HG Wells coin features four-legged tripod

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06 January 2021
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The recently revealed £2 coin celebrating the life and work of author HG Wells has been criticised by fans, with many pointing out the tripod shown has an extra leg, and that the invisible man didn't wear a top hat.

The new £2 coin has been issued as part of this year's annual set, to mark 75 years since the death of the famous science-fiction author, with The Royal Mint claiming the  design 'captures iconic images from Well’s work, including The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man.'

Coin is criticised by some HG Wells fans

But sci-fi fans and experts on the author have pointed out two obvious errors on the coin:

  • The alien tripod from The War of the Worlds is shown with four legs instead of three
  • The Invisible Man's top hat is shown on the coin, but experts say he wore a 'wide-brimmed hat'

Writing on twitter, artist Holly Humphries said: 

"Now, as someone who particularly likes one of his very famous stories, can I just note that the big walking machine on the coin has four legs? Four legs. The man famous for creating the martian TRIpod."

Meanwhile, according to The Guardian newspaper, Adam Roberts, vice president of the HG Wells Society said: 

“A tripod with four legs is hard to comprehend (tri: the clue is in the name), and Wells’s (distinctly ungentlemanly) invisible man, Griffin, never wore a top hat ... I’d say Wells would be annoyed by this carelessness."

Coin artist defends design

However, coin artist Chris Costello has pointed out that there are "a variety of machines featured in the book – including tripods and the handling machines which have five jointed legs and multiple appendages."

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Chris continued:

"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 recognised 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.

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

Whilst some collectors have expressed a desire to get copies of the coin before they are withdrawn, it is unlikely The Royal Mint will correct the mistakes.


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