Gearing up for the Commonwealth Games!

On Sunday The Queen’s Baton Relay visited The Royal Mint as it began its second day in Wales and continued its tour of the UK. The day began at 7.30am when the gates to The Royal Mint opened and the baton was carried over the threshold by Kate Hughes, a lucky employee chosen at random to be one of six employees to carry The Queen’s Commonwealth Games baton during its visit. The six employees paraded the baton in front of a gathered crowd before handing it to Welsh 400m hurdler and European Champion, Rhys Williams.

Representing Team Wales, Rhys carried the baton through the mint, entering the coin production rooms where he pushed the button to begin production of the official circulating 50p that celebrates the 2014 Commonwealth games.

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The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which will last 11 days, will see thousands of athletes from across The Commonwealth competing in 17 sports. Lord Smith,Chairman of Glasgow 2014, described the games as: “the largest multi-sport event Scotland has ever hosted”. They will be the first major sporting event in the UK, and the first sporting event to grace UK coins, since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. London 2012 was heavily represented on our coinage with 29 different 50p designs entering circulation. Today’s baton relay marked the start of production of the Glasgow 2014 50p – of which around 5 million are expected to be produced – and they’ll begin entering circulation in time for the games!

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This is the third time that the Commonwealth Games have been commemorated on UK coinage. The first was the XIII Commonwealth Games on the 1986 single colour £2 – now demonetised. Then in 2002 the XVII Commonwealth Games were represented on the bi-metallic £2 coins – four versions were created each featuring a different flag to represent England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – all of which are still in circulation today.

To create a dynamic design for the Glasgow 2014 50p, the designers – Alex Loudon and Dan Flashman – took two of the most iconic sports, athletics and cycling, and added lettering inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh – the famous Scottish architect and designer. I can’t help but think that the highly decorated, multiple medal winning, Scottish born Chris Hoy was the inspiration for the cyclist on the design.

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The team of baton bearers representing The Royal Mint were selected from all areas of the business, from production to marketing, and included: Richard Shephard (MRB), Gareth Nicholls (MRB), Anthony Waters (AP&P), Kerry Willecome (Product Marketing), Kate Hughes (International Sales) and Silvia Reis (Engineering Design). Product Marketing Manager, Kerry Willecome, was part of the team who developed the Glasgow 2014 50p coin.

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