Happy New Year – it’s the Lunar Year of the Dog!

Happy Chinese New Year! This year, we celebrate the Lunar Year of the Dog, an animal widely regarded as faithful and loyal. The dog follows on from last year’s Year of the Rooster and is the eleventh animal in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle.

Designer of The Royal Mint’s Shēngxiào UK Lunar Coin collection and print-maker Wuon-Gean Ho says she is “always interested in depicting animals in motion” and this movement has been captured in her design; drawing on the dog’s playful side, the dog can be seen jumping through the air “leaping across the waves.”

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Guest blog: Helen Pankhurst ‘Forging a much better place’

The Representation of the People Act 1918 meant that a greater number and a broader mix of voices could be heard at the polls. In 2018, we mark the centenary of the historic act on a UK 50p coin. Emmeline Pankhurst was a British Political activist and a leader of the British suffragette movement who played a crucial part in securing votes for women. In this guest blog, Emmeline’s great-granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst, tells us more about Emmeline’s impact on the passing of an act that has paved the way to our rights today.

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Guest blog: Mari Takayanagi: The Representation of the People Act 1918: 100 Years

For the majority democracy is a crucial part of our lives and it’s hard to believe that over 100 years ago, at the outbreak of the First World War most of the general public did not have the right to vote. The political voices of many of the men who fought on the foreign battlefields and women who ensured the upkeep of the country were ignored. As the war came to an end and after decades of action by the ‘suffragists’, their voices were finally heard and the 1918 Representation of the People Act passed through Parliament with an overwhelming majority.

Dr Mari Takayanagi is Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives, where she has worked in various roles including public services, outreach, preservation and access. She is joint project manager and co-curator of ‘Voice and Vote: ‘Women’s Place in Parliament’, Parliament’s exhibition to celebrate 100 years of the vote for some women and all men in 2018. In her guest article, Mari takes us through the events that led up to the signing of the act, and the significance of this political milestone being marked on a UK 50p coin.

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Behind the design: The 2018 Lunar Year of the Dog Coins

Around the world, Chinese New Year is celebrated with the exchange of gifts and money, traditionally given in red envelopes to wish the recipient love, luck and prosperity. Our Shēngxiào Collection combines centuries of Chinese tradition with British minting craftsmanship, celebrating the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac; each with their own unique characteristics and qualities. This year it is the Lunar Year of the Dog, the fifth animal in the Shēngxiào collection to be brought to life by artist Wuon-Gean Ho; following designs for the Year of the Horse, the Year of the Sheep the Year of the Monkey and Lunar Year of the Rooster.

We will bring in the Chinese New Year on 17 February, ahead of the celebrations we caught up with designer, Wuon-Gean Ho to find out a little more about her Lunar Year of the Dog coin design.

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Revealing a “monster” year for UK coins…

It’s been an exciting week for UK coin collectors and if you missed the announcements on our FacebookTwitter or Instagram then not to worry, we’ve got all the information you need to bring you up to speed. As we welcomed in the new year, new coins for 2018 were also announced! In total, five 2018 UK coins have been revealed, so far…

Anniversaries for the Representation of the People Act, the RAF and Frankenstein are all marked on UK coins in 2018, with a £2 coin for Armistice bringing our First World War ‘story through coins’ to a close. We are also celebrating Prince George’s 5th birthday this year, with a fresh interpretation of St George and the Dragon by Jody Clark. So, here’s a closer look at the first reveal of coins for 2018:

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2017: royal celebrations, a big change and much more…

Well, what a year! As 2017 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look back on a year packed full of new beginnings, royal celebrations, and of course, the milestone moments that have been marked on UK coins. It’s safe to say 2017 has been an exciting year here at The Royal Mint. In a year that saw 36 commemorative coin designs released, as a nation, we also welcomed a big change to UK currency with the introduction of the new one pound coin, and not to mention His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visiting The Royal Mint Experience!

Outside of events here at The Royal Mint, it’s been a very royal year; Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, we marked the centenary of the House of Windsor, The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties, The Queen and Prince Philip reached their platinum wedding anniversary, celebrating 70 years of marriage, and most recently, it was announced that there will be another Windsor wedding in 2018 as His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales is set to marry Ms Meghan Markle.

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It’s not Christmas without…the Christmas Tree!

The tradition of coins at Christmas has a very long history, from the three wise men bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, to St Nicholas placing coins in stockings drying on the chimney ledge. Not to mention the slice of good luck if you find the silver sixpence in the Christmas pudding on Christmas day; somehow it’s just not Christmas without a coin – and yes, the chocolate ones count too!

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Behind the Design: Remembrance Day 2017

Ever since Remembrance Day began in 1919, the nation has fallen silent on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.

In 2012, The Royal Mint started to strike a special Remembrance Day £5 Coin, in honour of servicemen and women who have lost their lives in times of war. This year, for the first time, a Remembrance design has been struck on an official UK coin. Bearing poppies, synonymous with Remembrance Day, the coin has been designed by Royal Mint designer, Stephen Taylor. We caught up with designer, Stephen to find out more about his 2017 Remembrance Day design.

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Royal Celebration Series: 1947, a Royal wedding

In 2017, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will reach their Platinum Wedding Anniversary, celebrating 70 years of marriage. 

In the last two years, Her Majesty The Queen has celebrated three hugely significant milestones. In 2015 The Queen became the Longest Reigning Monarch in British history. In 2016 she became the first British monarch to celebrate her 90th birthday and earlier this year, The Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee. Earlier this year we began our Royal Celebration blog seriestaking a trip down memory lane, recalling key anniversaries and celebrations from The Queen’s reignAs we continue our Royal Celebration Series, we go back to 1947, a Royal wedding.

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Pioneers in the sky – Aviation in the First World War

At the outbreak of the First World War few people believed that aircraft would play a major role in the conflict. Hot air balloons had been used for observation and reconnaissance for almost 100 years and it was thought aircraft would serve a similar purpose. As the war developed the race for superior air power began, shaping the history of human flight as we know it. Alongside the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) grew from a force of a few hundred aeroplanes in 1914 into a huge, independent air arm of thousands of combat and support aircraft.

Pilots, observers and aircrews risked their lives testing the new technology to its limits. Deployed above the battlefields, often beyond the call of duty, they suffered the previously unknown effects of altitude, G-forces and freezing temperatures. Later, they also faced great personal danger presented by enemy guns and combat fighters. In this guest blog post, Charlotte Czyzyk from Imperial War Museum tells the story of the First World War in the air.

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