Fans of Beatrix Potter desperate to get their hands on a set of new commemorative 50p coins crashed the Royal Mint website today.
Tens of thousands of people logged on shortly after the first coin in the new collection was announced only to be greeted with the dreaded message: “You are in a queue.”
The Mint blamed “very high volumes of traffic” and urged people to be patient and not to refresh or reload. “This will only increase your wait,” it said.
“You will be directed to our website as quickly as possible.”
The set of coloured 50p coins features characters from Potter’s Peter Rabbit series of books in their original outfits.
The first coin will show Peter himself, dressed in his distinctive bright blue jacket and will be followed by Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten and Mr Jeremy Fisher, all re-imagined in full colour to fit on to a commemorative coin.
But such was the demand, people faced waiting for hours to get a chance to order the new set, prompting many to vent their frustration on social media.
— Steve Spalding (@stevespalding) April 3, 2017
And pretty soon, the site crashed:
Oops! We’re experiencing a bit of a glitch at the moment, so are unable to take any new orders. We’re working on it, so please bear with us! pic.twitter.com/JjQ1uoRgT4
— The Royal Mint (@RoyalMintUK) 3 April 2017
The hand painted style of Potter’s original illustrations will be captured on the silver proof coins by vivid colour printed designs. The intense red of Jeremy Fisher’s jacket, the blue of Tom Kitten’s pyjamas and the green of Benjamin Bunny’s hat will all be brought to life.
The 2016 collection also starred Peter Rabbit, with Jemima Puddleduck, Squirrel Nutkin and Mrs Tiggywinkle. The range was enormously popular sold out within days.
“While we always knew that the Beatrix Potter characters would be a huge hit, the enormous popularity of the 2016 set exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Anne Jessopp, director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint.
“We’re delighted to be able to present another group of her exquisite characters, giving them a new lease of life on our specially-designed coloured commemorative coins.”
More than 45 million copies of Potter’s original book, The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, have been sold since it was first published in 1902.
Filming starts this month on a Hollywood big screen version of the enduring children’s story. James Corden and Margot Robbie are among the stars voicing characters in the movie, which combines the scenery of the Lake District with CGI animation and is due for release in March 2018.
Potter, who lived in the Cumbrian beauty spot for the last 40 years of her life, died in 1943 aged 77.