Guest Blog, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: Who was William Shakespeare?

This year marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare and, to celebrate his enduring legacy, three UK £2 coins have been released. This month, on the anniversary of his birth, we celebrate a poet, playwright, actor and literary great, whose legacy has not only survived but thrived for 400 years. From his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, that in itself is a celebration of his works, life and times, to a nation that still study, appreciate and enjoy his work, William Shakespeare’s legacy is unrivaled and its influence unquestionable.

In this blog post, the first in a series written by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for The Royal Mint blog, we find out more about William Shakespeare the man, where he was from, his family and his life.

William-Shakespeare's-Birthplace
William Shakespeare’s birthplace

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Discover Shakespeare, Behind the scenes at the Royal Shakespeare Company Prop Department

This weekend the United Kingdom will mark the 400th anniversary of the death of perhaps one of the greatest playwrights that has ever lived, William Shakespeare. His plays have been watched, studied and enjoyed by generations for more than 400 years. They need no introduction; Romeo and Juliet. Hamlet. Macbeth. These are just a few of the plays that have become household names. In total, William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, many of which are still performed on stages across the world today.

One organisations still bringing William Shakespeare’s plays to life in 2016 is the Royal Shakespeare Company. From the Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to their travelling shows in London, the United States and across the globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company has been bringing Shakespeare’s plays to the masses for over 50 years.

We recently visited the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to find out more about the world of William Shakespeare’s work and plays. And, with props the main feature of the three new Shakespeare UK £2 coin designs, we spoke to Alan Fell, Head of the Props Department at the Royal Shakespeare Company, on our visit to find out more about the role props play in bringing Shakespeare’s work to life.

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Her Majesty The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday!

This year, on 21 April, Her Majesty The Queen reaches her 90th birthday – the first British monarch ever to reach this milestone! This is another in a long list of records to be broken by The Queen. Just last year, on 9 September 2015, The Queen became Britain’s longest reigning monarch when her reign surpassed that of her Grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years and 215 days. Not only is The Queen Britain’s longest reigning monarch, she has also conducted more royal visits than any other British monarch, undertaking more than 270 official overseas trips visiting 116 different countries. The Queen has opened fifteen bridges, launched 23 ships and is Patron of more than 600 charities. 

Soon, it will be time to bring out the bunting again as the festivities begin! As celebrations will begin on April 21st in Windsor and will be drawn to a close with a street party along The Mall on Sunday 12 June.

The Queens 90th birthday silver coins 7

So, exactly how will the nation be celebrating this momentous occasion?

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The Queen’s Beasts are brought to life in a new bullion coin range

We have some exciting news for you today. A striking new gold and silver bullion coin range is available on the Royal Mint Bullion website. The Queen’s Beasts bullion coin range is a series of new designs based on the 10 heraldic beasts, which begins with the Lion of England.

As well as introducing a range of striking designs to our bullion portfolio, The Queen’s Beasts range also provides a new option for silver investors. A new two-ounce silver bullion coin, struck to 999.9 fineness, is introduced alongside 1 oz and ¼ oz gold versions – the first time an official two-ounce United Kingdom silver bullion coin has been struck. In the UK, The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins will be exclusively available from www.royalmintbullion.com.

queen's beasts lion of england gold bullion coins

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Guest blog: Who was Beatrix Potter?

In 2016, The Royal Mint are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. The occasion is marked with a series of five coins; a standalone coin that honours Beatrix Potter herself and the legacy she left behind, and four coins that bear the illustrations of some of Potter’s best-loved and most iconic characters. All five coins will enter circulation later this year, making it the first time that characters from children’s literature will appear on UK coinage! Commemorative versions, that are brought to life with special colour-printing, will also be available.

The wonderful world of Beatrix Potter has graced the lives of many; a pioneer of storytelling, she created many small books for many small hands. Both her characters and tales have been cherished for more than 100 years and her legacy lives on through them. But who was Beatrix Potter? In light of International Women’s Day today, we’ve been in touch with Linda Lear at the Beatrix Potter Society, to give us an insight into the lady behind the tales; Beatrix the artist, the entrepreneur, the natural scientist and the conservationist.

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The Great British Coin Hunt is growing!

The Great British Coin Hunt began during the London 2012 Olympic games, when collecting coins from change became a sport in itself. In total, 29 50p coins – each representing an Olympic sport – were issued in 2011 and 2012 to mark the home games. These coins were collected in their millions and unlocked a world of coin collecting for people of all ages, right across the country. People everywhere stopped spending and started collecting the coins in their change. But the Coin Hunt didn’t stop there. In fact, the 29 50p designs issued to mark the games joined around 60 different designs already in circulation on 50p, £1 and £2 coins.

In the last four years the Coin Hunt has continued to grow, with new UK coins released each year. Today you’ll find no fewer than 103 different designs in circulation and that’s before you include the 2016 coins, which you’ll find in your change later this year. 2016 is a bumper year for UK coins and, by the end of the year, the Coin Hunt will grow to 115 designs! So just where do you keep all these coins? Well, in 2012 a collector album was released along with the 29 50p coins to give collectors a means to catalog and store their new collection. As the Coin Hunt has grown, so has the range of albums, and today there are 10 albums and several ways to collect UK coins from change.

coin hunt collector albums

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Your Collections: Robert Durrant

This year, The Royal Mint is inviting coin collectors far and wide to share their collections with us and our Royal Mint blog readers. From old coins to new, commemorative to circulating, we would like to get to know more about you and your collections; from the whys to the whats, putting your collections in the spotlight in our new ‘Your Collections’ blog feature.

So far we have had a wonderful response to our request and have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your responses. So, without further ado, we would like to introduce our first installment of Your Collections in which we find out more about 42 year old coin collector, Robert Durrant, and his vast collection of coins from across the globe that began with a penny he found in his parent’s garden.

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