Friday, November 25, 2011

Coin for the Olympics

Design for 2012 Olympics Silver kilo coin, 2011, watercolour.

Gutted by yet again being passed over for a place in our Olympics table tennis team I had resigned myself to having no role in the 2012 Olympiad. A phone call from Kevin Clancy at the Royal Mint changed all that, with a request to design a silver coin (face value £500) weighting a kilo to celebrate the games. Thus I was paired with Tony Caro who was making a gold coin of the same weight in the novel Olympic event of synchronised coin stamping. Luckily the theme of my own design was team sports which let me off the business of the inevitable action images of multicultural sportspersons. Apart from a drawn out dispute as to whether it was XXX Olympiad or Olympiad XXX, in which I came out the loser, all went smoothly.

The coin features bunting (which as a wartime child always signifies to me a mood of celebration) to form a sun and, in negative, a multiple Olympic flame. This motif is surrounded by a verse I made to recall the original ideal of the games UNITE OUR DREAMS TO MAKE THE WORLD A TEAM OF TEAMS. Obliged to incorporate the ghastly logo of the London Olympiad I managed to shrink it to the size of the full stop which punctuates the text.

Sir Anthony Caro and Tom Phillips, 2012, photo David Parry.



Mike C. said...

I was telling my kids recently about pre-decimal days when a trouser pocket full of change was like a lead-filled sock, and you might occasionally find a mighty Georgian cartwheel penny lurking in there, but... a COIN that weighs a KILO??

Size and weight aside, I much prefer silver -- always think gold is a little too showy. And the bunting / sun idea is brilliant.


James said...

Firstly - I work for The Royal Mint so I may be biased ;-)

Secondly, I think the wonderful thing about these coins is that both designs are appropriate for the material. The gold is tactile and features pronounced topography that swells and dips. It urges you to touch it and to warm the coin with your hands. Tom's silver coin is an exercise in precision which is complimented by the clean bright properties of the metal. Thanks for this lovely post Tom, I linked to it from our Facebook page and will 'Tweet' it as well!