It appears that I have once again drawn ire from the sci-fi community. First it was the Papyrus/AVATAR thing, and now this. No disrespect to H.G. Wells or any of you. To give more context, I will share about this specific coin design challenge and my creative process on a permanent page soon, but for now…

From the Royal Mint:
“The Royal Mint works with leading designers around the world to create art on the unique canvas of a coin – we encourage them to be creative and distinct in their response to the brief. When developing a design for the HG Wells coin we asked artists to consider his life and his work, ensuring the coin would be instantly recognisable and make best use of the space on a £2.

“The HG Wells coin features an interpretation of the various machines in War of the Worlds, an invisible man wearing a Victorian top hat to signify the era, and a clock representing The Time Machine. The quote “Good books are the warehouses of ideas” is widely associated with HG Wells, and features on the edge inscription.”

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee:
• All themes considered for Royal Mint coins go through a planning and design selection process governed by an independent panel known as The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC).
• Members of the RMAC include experts in art, heraldry, typography, sculpture, history and numismatics, as well as historical and design experts from The Royal Mint.
• As with all coins, the HG Wells coin was subject to external review by the RMAC.  

Artist Statement

The characters in War of the Worlds have been depicted many times, and I wanted to create something original and contemporary. My design takes inspiration from a variety of machines featured in the book—including tripods and the handling machines which have five jointed legs and multiple appendages. I understand the disappointment of tripod fans, but this design was about pushing the boundaries of make believe and having a little fun, like these artists did…

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Contemporary artist’s renditions inspired by The War of the Worlds

We discussed several styles of hats for The Invisible Man, including the wide-brimmed hat mentioned in his book, and determined that the top-hat was easily recognized as Victorian era in contrast to the futuristic machine in the background. Clearly distinguishing and connecting past and future, the visuals allude to The Time Machine represented by the Roman numeral clock. Just as Well’s own sketch veered from his original description, I also embellished on the narrative to create a more interesting coin design…

TOP: 1910 drawing by H.G. Wells of The Invisible Man with a top hat. Image by Heritage Auctions.
BOTTOM: Contemporary artist’s renditions inspired by The Invisible Man

The final design combines multiple stories into one stylized and unified composition that is emblematic of all of H.G. Well’s work and fits the unique canvas of a coin.

H.G. Wells 2021 UK £2 Gold Coin
Image copyright The Royal Mint. Used with permission.