Sitting with Jane: The Royal Mint book bench

For 200 years, Jane Austen has delighted readers across the world with her Regency-era romances. Now we celebrate her life and works by featuring her portrait on a UK £2 coin, designed by Royal Mint graphic designer Dominique Evans. But, we are not alone in the celebrations, Jane Austen’s creativity and talent is being remembered across the country, from walks to talks, festivals to exhibitions and even a book bench trail!

Sitting With Jane is a unique public art trail honouring Jane Austen’s connections with Basingstoke and her birthplace, Steventon. The trail brought to us by Wild in Art and Destination Basingstoke combines local culture and history with a creative, modern interpretation for all to see – 24 ‘book benches’. Each bench has been designed and painted by a professional artist and features a personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme, and, just like we have previously done with Shaun-Xiào and Gromit Unleashed, The Royal Mint has sponsored and designed their own book bench.

Picture by Stewart Turkington

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Are there more 2016 UK coins to come?

We recently announced the commemorative themes for 2016, and what a response we’ve had. We’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback we’ve received on our Facebook and Twitter; it is safe to say that 2016 is set to be a bumper year for UK coins!

To recap, in total we have revealed eight new UK coins so far. These include one 50p, one £1 coin, five £2 coins, and one £5 coin. Anniversaries for The Great Fire of London, the Battle of Hastings and William Shakespeare are all marked alongside the last ’round pound’, a £2 coin honouring the role of the Army in the First World War and a £5 coin marking Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. But, have the recently updated collector albums revealed that there are yet more to come?

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The 2016 UK coin designs revealed

It’s been an exciting week for UK coin collectors and if you’ve not been following the announcements on Facebook or Twitter then this article should bring you up to speed! Those of you who have been collecting coins for a few years or more will know that November is normally an exciting time at The Royal Mint, as the coins of the following year are released. So, you’ll be excited to learn that on Monday the new coins for 2016 were announced! In total, eight 2016 UK coins have been revealed alongside The Sovereign for 2016.

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19 coins to find in your change in 2015

It’s safe to say that 2015 has been an exciting year for coin collectors and a historic year for UK coins! It’s been a year that’s seen the coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen change and Britannia return to UK coins on a new definitive £2 coin. There have also been several commemorative themes marked on UK coins in 2015, including the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the centenary of the First World War – all of which have been marked on circulating coins!

With so many exciting things happening to the coins we know and love, lots of you have been asking us ‘Just what will we find in our change this year?‘, ‘Which coins will feature the new portrait of The Queen?‘ and ‘How many coins will be struck in 2015?‘. So, we’ve created a handy fact sheet for you to keep track of your 2015 Coin Hunt.

Coin Hunt infographicIn total there will be 19 different UK circulating coins struck in 2015!

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Could this be the most popular coin of 2015?

Earlier this week The Royal Mint announced that it would be striking a range of coins to mark the moment Her Majesty The Queen becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. The announcement proved very popular with coin collectors and fans of the royal family alike, as the website experienced overwhelming levels of traffic – the like not seen since the launch of the first ever face value £100 coin. So, could this be the most popular coin of 2015? Have your say in our poll below.

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Coin collecting: A hobby to take on holiday

We’re now into the peak of summer and many of us have already returned from our summer holidays with slightly lighter pockets than when we left. That is, I’d imagine, the truth for most people, apart from perhaps us coin collectors. I recently returned from France with a new collection of Euro coins. Before I left, my coin collection only consisted of UK coins, so I set off on my holiday excited to expand my collection.

euro coin collecting

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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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Behind the design: Dylan Thomas 100

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.

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Who Was Dylan Thomas?

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.
Dylan Thomas statue at the Maritime Quarter, Swansea. Image Copyright Stu’s Images, via Wikimedia Commons

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What’s In My Change?

Coins from change

How many of us have ever asked ourselves the question – what’s in my change? Those of us who have will know the answer, of course, which is – more history, art and treasure than you could imagine! Let me elaborate…

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