It means the titular character from the 1982 movie and his friend James have found themselves on a Christmas coin for the third successive year, after the Mint released versions in 2018 and 2019.
Demand appeared to be subdued early this morning compared to previous releases of commemorative coins, some of which have crashed the Royal Mint’s website or left shoppers facing long queues.
When This is Money checked this morning, we were told there were just nine people in front of us, while when we checked again shortly afterwards there was no queue at all. None of the coins had yet sold out when we checked.
The latest 50p will be purely commemorative and will not enter circulation, just like its two predecessors.
The coin, which the Royal Mint has released four versions of, features James hugging the Snowman, which its designer said helped ‘remind us of the importance of a hug and our love for one another’ after ‘a year where many of us have been separated’.
Robin Shaw, who worked on the 2012 TV sequel to The Snowman, The Snowman and the Snowdog, as well as other adaptations of children’s books like The Tiger who Came to Tea and Paddington Bear, added: ‘In creating the 2020 design I wanted to capture this unique bond between the Snowman and James in recognition of Raymond Briggs’ timeless tale which unites us each Christmas.’
The coin will sell on the Royal Mint’s website for between £10 and £1,125, depending on whether collectors opt for a brilliant uncirculated, brilliant uncirculated (coloured), silver proof or gold proof version.
Unlimited numbers of the brilliant uncirculated version will be available, but the other three will have limited availability.
There will be 15,000 coloured brilliant uncirculated coins available, 7,000 silver proofs and just 275 gold versions, which will be sold for the top price of more than £1,000.
It means there are fewer available silver and gold proof versions of the 2020 coin than in previous years, with the number of available silver proof coins far lower than last year, when the Mint put 25,000 up for sale.
The Royal Mint’s Claire Maclennan said: ‘Each year our coins celebrating the Snowman prove incredibly popular with adults and children alike, and we hope this year’s design depicting a hug will be a poignant addition to the collection.’
Have previous versions ‘flown’ off the digital shelves?
With 2020 the third successive year in which the Royal Mint has released a festive 50p featuring James and the Snowman, This is Money had a look to see if there had been a dash through the snow for the 2018 and 2019 versions.
Unfortunately, the Mint has only released commemorative coin sales figures for as recently as 2017, meaning we don’t have an idea of how many uncirculated versions were sold, and therefore it’s harder to gauge their worth.
Although, as any coin collector will tell you, a coin is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it.
Interestingly enough, the retail prices of the Snowman coins have actually risen over the last few years.
The cost of the silver proof has risen from £60 to £67.50 between 2018 and 2020, while the number available from the Mint has fallen from 15,000 to 7,000. And the gold proof version has seen its availability reduced from 400 in 2018 to 275 this year, with its price increasing from £775 to £1,125.
The Mint said prices were reviewed to reflect the long term increase in the price of gold, and new features such as colour printing. It insisted its prices were competitive.
Turning to eBay, some sellers appear to be making a tiny profit on the retail cost of £10 on the 2019 version.
One listing showed several versions of the coin, which shows James with the Snowman stood behind him, sell for £12.97 and £12.47 in late November.
However, on the whole prices tend to be lower than that, with some collectors saving money by getting their shopping in very early.
On one listing, the coin could be had for as little as £7.99 in August, rising to £9.95 by last weekend.
And a similar trend, of sellers putting up prices as the festive period approaches, can also be seen with the 2018 50p.
However, this coin generally appears to be worth more in the eyes of collectors, perhaps because it captures the iconic scene of the pair flying, with the two pictured above Brighton pier.
One listing showed it having sold for £14.99 since 30 September, £15.99 from 22 October, £17.99 from 25 November and £18.99 on the last weekend of November.
Another listing seen by This is Money showed it selling for £17.68.
And those collectors looking to get their hands on both previous versions, perhaps because they want to line up all three, can also snap up a slight discount.
A limited number of listings which showed brilliant uncirculated versions of both coins sold together listed them for £19.95, or roughly £9.97 each.
Meanwhile those looking to try and get the best possible price for the new festive 50p, rather than paying over the odds on eBay, were handed some unorthodox advice from the blog Coin Hunter, which sells and values change.
In an email to This is Money, they said: ‘If you want this coin, but not as a Christmas present, wait until the new year, as The Royal Mint often reduce prices of unsold stock as interest wains, as it will for a Christmas coin release.’
News Source: Daily Mail