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 It was one of the larger, heavier 50p coins that, following a review of the UK currency in 1994, was withdrawn from circulation in 1997.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.
When HM Treasury made the announcement; ‘The Trial of the Pyx will be held in Goldsmith’s Hall, London on 4th February 2014”, I’m sure this raised a myriad of questions in most people’s minds. Questions such as; what on earth is a pyx? and why is it on trial?
It’s actually an historic event dating from 1282 and it is, indeed, a judicial trial as most of us would recognise, complete with judge, jury and verdict. I think it’s now time, after more than 700 years of its history, that we put it under the spotlight and shed some light on its history and proceedings. So let’s begin…
The Chinese New Year is one of China’s oldest festivals, with records of it going back as far as the 14th century BC. As its date falls so differently to the New Year celebrated in the Western world, an explanation will help us to understand why that’s so. It’s believed that Emperor Huangdi introduced the lunar calendar, based on the lunisolar cycle. This observes the moon phases and solar years to determine the exact date that Chinese New Year falls on, which will always be between 21st January and 21st February.
Traditionally ‘Burns Night Suppers’ are held all over the UK on or around the 25th January to celebrate the life and work of The Bard, Robert Burns. The day is often referred to as Burns Night or Robert Burns Day and falls on the day of his birth; 25th January 1759. 2014 marks the 255th Anniversary of Burns’ birth and the 211th Anniversary of the Burns Night we celebrate today. During his short life, he was prolific in his poetry and writing, and also in his fathering of 14 children with 6 different mothers! While he is well known for his writing, a possibly less well-known and unlikely fact is that he was employed as a Tax Inspector from 1789 until his death in 1796, at only 37 years old. A particularly tragic fact is that his wife gave birth to their last child on the day of his funeral.
We’ve decided to brighten up your Blue Monday with a chance to win one of our ‘Great British Coin Hunt’ Coin Collector Albums. Blue Monday is the day which is reported to be the gloomiest of the year – this year it is 20th January 2014.
To be in with a chance of winning this prize Follow @RoyalMintUK on Twitter and tweet us a smile with the hashtag #BlueMonday before 8pm on 20th January (Blue Monday).
Example Tweet – ‘@RoyalMintUK :) #BlueMonday’
Tweets must include @RoyalMintUK, a smile (either :), :-), smile, or a picture of a smile) and the hashtag #BlueMonday.
We will pick 3 winners at random from all who tweet correctly before 8pm. Winners will be informed on Tuesday 21st January via Twitter.
A New Year means new coins. Which means new collections, as well as new additions to existing collections. It also means it’s the perfect time to start coin collecting as a hobby. Whether you’re an existing collector or a new starter, the New Year poses a perfect time to start or add to a coin collection.
With the popularity of the Olympic 50p coin collections in 2012, coin collecting as a hobby saw a significant influx in new collectors. Two years later it continues to see its’ profile rise as a popular hobby. Today, coin collecting is an accessible and affordable hobby shared by thousands of people worldwide. Many are attracted to its’ artistic, educational, cultural and historic qualities.
2014 is another big year for Britain, and here at The Royal Mint we will be commemorating some significant anniversaries, as well as celebrating another addition to our nation’s sporting heritage. In 2014 we will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of Queen Anne, 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War and the 500th anniversary of Trinity House. 2014 also sees us welcome a new addition to our sporting heritage when the Commonwealth Games returns to Glasgow for the 3rd time in its 84 year history.