Behind the design: Representation of the People Act 1918

Before and during the First World War very little of the general public had the opportunity to have their political voices heard. After decades of struggling to be heard a 100 years ago their voices were finally listened to and the 1918 Representation of the People Act was passed through Parliament with an overwhelming majority. A century later the act’s legacy lives on and democracy remains to be a crucial part of the lives of the general public of the UK. We mark this political milestone on a 50p coin designed by Royal Mint designer, Stephen Taylor. We recently caught up with Stephen to discover more about the story and inspiration behind the design of the Representation of the People Act 1918 50p coin.

Read more…

Matt Curtis; “the moment I realised I was a coin collector..”

Matt Curtis grew up immersed in the world of numismatics. His father, a director of a London-based numismatic dealer and auction house, and the General Secretary for the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN). Amongst Matt’s earliest memories are his visits to the IAPN Annual Congress as a six year-old and then again aged 10. Later, as a teenager, Matt earned summer holiday pocket money working alongside his father.

Matt’s combined experiences in the numismatic industry have contributed to his considerable skills and expertise in the world of historic coins – knowledge that he brought with him to The Royal Mint when he joined us in 2017.

In his new blog series, Matt will be taking us through the journey of collecting; from buying old coins and beginning his collection, to adding to his collection through scouting out specific coins. In this first installment, Matt tells us about the moment he realised he was a coin collector.

Royal Mint Historics

Read more…

It’s not Christmas without…a sixpence in your pudding!

It’s not Christmas without spending time with family and friends passing on traditions. Stir-up Sunday is a tradition for some, which has been in the family for years, with a silver sixpence that has been passed down through generations. If the tradition of Stir-up Sunday is not one that you follow in your household then mark this year’s Stir-up Sunday as the start of a new family Christmas tradition.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

A history of the ‘pound’ in our pockets

On 28 March 2017, the nation welcomed a big change, the new 12-sided £1 coin! Since its arrival, the pound as most of us know it, round and single-coloured, has been replaced with a bimetallic coin that has 12 sides.

The round pound has been in and out of pockets for the last 34 years. Since the introduction of the pound coin in 1983 it has featured 24 designs by eight different designers, themes of heraldry and the Royal Arms have featured regularly along with floral emblems and regional landmarks representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But did you know that the pound has been around for much longer than that and by this, we don’t just mean the £1 note. The £1 coin made its first appearance in 1489 when the Henry VII Sovereign was struck, making it the largest coin ever made in England!

The new 12-sided £1 coin marks the latest stage in the pound’s history, which began over 500 years ago, here are few more facts and facets about the pound.

Read more…

Guest blog: ‘Duty called and called me to obey’ – Remembering Noel Chavasse

In 1917 British forces were engaged on many fronts, in an increasingly global conflict. On the Western Front the war became industrialised and remain deadlocked. The life of a soldier in the trenches was threatened by artillery, machine, guns, gas and disease. Despite the lack of breakthrough on the ground, the war proved to be a catalyst for innovation. Advancements in areas from equipment to medicine were vital to ending the war the following year, while many of the innovations, such as blood banks and plastic surgery benefit public healthcare to this day.

In 2014, we began a five year programme of commemoration to mark the centenary of the First World War, a six-coin set began a story in coins, ‘from Outbreak to Armistice’. This year, our First World War Centenary series continues with the 2017 First World War six-coin set. ‘Social and cultural impact’, ‘Armed Forces and Support Services’, ‘technology’, ‘conflict and battles’ and ‘heroes and famous figures’ are all subjects that have been captured on coins, each coin presenting a visual reminder of the innovation and fortitude that arose throughout the war.

Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and BAR was a medical officer in the British Army and one of only three people to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice. 100 years after his death, his story remains truly inspirational, – Charlotte Czyzyk, from Imperial War Museum tells us more.

Read more…

Royal Celebration Series: 1977, The Silver Jubilee

Royal Celebration Series: 1977, The Silver Jubilee

In 2017, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will have been our queen for 65 years. In reaching this milestone, she will become the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee. In a series of blog posts we’re taking a trip down memory lane, recalling key anniversaries and celebrations from The Queen’s reign. The first installment of … Read more…

Who was King Canute?

Who was King Canute?

If you cast your eyes across The Royal Mint’s 1,100 years of history and catalog of commemorations, you’ll find stories of kings and queens, whose battles and conquests shaped Britain’s heritage, told on our coinage. Their remarkable stories live on centuries after their reign, passed down from generation to generation, retold and remembered on coinage … Read more…

The Royal Mint Museum reaches a remarkable milestone

Today the Royal Mint Museum marks its 200th anniversary! To celebrate this milestone, for 200 days the Museum will share its collection on Facebook, taking a look at a new object each day and revealing some remarkable objects from the collection along the way. In its 200 years, the collection has grown to now encompass nearly 100,000 coins, as well as a collection of some 31,000 tools and 18,000 plasters. But just how has the collection grown and developed over that time?

the royal mint museum today
The Royal Mint Museum today

Read more…

The Queen’s Christmas Message: A festive royal tradition

Since 1952, each December, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her Christmas message for the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Over the years, the Christmas message has acted as a chronicle of global, national and personal events which have affected The Queen and the nation that year. Topics on the agenda in 2014, for example, included the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Tower of London poppy installation, the Commonwealth Games, the Scotland referendum and The Queen’s historic trip to Belfast.

As an eventful year for Her Majesty draws to a close, we look forward to the Christmas Day message and believe it’s fair to say there’s plenty to talk about in The Queen’s 63rd Christmas message – perhaps the most notable royal event and achievement of 2015 saw Her Majesty become Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

queens christmas message

Read more…