We’ve been down this road before. The Guardian reports on the mistakes on a new British £2 coin commemorating the 75th anniversary of H. G. Wells’ death.

The top hat on the invisible man isn’t supported by Wells’ words. He is described as wearing “a wide brimmed hat”. The space ships in The War of the Worlds are referred to as tripods: last time I looked a tripod had three legs not four. The designer of the coin, Chris Costello, responds “The characters in War of the Worlds have been depicted many times, and I wanted to create something original and contemporary. My design takes inspiration from a variety of machines featured in the book – including tripods and the handling machines which have five jointed legs and multiple appendages. The final design combines multiple stories into one stylized and unified composition that is emblematic of all of H.G. Well’s [sic] work and fits the unique canvas of a coin.” OK?

In the picture of the coins above you can’t see the inspiring quotation around the edge of the coin, “Good books are warehouses of ideas”, but apparently Wells never wrote it. He did in an early work, Select Conversations With an Uncle (Now Extinct) and Two Other Reminiscences, have a character who said, ironically, “Good books are the warehouses of ideals”, which was where he wanted them to stay. Just because googling QuoteFancy, QuoteMaster, etc. tells you that H. G. Wells said “Good books are warehouses of ideas” doesn’t unfortunately make it true.

A similar Royal Mint mess-up arose over the Jane Austen £10 note, which was printed with the quote, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – a line spoken not by Austen but by her character Caroline Bingley, a book-hater who was also being ironic. At least in that case they did quote the inappropriate line correctly. You’d think these guys would learn that it might be a good idea to consult some expert on matters other than die stamping.