Alice in Wonderland: Royal Mint launches commemorative coin to mark over 150 years of the children’s book

The design of the coin is based on Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations for the classic children’s book
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The Royal Mint has released a new coin to commemorate 150 years since Lewis Carrol’s classic Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was first published.

The commemorative £5 crown is based on Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations of the book, and is being released in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

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One coin features the scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, while the other stars the twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Photo: Shutterstock/PA Media)One coin features the scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, while the other stars the twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Photo: Shutterstock/PA Media)
One coin features the scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, while the other stars the twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Photo: Shutterstock/PA Media)

Cheshire Cat design

The coin depicts the scene where Alice meets the Cheshire Cat and will be available from the Royal Mint.

It is the first in a two part series, with a second coin due to be released later this year featuring a scene from Lewis Carrol’s second Alice book, Through The Looking Glass.

The second coin will feature twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

The first coin is being launched alongside the V&A’s new exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser – which features a collection of Sir John’s famous illustrations from the books.

The coin is inscribed with the famous “curiouser and curiouser” phrase and its intricate design is thought to be one of the most detailed ever produced in the royal Mint’s 1,100 year history.

Both coins were created by the mint’s designer Ffion Gwillim and sculptor Emma Noble.

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‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a true classic’

Clare Maclennan, a director at the Royal Mint, said: “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is a true classic that has been cherished by generations of adults and children of all ages and is still as popular today.

She continued: “Inspired by Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations, the beautiful £5 crown has been crafted to the finest quality, combining traditional minting skills with innovation in design technology.”

Amelia Calver, of the V&A, said “We’re delighted to be celebrating the global phenomenon beloved by all ages, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the 2021 commemorative coins.

“The designs masterfully capture the charm of Tenniel’s original illustrations and pay homage to some of the Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass characters that Alice meets along the way.”

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition

The Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition held at the V&A is described as the museum’s 2021 “landmark exhibition”.

The exhibition invites audiences to explore the origins, adaptations and reinventions of Alice in Wonderland, charting the evolution of the book, from manuscript to global phenomenon.

Highlights of the exhibition include “Lewis Carroll’s handwritten manuscript, illustrations by John Tenniel, Ralph Steadman and Mary Blair for Walt Disney’s iconic 1951 film adaptation, Royal Opera House stage costumes, fashion from Iris van Herpen and photography from Tim Walker”, the V&A states.

Kate Bailey, Senior Curator of Theatre and Performance at the V&A, said: “With our world class collections of art, design and performance and founding mission to inspire the next generation, the V&A is the perfect place for an exhibition on the cultural impact of Alice in Wonderland across artistic disciplines.

“Alice encourages us all to question, to learn, to explore, and to dream – discovering why she’s an endless source of inspiration for some of the world’s most creative minds has been an extraordinary adventure, even taking the museum into a new dimension of Virtual Reality for the first time.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors of all ages into Alice’s magical and mind-bending Wonderland, to imagine their own world on the other side of the Looking Glass.”

The exhibition is currently open to the public, and will run until Friday 31 December. It’s being held in the Sainsbury Gallery of the V&A in London.

Tickets cost £20, while some concessions apply, and members and children under 12 go free. Tickets are released every Tuesday at 12pm for available slots the following week, and are available via the V&A website.

Additional reporting by PA.

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