This year, on Maundy Thursday, Her Majesty The Queen will travel to Blackburn Cathedral for a Maundy Ceremony during which, among many other traditions, she will hand out Maundy Money. The tradition of the Monarch giving money to the needy on Maundy Thursday dates back 700 years, the tradition eventually becoming known as the Royal Maundy. Today’s recipients are usually people over the age of 70, chosen not because they are needy but for service to their churches and communities.
Since its introduction in 2013 there has been some confusion as to whether or not the UK’s first ever £20 coin is actually legal tender, leading to questions very much like those raised about the £5 coin when that was first introduced in 1990.
The simple answer is: “Yes, it is!”. However, we thought we would give you a bit more detail than that.
During his Budget speech last week George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed that he and HM Treasury believe there is a strong case for introducing a new £1 coin. The Royal Mint has produced a prototype for a replacement £1 coin which utilises cutting-edge iSIS technology to combat counterfeiting and reduce the number of counterfeit coins entering general circulation. The proposed £1 coin is a 12-sided, bi-metallic coin – two of the features that add to the coin’s security! But what do you think of this proposed coin?
This week we welcomed George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to The Royal Mint. Following his recent announcement about the new, highly secure UK £1 coin, the Chancellor visited us to meet the team who developed the iSIS technology that will be used in the new £1 coin.
We recently trialed the first of what we hope will become a regular feature for our Social Media fans - #AskaCurator. It is your chance to ask The Royal Mint Museum’s curators absolutely anything – from questions on a specific coin to how to stop silver from toning.
Here is a selection of our favourite questions, picked and answered by one of the Museum’s curators, Chris:
The second part of our series on the life of Queen Anne looks into the events during the early years of her reign. If you missed part one you can read it here.
Anne ascended the throne on 8th March 1702 following the death of her unpopular brother-in-law, William of Orange. He had shared the throne with Anne’s sister Mary since 1689, and had inherited it for life following Mary’s death in 1694. He and Mary had no children so Anne was the undisputed heiress to the throne following his death in 1702. In contrast to many Kings and Queens before her, Anne came to the throne peacefully…
Following our recent revelation about the rarest UK coin in current circulation – the Kew Gardens 50p – we’ve seen lots of comments about another, even rarer 50p. People have been talking about the 1992-3 50p that marked the UK’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers and completion of the Single European Market. And they are not wrong, as only 109,000 of that coin were minted. But don’t get too excited, because you’re never going to find it in your change these days. It was one of the larger, heavier 50p coins that, following a review of the UK currency in 1994, was withdrawn from circulation in 1997.
Following a recent look at updated mintage figures of circulating coins, we finally have the answer to the question: What is the rarest coin design in circulation today?
Last Thursday a press release was issued on The Royal Mint website that answered that very question. It revealed that the rarest coin design in current circulation is the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p design. What happened next saw the coin’s popularity exceed any expectations and catapulted this unlikely topic into the limelight.
Both these well-known beliefs are as true today as they’ve ever been, but we believe they can be combined, because coins as love tokens and gifts have long played their part in romantic rituals. There are many records of such traditions, some stretching back centuries. With today’s fashion for all things vintage, maybe now is a good time to resurrect them, so – how would you feel about that special person in your life demonstrating their love for you with the gift of a coin?
1672 Britannia coin
Before you answer too quickly, let’s take a look at some of the history and meaning behind such an idea. It is thought that in the 17th Century the love-struck King Charles II was so enamoured of Frances Stewart (ONE of his many loves) that he asked for the design of Britannia on his coinage to be inspired by her beautiful image – although there is no definite record that his wishes were carried out, the diarist Samuel Pepys remarked that the Britannia design did bear a striking resemblance to the future Duchess of Richmond. Her image has changed, but Britannia has remained a feature of modern British coinage ever since – lasting far longer than any marriage ever has!
One of the 2014 Commemorative Coin themes is the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Queen Anne. Events during Anne’s reign have a significance that still resonates today, so we want to take you on a journey through the life of this Queen, whose death brought to an end the era of the Stuart monarchs. As today is the anniversary of Anne’s birth, we thought this was the ideal date to start at the very beginning…
The 300th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Anne 2014 UK £5
Anne was born into the Stuart royal family at St James’ Palace, London on 6th February 1665. She was the 2nd daughter and 4th child of the Duke and Duchess of York. Of their eight children, only Anne and her elder sister, Mary, survived beyond childhood, with both becoming Queen of England in due course.