A set of £2 commemorative coins marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death has been released into circulation.
Launched by Paapa Essiedu, currently starring as Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) summer season, the special edition pieces feature three designs - representing the playwright's comedies, histories and tragedies.
Produced by The Royal Mint in collaboration with the RSC, the collection is the first of its kind, dedicated to the accomplishments of a single artist. Inspired by RSC props, and designed by acclaimed sculptor John Bergdahl, the comedies are represented by a jester's hat and staff, the histories by a crown and a dagger, and the tragedies by a skull and a rose.
Essiedu said: "I am delighted to honour Shakespeare's work by launching the coins into circulation here in Stratford-upon-Avon, the town where he was born and where he died 400 years ago.
"I look forward to them making their way into purses and pockets around the country, reminding people of the great comedies, tragedies and histories that he wrote."
The coins have gone into the tills at the RSC theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and will eventually be released to the rest of the country.
Anne Jessopp, the Royal Mint's director of commemorative coin, said: "Shakespeare's works have been a huge part of British culture for over 400 years, and much of his work makes reference to coins, so it was only fitting that we celebrated this legacy with a series in his honour.
"We all have memories of Shakespeare - puzzling over his plays at school, taking a trip to the theatre to see them on stage, or even stepping onto the boards ourselves. We hope that when people find the coins in their change they're reminded of the impact Shakespeare has had on their lives."