The Perth Mint is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland).
The children’s classic was written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pen name Lewis Carroll. A lecturer at Oxford University, Dodgson possessed a remarkable range of talents. A skilled mathematician, logician and pioneering photographer, he also invented a wealth of word games and puzzles.
His famous fictional character was inspired by 10 year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of Henry George Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where he lived, taught and wrote.
Dodgson often took Alice and her sisters rowing on the Thames. During these boat trips and accompanying picnics, he would make up fantastical tales to entertain the girls. One summer’s day in July 1862 he told them the story that would become Alice. His young companion was so delighted the main character bore her name that she asked him to write it down.
Illustrated under the author’s guidance by Punch cartoonist John Tenniel, it tells of a young girl whose curiosity is sparked when she sees a talking White Rabbit run past her as she is sitting with her sister on the riverbank. Alice follows it down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by all manner of peculiar humans and anthropomorphic creatures.
Alice was popular almost from the moment it was published. But it seems Dodgson wanted to keep his success as a fiction writer separate from his professional life. His literary double is the first two parts of his name translated into Latin (Carolus Ludovicus), then loosely re-translated and presented in reverse order. He reputedly refused letters sent to “Lewis Carroll, Christ Church, Oxford”, claiming no such person lived there!
In print ever since its release in 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland made the genre of literary nonsense a worldwide phenomenon. Subsequently translated into about 170 languages and adapted for at least 20 films and TV shows, this sesquicentennial represents a major opportunity to celebrate its ground-breaking significance and enduring appeal.
The coin’s reverse design portrays Aleysha Howarth’s interpretation of Tenniel’s original Alice, White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat.
Issued as legal tender of Tuvalu, no more than 5,000 of these coins will be released in individual presentation packaging.
The coin’s reverse incorporates a miniature clock depicting a White Rabbit encircled by the inscription “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!” Storyline motifs re-imagined by Aleysha Howarth with an ‘antiqued’ finish complete the design.
Issued as legal tender of Tuvalu, no more than 2,500 of these coins will be released in individual presentation packaging.