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Gruffalo gets his own 50p coin to celebrate 20th birthday

Collectors item: One of the coins made for the Royal Mint's new Gruffalo collection PICTURES: PA

THE Gruffalo has been given his own set of 50p coins to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the literary monster.

The Royal Mint launched the new commemorative coins depicting the distinctive beast with his orange eyes, poisonous wart and purple prickles.

The collectable coins are available in three different finishes, including gold proof, silver proof and brilliant uncirculated.

The coins will not be available for general circulation, with only a limited amount of them made, the Royal Mint said.

Beloved child’s story, The Gruffalo, was written by Julia Donaldson and first published 20 years ago, selling 13.5million copies worldwide, accompanied by colourful illustrations from Axel Scheffler.

Monster makers: Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffer (right)

Ms Donaldson said: ‘I can’t believe it has been 20 years since The Gruffalo was first published.

‘In that time, he’s been brought to life on stage and screen, featured in nature trails, library cards and book tokens and turned into a soft toy — and now he’s got his own 50p coin.’

Prices start from £10 for the uncirculated coin, £65 for the silver proof coin, and £795 for the gold coin, which weighs 15.50g, with only 600 available for purchase, the rarest of the three.

The Gruffalo joins other favourite literary characters Paddington and The Snowman to be featured on coins.

Nicola Howell, director of consumer business at the Royal Mint, said: ‘We hope that children and adults across the UK will love this family favourite as much as we do.’