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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Fans cash in on Harry Potter coins
JK Rowling
JK Rowling, the author behind Harry Potter
Fictional teenage wizard Harry Potter has cast a spell over his fans, after more than 25,000 specially minted coins sold in less than five hours.

It was billed as the world's first official legal tender coin based on the JK Rowling books, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

The first Potter film, The Philosopher's Stone, comes out in November.

The coins are being struck at the Pobjoy Mint in Surrey.

Managing director Tanya Pobjoy said: "It has gone manic here. People are going crazy buying them.

"We sold more than 25,000 in five hours on Wednesday,"

When I heard the movie was coming out, I thought what a wonderful idea it would be to make wizard money

Taya Pobjoy, Pobjoy Mint
On one side, the gold, silver and cupro nickel coins feature Harry casting a magic spell.

On the other, there is an image of the Queen, who had to give clearance for the sale.

The coins are legal tender on the Isle of Man, although mainland retailers will accept them at their own discretion.

However, the coins' main attraction are as a collector's item.

Ms Pobjoy, who runs what is billed as Europe's largest private mint, got the idea for the coin when reading the first Potter book in which the teenage wizard goes to a magic bank and withdraws coins left to him by his parents.

"When I heard the movie was coming out, I thought what a wonderful idea it would be to make wizard money," said Ms. Pobjoy.

Royal approval

"So I approached the government on the Isle of Man and they are very pro-filming.

"They asked me to come up with designs and we worked with Warner Brothers, who licensed us.

"They were sent to Buckingham Palace for approval as her majesty has to give the go-ahead for any images of her," she said.

The bespectacled Harry, a quaint boarding-school throwback in the era of PlayStation and Pokemon, has been hailed for single-handedly teaching a whole new generation of children the joys of reading.

The publishing industry has been astonished by the universality of the books written by a single mother in an Edinburgh cafe in between school runs.

The stories have topped best-seller lists around the world from Argentina to China and have been translated into 42 languages from Albanian to Zulu.

See also:

17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Legal fight to 'protect Potter'
06 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Harry Potter battles Chinese pirates
27 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Python joins Potter cast
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