The Royal Mint commemorates the life and work of JRR Tolkien with a new £2 collectable coin marking 50 years since his death.
The coin was previously part of the 2023 Annual Set, and has proved extremely popular among customers, being among the coins for which customers have shown the greatest interest, with 24,500 already registered. The coin’s design, created by David Lawrence, draws inspiration from Tolkien’s prominent career as Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford, in which role he brought the world of the Dark Ages to life in his teaching, writing and studies.
Combining traditional minting techniques with modern technology, The Royal Mint’s craftspeople have faithfully recreated JRR Tolkien’s monogram at the centre of the coin. Lee Jones, Product Design Lead at The Royal Mint, mixes a technical approach with key consideration for the coin’s aesthetic appeal to ensure David’s original design was translated properly to appear on a £2 coin. Modelling is completed via the use of a computer, which offers the most flexible and detailed option, allowing for mastering for production.
The monogram is encircled by intricate runic pattern. The pattern work takes inspiration from many sources to provide a ‘feel’, bringing to the design an aesthetic reflective of Tolkien’s love for Anglo-Saxon scripts. The words “NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST”, a quote from the poem ‘The Riddle of Strider’, which features in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, serves as the coin’s edge inscription.
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said:
“As one of the most eagerly anticipated collectable coin launches of the year, we are delighted to be launching an official £2 coin honoring and celebrating the life and work of JRR Tolkien.
“As the original maker of coins in the United Kingdom, we are honored to commemorate JRR Tolkien’s long-standing career, and our master craftspeople have worked carefully to create a coin which is a testament to arguably one of the greatest authors, poets, scholars, and philologists in our history.
“£2 coins are one of the most favored denominations among collectors. Since its introduction to the definitive coinage of the United Kingdom in 1998 the £2 coin has seen over 50 reverse designs, including a coin commemorating Jane Austen and the work of William Shakespeare.”
As an accomplished scholar, philologist, father of modern fantasy fiction and maker of Middle-earth, JRR Tolkien is best known for creating the seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit in 1937 and the immensely popular The Lord of the Rings in 1954–55.
From August 21, 2023, visitors to The Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant, South Wales, will have the unique opportunity to strike their own JRR Tolkien £2 collectable coin. Tickets to strike your own coin are available to purchase at check-in for an additional £7.50 per coin.
The coin is available in £2 Gold, Silver, and Piedfort Proof Silver, as well as £2 Brilliant Uncirculated. For more information, please visit The Royal Mint website.