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.
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!
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.
The new coins for 2015 have been announced and are now available on royalmint.com. The 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.
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. 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.
The Coin of the Year 2015 nominations have been announced by Krause Publications. The coins nominated for this year’s awards were released in 2013, and represent the highest achievement in theme, design and marketing from mints and central banks around the world. There are 94 nominees across 10 categories, and the awards will be presented as part of the World Money Fair held in Berlin next year.
We’re delighted to say that a number of our very own coins have been nominated! They are:
Best Circulating Coin:
150th Anniversary of the London Underground 2013 £2
Best Contemporary Event:
The 60th Anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation 2013 £5
Royal Christening 2013 £5
Best Gold Coin:
The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Benjamin Britten 2013 Gold 50p
Talented Royal Mint Engraver, Lee Jones, is the artist behind the coin that honours literary giant Dylan Thomas and celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth. Lee’s design has elicited much comment so, in a recent interview with him, we’ve gone ‘behind the design’to find out what it was like to design the coin that commemorates one of his heroes.
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on 27th October 1914 in Swansea, just after the outbreak of the First World War. No doubt, the social changes brought by the Great War impacted on his family and childhood, as it did for everyone in the UK during those years. His parents, fluent Welsh speakers who originated from Carmarthenshire, gave him his Welsh christian name, believed to mean ‘son of the waves’. However, in line with the thinking of those times, Dylan was not brought up to speak Welsh, which explains why one of the most famous of Welshmen wrote exclusively in English. Happily for the English-speaking world, this accident of destiny made his works internationally accessible.
Dylan Thomas statue at the Maritime Quarter, Swansea. Image Copyright Stu’s Images, via Wikimedia Commons