The Royal Mint is marking 30 years since plasticine double act Wallace and Gromit landed in our lives in stop motion animated classic A Grand Day Out, by releasing a special 50 pence coin. The coin features a portrait of the grinning Yorkshireman and his long suffering canine companion, bordered by an inscription of Wallace’s famous catchphrase in Latin: Caseus Praestans (Cracking Cheese).
The Nick Park and Aardman Animations creations first won our hearts in 1989, in their inaugural claymation short film wherein the duo, having run out of cheese, build a spaceship and visit the moon (which, of course, is made of cheese) for an epic lunar picnic. The film won over 100 awards including three Academy Awards and five Baftas, and not only rocket-launched the Aardman Animations film series (including Shaun the Sheep which has a new film out now) but claymation and stop motion animation as an industry.
The coin has been designed by Nick Park (his initials can be seen above Gromit’s shoulder on the design), who said of the collaboration: “When A Grand Day Out was first screened 30 years ago, we never expected for Wallace and Gromit to become such a long-standing, well-loved series around the world. It’s been an honour to work with The Royal Mint to bring the pair to life in a new way, and everyone at Aardman is so excited to see the pair on a coin.” A short film (below) shows the making of the coin design in clay.
The Royal Mint’s Nicola Howell commented that Wallace and Gromit are a “huge part of our popular culture”. Special editions of the coin range from £10 to £980.
In 2018, the Royal Mint released 26 new 10p coins tracing the A-Z of Britishness with coin designs celebrating Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North, queuing, zebra crossings, James Bond, Stonehenge and the World Wide Web.