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About Matthew Clark

Matt is Strategic Communications Manager at The Royal Mint, where he has worked since April 2010. Heading up the Strategic Communications team, it's his job to create the PR and social media plans for The Royal Mint, ensuring that all our great stories, history and products are shared with as many people as possible. Like many people, he didn't notice or appreciate the beauty, artistry and intricacy of coin designs before he joined The Royal Mint, but now regularly forces his friends and family to empty their pockets and study the amazing images and stories they will find there!

The ‘My Royal Mint’ coin video promotion

Here at The Royal Mint, we always love hearing from coin collectors about how much they enjoy the coins and coin sets we strike. In recent years, through facebook and twitter, we have seen this take on a new dimension with coin fans sharing photos of them and their collections with us.

Now, we would like to take that to the next level! We are calling on coin fans everywhere, all over the world, to send us short videos of the coins or coin collections they love.

Using Vine or Instagram video, we are looking for people to create short films (Vine is six seconds maximum, Instagram Video 15 seconds maximum) that feature:

  • Your favourite Royal Mint coin
  • Your Royal Mint coin collection
  • You with your favourite Royal Mint coin or coin collection

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And to reward you for your efforts, we are going to give everyone who enters* a 2013 UK Royal Christening £5 BU coin.

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The Royal Christening 2013 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

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A Golden Age ends; The Sovereign on the eve of War

The year is 1914. Europe is on the brink of four long years of bloody conflict. The First World War would go on to change millions of lives, reshaping the political and social landscape of Europe and sweeping away many pre-war institutions and customs in the process.

One such casualty was Britain’s gold Sovereign which, although firmly established, was forever shaken by the devastating effects of such a war.

The eve of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War offers an opportunity to look back and reflect upon the role of The Sovereign at that time, a coin that by 1914 could be said to have reached a peak of accuracy, accepted and trusted throughout the world, enjoying a truly Golden Age.

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How The Royal Mint marked Remembrance Day 2013

To mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, The Royal Mint today conducted its annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the war memorial at our site in Llantrisant.

Staff gathered around the memorial for the Remembrance address and the laying of wreaths, which this year was conducted by our Financial Director, Vin Wijeratne, and a special guest.

The Rt Hon David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales, paid us a visit today, and while he was here he joined us for the Remembrance Day ceremony and laid a wreath at our war memorial.

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The Rt Hon David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales, lays a wreath at The Royal Mint war memorial as part of the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

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Tradition fit for every little prince or princess

The eyes of the world were on St James’ Palace yesterday, 23rd October, for the christening of Prince George of Cambridge, first son to William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the future King and his family, and the guests, protocol and outfits of the day all featured strongly in the global media’s coverage of the event. As did our very own Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, who spoke to journalists and fans outside the gates of St James’ Palace, proudly displaying our gold kilo coin, the first of its kind to celebrate a royal christening

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Gordon Summers, Royal Mint Chief Engraver, presents the 2013 UK Royal Christening Gold Kilo coin outside the gates of St James’ Palace, London (Picture: Reuters)

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Revealing the secrets of Ironside’s decimal coin designs

It’s been an exciting week for everyone here at The Royal Mint, and fans of the coins we are proud to make. Not only did we announce the design for the new coins that celebrate the christening of Prince George of Cambridge, but we were also delighted to host the BBC One Show on Monday evening.

They  were here to broadcast live from The Royal Mint as we pushed the button to start production of a new 2013-dated 50 pence piece that is going into circulation to commemorate the centenary of Christopher Ironside. Born in 1913, he was the man who designed the new coins that were introduced when our coinage went decimal back in 1971.

Christopher_IronsideIt was a very special occasion, as our guest of honour was none other than Mrs. Jean Ironside, Christopher’s widow. She was able to catch the first coin off the press, which we placed in a capsule and presented to her as a very personal memento.

If you missed this wonderful, historic moment, you can watch it for the next few days on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.

 

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Some fast Friday coin facts

In our post yesterday we talked about some research we recently conducted into how much the population at large know about the coins in their pockets. We will share some of those results with you next week, but in the meantime we used some of the facts we uncovered to put together this great visual guide to UK coins…..hope you find it interesting!

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How much do we know about the coins in our pockets?

Everyone who works here at The Royal Mint, and all you coin fans out there, know that the coins of the United Kingdom are beautiful, intricate works of art, everlasting storytellers of the great events and figures of our history and culture.

But how wide does that knowledge go? How much do the general public really know about the coins in their pockets, the coins they use every day to buy a paper, pay for parking, or help them make decisions?

We were intrigued. So, we decided to ask.

We recently conducted a survey of some 2,000 adults in the UK, asking them questions such as how many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation, how many sides does a 50p coin have, and how many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use.

The results were fascinating, and we will share some of them with you all in our blog next week. Needless to say, the results show we have some work to do in order to increase people’s knowledge of, and love for, the coins they use everyday.

To help people get to know their coins better, and to gain a greater appreciation of their beauty and diversity, we have recently launched three new collector albums, which are available now from our website

Following on from the hugely popular London 2012 50p collector albums, these new folders are the same size and format, but are designed to help people collect all the other circulating commemorative 50p, £1 and £2 coins that are out there in everyday use.

50p front

This 50p album has space for 16 50p coins, from Britannia to Benjamin Britten. One of the rarest and hardest to find is the Kew Gardens 50p coin from 2009, as only 210,000 went into circulation.

50p inside

At the other end of the scale, some 3.4 million of Matthew Dent’s WWF 50p coins have entered circulation since 2011!

The £1 coin celebrated its 30th birthday this year, and since its introduction in 1983 there have been 21 different designs that celebrate the symbols, nature and engineering achievements of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

£1 front

Again, the different amounts of the coins that have gone out into public use means that some are more difficult to find than others. Nearly 100 million of 2005′s Menai Bridge design were produced….

£1 inside

…while just over 2.5 million of 2010′s ‘London’ coin made it out into the world.

Finally, the £2 album encourages people to hunt down all the different £2 designs that have been released up to and including the hugely popular 2013 London Underground coins, one of which (the logo design) was designed by the same people who created the iconic torch for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

£2 front

Each album also includes space for a special completer medallion for each collection, with more details to come on those very soon. We hope they will prove very popular, and that they might prompt a greater appreciation of and interest in the coins we use every day.

Do you have a favourite coin out there in circulation today?

We’ll share some more of the research results with you next week, but in the meantime, here are the answers to the questions we posted above.

Q. How many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation? A. 23

Q. How many sides does a 50p coin have? A. 7

Q. How many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use. A. 3

Happy hunting!