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.

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Revealing a “monster” year for UK coins…

It’s been an exciting week for UK coin collectors and if you missed the announcements on our FacebookTwitter or Instagram then not to worry, we’ve got all the information you need to bring you up to speed. As we welcomed in the new year, new coins for 2018 were also announced! In total, five 2018 UK coins have been revealed, so far…

Anniversaries for the Representation of the People Act, the RAF and Frankenstein are all marked on UK coins in 2018, with a £2 coin for Armistice bringing our First World War ‘story through coins’ to a close. We are also celebrating Prince George’s 5th birthday this year, with a fresh interpretation of St George and the Dragon by Jody Clark. So, here’s a closer look at the first reveal of coins for 2018:

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2017: royal celebrations, a big change and much more…

Well, what a year! As 2017 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look back on a year packed full of new beginnings, royal celebrations, and of course, the milestone moments that have been marked on UK coins. It’s safe to say 2017 has been an exciting year here at The Royal Mint. In a year that saw 36 commemorative coin designs released, as a nation, we also welcomed a big change to UK currency with the introduction of the new one pound coin, and not to mention His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visiting The Royal Mint Experience!

Outside of events here at The Royal Mint, it’s been a very royal year; Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, we marked the centenary of the House of Windsor, The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties, The Queen and Prince Philip reached their platinum wedding anniversary, celebrating 70 years of marriage, and most recently, it was announced that there will be another Windsor wedding in 2018 as His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales is set to marry Ms Meghan Markle.

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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

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It’s not Christmas without…the Christmas Tree!

The tradition of coins at Christmas has a very long history, from the three wise men bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, to St Nicholas placing coins in stockings drying on the chimney ledge. Not to mention the slice of good luck if you find the silver sixpence in the Christmas pudding on Christmas day; somehow it’s just not Christmas without a coin – and yes, the chocolate ones count too!

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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.

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Behind the Design: Remembrance Day 2017

Ever since Remembrance Day began in 1919, the nation has fallen silent on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.

In 2012, The Royal Mint started to strike a special Remembrance Day £5 Coin, in honour of servicemen and women who have lost their lives in times of war. This year, for the first time, a Remembrance design has been struck on an official UK coin. Bearing poppies, synonymous with Remembrance Day, the coin has been designed by Royal Mint designer, Stephen Taylor. We caught up with designer, Stephen to find out more about his 2017 Remembrance Day design.

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Royal Celebration Series: 1947, a Royal wedding

In 2017, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will reach their Platinum Wedding Anniversary, celebrating 70 years of marriage. 

In the last two years, Her Majesty The Queen has celebrated three hugely significant milestones. In 2015 The Queen became the Longest Reigning Monarch in British history. In 2016 she became the first British monarch to celebrate her 90th birthday and earlier this year, The Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee. Earlier this year we began our Royal Celebration blog seriestaking a trip down memory lane, recalling key anniversaries and celebrations from The Queen’s reignAs we continue our Royal Celebration Series, we go back to 1947, a Royal wedding.

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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.

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Behind the Design: Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin

Sir Isaac Newton was the towering intellectual giant of the ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the seventeenth century. He changed our understanding of mathematics and physics and redefined the way we see the world. But many people may not know that, for more than three decades, he also played a vital role at The Royal Mint.

As Master of the Mint he made a considerable contribution to our coinage and economy, helping to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world. His meticulous report of 1717, commonly known as ‘the valuation of the guinea’, was pivotal in establishing gold coin as the pre-eminent currency of the United Kingdom. It suggested establishing the gold guinea’s value at 21 shillings which paved the way for the introduction of the gold standard a century later. Newton remained Master of the Mint until his death in March 1727, by which time British coins could claim to be the best-made and most trusted in the world.

In 2017 we celebrate a pioneer of science, master of minting, Sir Isaac Newton on a UK 50p coin, with a design created by Royal Mint designer, Aaron West. We recently caught up with Aaron to find out a little more about his design.

 

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