Despite the sad loss of the last vestige of family influence at the iconic Wedgwood Pottery earlier this year – covered in this blog passim – 2009 is very much "The Year of Wedgwood". Members of the wider Wedgwood clan will be interested to note that both the Royal Mail and Royal Mint have, in their own way, issued products which commemorate the achievements of two family members.
In January the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps, for general release and in collector's packs, in honour of Charles Darwin born two hundred years ago in 1809. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of his ground-breaking and controversial book On the Origin of Species (1859).
A few months later the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps dedicated to titans of the Industrial Revolution – our very own Josiah Wedgwood featured on the 50p stamp. I was pleased to be able to use this stamp to send out the 'thank you' for gifts given to our son Thomas for his Christening. This is surely the only time when consecutive special edition stamps have features a grandson and grandfather? Further, it must be noted that the Royal Mint has issued three different commemorative £2 coins: 1) "Brilliant Uncirculated coin", 2) "silver proof" and 3) "gold proof" for Charles Darwin which must be a similarly rare confluence of events. Don't forget that dear old Charles is also on the reverse of the Bank of England ten pound note so appearing on two currency formats at once must also be quite rare for a non-royal?