Q&A with Coin Designer Matt Dent

Our latest release, The 2022 Tutankhamun Discovery 100th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Range, are the first ever gold sovereigns to feature a selectively enamelled design; deep black enamel to simulate the priceless treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb emerging from the dark. The genius behind this approach is renowned artist Matt Dent, designer of the current British circulating coins, 1p to 50p.

We spoke to Matt about his journey through the creation of these designs, and here is what he had to say about what it was like to design this important gold sovereign ‘first’ series….

1) What research did you conduct when preparing to design this range?

I really enjoyed the research for this range. Understanding the significance of Howard Carter’s discovery and the meaning behind the many artefacts that King Tutankhamun’s tomb contained has been a wonderful experience.

The treasure trove is visually well documented, so as well as source material such as books and the internet, I watched a series on National Geographic about it with my daughters (aged 9 and 6). I had to do a little bit of parental editing when it went into details on King Tut’s mummified body, I think they were horrified and fascinated in equal measure.

2) Did you encounter any challenges?

With a project like this where the theme is so rich, one of the challenges is to hone in on a concept that communicates something unique. In this case I wanted to convey a sense of the grand moment of Howard Carter’s discovery and the treasures emerging from the darkness.

3) Can you talk us through the features of this design?

So each coin features an artefact discovered in the tomb. Some of these artefacts, such as the golden mask of Tutankhamun, will be familiar to most people, and there are others that are perhaps less well-known. Each artefact is surrounded by an area of rich translucent black enamel revealing a background of hieroglyphics. These hieroglyphics are actually those that appear on the back of the death mask. The visual effect is to simulate the treasures emerging from the darkness, just as they might when Howard Carter held his candle through the small opening in the tomb’s door.

4) How long did it take you to finalise this design?

The process took many months to go from research and concepts to final designs. As part of the process I was able to consult with the engraving team on the behaviour of the enamel. It was important that we got the translucency of the enamel correct so that it revealed only a tantalising glimpse of the hieroglyphics in the background, while still being straightforward to produce.

5) What did you enjoy most about designing this range?

The research process was a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading Howard Carter’s diaries and his recording of the events because he describes it all so evocatively – it was as if I was reading a great work of fiction, almost too incredible to be true.

6) How does it feel to know that you have been a part of designing a world-first series of sovereigns?

It’s always exciting to be involved in new projects, especially if they include elements that haven’t been done before. A big thanks to Hattons of London and the production team.

You can view the remarkable 2022 Tutankhamun Discovery 100th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Range HERE but be quick, we are already seeing denominations sell out!