I'm the annoying person who takes coins out of circulation. I started collecting them when I was 11 or 12. At the time, a friend of mine was collecting stamps and I wanted something similar I could collect, rearrange and proudly show off in a cheap plastic folder from WHSmiths. I didn't think my enthusiasm would last long; a few years earlier I'd shown a blatant disregard for my sticker album after a few months, so I don't know why I thought collecting coins would be any different. But once I started looking for designs, I became more and more preoccupied, checking every handful of change I had. It's become slightly addictive and I owe half of my collection to my mum who has become just as invested as me in finding a hidden treasure.
10 years later and my collection is still going strong. In terms of monetary value I'm sure its not worth much more than the value of the coins themselves, but to me it's priceless because whenever I'm lacking creative inspiration, I can look through it to see beautiful designs in tiny spaces. Here are some of my favourites:
I bought this coin from someone one weekend at my local Music Centre. It was 2011 when the coin was newly released and desperate to nab one while it was still hot of the press I paid £1, sacrificing my Saturday Crunchie for a small piece of brilliant design. (Little was I to know that I would find two in my own change not long after). I love the intricacy of this coin; the way in which all the shapes lock together in a heptagonal mosaic could be seen to work as a metaphor for WWF, highlighting one of the charity's aims of preserving thriving, interdependent ecosystems. Most commemorative designs seem to be big and bold so I like the contrast this one offers where you have to examine the coin carefully to fully appreciate the different elements which combine to make the charity. Designed by Matthew Dent, this 50p is a firm favourite in my collection.
Another design by Mathew Dent, this £2 coin was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birth. I like this coin for a number of reasons. The first being something that many coins seem not to have: negative space. The space around the silhouette allows this design to breathe which is rare for coins where many seem to have every spare centimetre filled with pattern. I like that the illustration has been approached in a typographic way and I particularly like the variation in type sizes which creates differing emphasis of the facial features. The only thing I might have changed if this was my own design is to tie the neck in somehow as the whole head appears a bit 'floaty' without a body attached to it.
A different style of design and a different designer; David Gentleman produced this £2 coin released in 2007 to commemorate 200 years since an act was passed for the abolition of the slave trade. I particularly like this coin because the design is approached typographically rather than illustratively. Often the simplest designs are the most successful and I think that is particularly true of this coin. The break in the chain through the 1807 '0' is subtle but conveys the meaning perfectly and the negative space around the text allows for a clear focal point. I wish more coin designs were approached in the same way as this one; although I really like the previous two coins I've discussed, their designs seem a little busy and I think in that respect, the design of this coin conveys its meaning more effectively.