the narrative, the mouse bumps into some daunting wildlife, a fox, an owl and a snake all wanting to eat the mouse, but the protagonist has a few tricks up his sleeve. Readers are led to believe the little mouse has a hideous friend called The Gruffalo, with bright orange eyes, black tongue and curved horns.  

With his gruesome companion, the mouse scares off the hungry owl, snake and fox who try and stop him in his tracks. Knowing the Gruffalo doesn’t exist, he is able to roam freely through the forest and spread fear wherever he goes. The story isn’t always as made up as it seems and to the disbelief of the mouse, he eventually bumps into the real Gruffalo and the monster is exactly as he described.  

Once the mouse meets The Gruffalo, his witty comments continue as he tells The Gruffalo he is the scariest creature in the forest, and he can prove it! Asking the Gruffalo to follow him through the forest, the pair confront the snake, owl and fox ending with them all running in fear.  

Moral of the Story

The narrative is much more than a children’s book, with the author adding imagination, compelling storytelling and feelings of insignificance, leaving these elements open to interpretation along the way.  
The mouse represents feeling small in a big world, but with the ability to take on anything with quick thinking and bravery. He also proves how powerful imagination can be after The Gruffalo he creates becomes a reality.  

The Gruffalo is the manifestation of imagination and proves to be very real. The snake, owl and fox certainly believe it to be so! The character is testament to a child’s imagination and how as adults we must nourish and encourage them to use it. 

We may be one of the only species on the planet with the ability to play out a single scenario with multiple outcomes purely in our imagination. We do this to assess how our behaviours fit into the context of the situation and which set of behaviours will achieve the most positive outcome, essential to a child developing social skills. As we become adults, we continue to use our imagination, but simply switch fictional characters for real world individuals such as your co-workers or boss! I am pleased to say our director Lawrence Chard is not as scary as the Gruffalo though he can scare you away easily with his jokes! 

The characters of the forest are the unfriendly foes who are all too present in the world. They are there to knock the mouse off course, impeding his bravery and determination. Their interactions with the mouse show how a difficult situation can be quickly overcome using imagination and the right tools.  

No matter your age, The Gruffalo is an exciting adventure with plenty of deep meaning. The characters have defined personality traits recognisable by many children, with elements of friendship and sticking up for yourself in perilous situations.  

Behind the Book

Unlike most children’s stories, The Gruffalo features a smaller, more vulnerable protagonist, with a more relatable personality to connect with when compared to the fearless characters of many tales. The magic was even adapted into an Oscar and Bafta nominated short film in 2009 following the massive success of the book. 

Julia got her inspiration from a Chinese tale about a young girl who scares off a fearsome tiger by telling a little white lie. When the girl faces the wrath of a tiger, she quickly thinks on her feet saying she is the queen of the jungle. Just like in The Gruffalo, the tiger follows the girl through the jungle where the tiger sees the animals run in fear and is led to believe the girl is indeed the queen.

Further Reading

If you like The Gruffalo 50 pence, you might like our other range of 50 pence coins which feature other loved children’s characters. The Beatrix Potter Collection, Paddington Bear and The Snowman all celebrate successful storybooks with beautiful designs caved on each 50 pence.  

You may be interested in exploring more articles in our precious metal and coin news section of the website.  

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