Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Brunel's cheroot remains despite imminent smoking ban

It's only 18 days 'till the smoking ban takes effect in England, so I was somewhat surprised to see that recently minted two pound coins by the Royal Mint, struck only last year, have not 'airbrushed' out Victorian engineer Isembard Kingdom Brunel's cheroot, seen sticking out of the left side of his mouth in the photo above. This is in contrast to the US Postal Service's policy of airbrushing the ciggies out of images on stamps commemorating Humphrey Bogart, James Dean and others.

The Royal Mint's decision is particularly odd considering that Brunel's fatal collapse on the deck of the SS Great Western on its maiden voyage was caused by a combination of the stress of the project, a bottle of port or red wine a day, and chainsmoking cheroots. But then the Royal Mint is a bit odd. There have apparently been complaints that they haven't minted enough two pound coins, and have instead continued to mint mountains of pennies that nobody wants.

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