World Coins

Father Christmas marks holiday on 50-penny coin

This is not your typical Santa. “Father Christmas” author Raymond Briggs turns the stereotype of the jolly old soul on its head. A colorful 50-penny coin shows the mischievous man.

Images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

Father Christmas is a short animated film based on two books written by Raymond Briggs: Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, published in 1973 and 1975 respectively. 

Father Christmas in these publications is a different interpretation of the stereotypical character. It is Briggs’s character that appears on two new 50-penny coins from Gibraltar


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The Briggs Father Christmas still looks like the Santa we all know and love, with his large white beard and red suit. However, he is rather grumpy and works from a normal house coping with everyday domestic chores with no Mrs. Claus or elves to assist him. The only other occupants of the house are his cat and dog and two reindeer.

The first book won the annual Kate Greenaway medal from the Library Association in 1973, which recognized the year’s best children’s book illustration by a British subject. In addition, for the 50th anniversary of the Greenaway medal in 2005, a panel named the 1973 book one of the top 10 winning works.

The design shows an illustration from Briggs’s book: Father Christmas with his sack of presents over one shoulder, a satchel and flask at his other side. 

Approved by the Licensor and Buckingham Palace, which is very fitting as, in the book, the last delivery is to the palace, the obverse of the coin carries the Pobjoy Mint effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The copper-nickel version is offered in color, presented on a Christmas card, and uncolored, packaged as a Christmas tree ornament.

The copper-nickel coins weigh 8 grams and measure 27.3 millimeters in diameter, with a mintage limit of 7,500 pieces that retail for $16.95 each.  

The Proof .925 fine silver piedfort version weighs 16 grams and measures 27.3 millimeters in diameter.

It has a 1,500-coin mintage limit and retails for $84.95. 

To order the coins, visit the distributor website

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