The Evolving Effigy of Queen Elizabeth

Her Majesty The Queen’s portrait is on all current UK coins – that’s a fact we all know, isn’t it? Also referred to as The Queen’s effigy, it’s a sign of royal approval, but have you noticed that there’s more than one effigy of The Queen on the coins that we all handle every day? Take a handful of them and look more closely. You’ll find that there have been three royal coin portraits created since decimalisation in 1971.

There have, in fact, been four coin portraits of Her Majesty since she became Queen, if we include the pre-decimal period. The 2015 coin designs will be the last to bear the current royal effigy first introduced in 1998. So this seems a good moment to look back at the beautiful portrayals of Her Majesty that have graced the coins of her realm so far. We’ll consider the artists behind the designs and some of the events that have shaped Her Majesty’s long reign. And then we’ll ask the question “What might we see next?”

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The Royal Mint’s Christmas Advent Calendar is back

The Royal Mint’s Christmas Advent Calendar is back! And this year it’s bigger and better than ever! Behind each door is a new surprise: there are competitions, offers, exclusive content, firsts, sneak previews and much more! Each surprise will expire at midnight on that day, so be sure to check back every day otherwise you could miss a real Christmas treat! Click the picture below to open the calendar, then unlock today’s window!

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Could this be the best Advent Calendar you open this Christmas? #MintChristmas

Oh flower of Scotland – celebrating St Andrew’s Day

There is nothing like a country’s national emblem, flag or patron saint for arousing a passionate sense of belonging and national pride amongst its citizens. So, anyone in the locality of Scotland this weekend can expect to see some serious partying as the nation holds its annual celebrations for the St Andrew’s Day feast.

St Andrew’s Day is observed annually on 30 November in honour of the man who has been the nation’s patron saint since around the 10th century, and the festival also marks the start of Scotland’s season of winter festivals including Hogmanay and Burns Night. Those in the mood for a national St Andrew’s Day celebration can expect up to a week of culture, parades, music, lavish feasts of Scottish dishes such as ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’, and plenty of Scottish ‘ceilidh’ dancing to commemorate the saint.

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What is Stir-Up Sunday?

The last Sunday before Advent is often referred to as ‘Stir-Up Sunday’, and no it’s not a day for gossip. It is traditionally the day when Christmas puddings should be made in order for them to have enough time to mature before Christmas Day. It’s a day to bring the whole family together, as it’s tradition for every family member to take it in turns to stir the Christmas pudding mixture and make a wish.

As well as the tradition of every family member stirring the Christmas pudding mixture, it’s also tradition for a coin to be added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding – it is said to bring luck and wealth to whoever finds the coin on their plate on Christmas Day (the traditional coin was a silver sixpence). The pudding mixture should also be stirred from East to West in honour of the Three Wise Men, and some puddings are even made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his Disciples.

Add a sixpence to your pudding

There’s sure to be more stirrers than ever this year, following the popularity of The Great British Bake Off – a mere 12.3 million tuned in to the BBC to watch the final, beating the broadcast of the World Cup final! If you’re making a Christmas pudding this Stir-Up Sunday, share your pictures on The Royal Mint’s Twitter and Instagram using #StirUpSunday @RoyalMintUK and we’ll share our favourites – there may even be a little prize for our favourite photo! – Don’t forget to add your own lucky silver sixpence!

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Our Remembrance Day 2014

At this time of year The Royal Mint traditionally joins the rest of the nation in honouring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in both World Wars. However, on Remembrance Day this year we particularly remember our own fallen colleagues as the First World War centenary commemorations continue. While researching this, I’ve recently discovered, tucked away in the library of our Museum, a volume entitled ‘Annual Reports of the Deputy Master of the Mint 1914-19′.

In this leather-bound document several names of Royal Mint workers who both served and lost their lives during the First World War are recorded for posterity.

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The 2015 UK coins announced

The new coins for 2015 have been announced and are now available on royalmint.comThe biggest reveal in today’s announcement is that these 2015 UK coins will be the last coins to feature the fourth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen. Next year the definitive portrait of Her Majesty The Queen is to be updated for the first time since 1998.

Included in the line up for 2015 are two commemorative UK £5 coins; one to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and one to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. There are two commemorative UK £2 coins; the Royal Navy First World War £2 and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta £2, and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is marked on the only commemorative UK 50p. 2015 also sees Benedetto Pistrucci’s classic St. George and The Dragon design feature once again on The Sovereign.

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Behind the design: Remembrance Day 2014

In the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, The Royal Mint has released a beautiful and touching 2014 Remembrance Day coin that pays tribute to the brave service men and women who were lost in conflict. This year’s design builds on the iconic poppy image, with an evocative ‘falling poppies’ representation by Royal Mint Engraver, Laura Clancy. The design is also a further advance in The Royal Mint’s range of coloured coins, following the release of the ‘Portrait of Britain‘ collection to which Laura also contributed.

Laura’s Remembrance Day coin design is enhanced by the packaging, created by Royal Mint Designer, Dominique Evans, which builds on the falling poppies effect and the simplicity of the coin design.

Artwork for 2014 Remembrance Day coin - Laura Clancy

Artwork for 2014 Remembrance Day coin – Laura Clancy. Image Copyright The Royal Mint

In an interview with Laura we’ve gone ‘behind the design’ to get to know a little bit more about her and to find out more about the coin, the design and her inspiration.

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