If you follow The Royal Mint on social media, you will have noticed that last Sunday was ‘Stir-Up Sunday‘ – a day when families and groups get together to make their Christmas puddings. Traditionally the final ingredient to be stirred in to the mix is a silver sixpence – it is believed to bring the finder wealth and good luck for the year to come. Some families have used the same Christmas sixpence for as long as they can remember, passed down from generation to generation. As for others, this year’s Stir-Up Sunday marked the start of a new family Christmas tradition.
This Sunday marks the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. A major English victory in the Hundred Years’ War, the battle saw England, led by Henry V, defeat a French army under a sky that was said to have grown ‘dark with arrows’. It is still regarded today as one of England’s and King Henry V’s greatest military victories and this year a number of events, exhibitions and an Alderney coin struck by The Royal Mint will mark 600 years since the Battle of Agincourt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Today is a hugely significant day in the 307-year history of the constitution of the United Kingdom, as we all now know the result of the Scottish referendum. The vote has come back in favour of No and the Kingdom remains United.
We thought it was worth looking back over those years into the mists of time to explore a key figure in the creation of that Union – the life and reign of Queen Anne, the last Stuart Queen and the first monarch of Great Britain. Events during Queen Anne’s reign have a significance that still resonates today and the Act of Union in 1707 could be considered the most significant, and a legacy that now lives on.
Most of us will be aware of the hugely significant nature of the length of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 inspired celebrations in streets across the UK and towns and cities all over the world, and with good reason; it was only the second time in our history that a British monarch had achieved a reign of 60 years.
The only previous such anniversary was enjoyed by The Queen’s great-great-Grandmother, Queen Victoria, who also went on to record the longest reign by any monarch in British history; 63 years, seven months and two days. Looking forwards, there is every chance that Queen Elizabeth II will surpass this record and, in September 2015, become Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
As we begin to look towards this historic date, we have uncovered some intriguing facts and figures about the royal effigies – from Victoria to Elizabeth – that have appeared on one of our most-loved and hardest-working coins, the penny.
If you’ve seen a PNC or a PMC on The Royal Mint or Royal Mail websites from time to time I’m sure you will have admired them. However, if you’re anything like me, you may not know much about these attractive and interesting products. So, I’ve spoken to my colleagues here and our partners at Royal Mail to gather some background for you to put that right. I hope filling in some of the gaps about what a PNC or a PMC is will add to your enjoyment and appreciation of them.
4 August 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the day Britain, having declared war on Germany, entered the First World War.
It was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on 28 June 1914 that set in motion a series of events which would lead to the beginning of the First World War. Following the assassination, Austro-Hungary served an ultimatum to Serbia; deeming the response to be unsatisfactory, they then declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914.
I’m sure many brides and grooms start planning their wedding with the question ‘what would make it the perfect wedding day?’. It’s a bit like wondering ‘how long is a piece of a string’ though, isn’t it? There are so many types of weddings and personal situations – religious or civil, contemporary or traditional, budget or luxury and indeed, first or subsequent weddings. All these factors combine to set the scene of what will be possible and appropriate, aside from what the bride and groom would actually wish for themselves on their wedding day!
The time of year, the venue and the budget available are probably the main starting points when planning your wedding day. A winter wedding in a cathedral with a luxurious reception obviously entails a totally different level of planning and expense than maybe a simple and intimate summer wedding on a beach – unless it’s a particularly exotic one, of course! But at the heart of it, everyone wants the wedding day to be happy and memorable – so what makes a wedding happy and memorable? Often, it’s those little touches and thoughts that mean the most to party and guests alike.