Gladiators to Glasgow: Big games on small change

You have probably heard about the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games 50p by now. Maybe you have even seen one, or bought one from The Royal Mint. We think that this coin is very exciting, but it also has a special place in the history of coins, and of sport on coins.

glasgow 2014 50p

Many people know that sporting events have their origins in the ancient world, the most famous being the Olympic Games. You could be forgiven for thinking that the idea of commemorating these events on coins is relatively modern, but it isn’t. The Romans often struck coins to celebrate games and festivals, in much the same way as we do today. We thought it would be interesting to look at some of the parallels between these coins, and to see how much ancient Rome has in common with Glasgow in 2014.

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Behind the design: The Glasgow 2014 50p

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are officially underway and the first batch of Glasgow 2014 50p coins has already begun to enter circulation. With coin collectors everywhere on the look out for the latest 50p to add to their Great British Coin Hunt Collector Albums, we caught up with one person who can’t wait to find this 50p in his change – the designer, Alex Loudon.

commonwealth games 50p designer

Designer Alex Loudon (left) created the design with the support of Dan Flashman (right)

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Proof, BU and Bullion coins: What’s the difference?

You may already be a keen coin collector. You may just like coins in general and are thinking about starting a collection. Or maybe you’ve come across some of the coins we make here at The Royal Mint, as gifts, and are wanting to find out more about them? Whichever you are, you are sure to have seen the following words used in the descriptions of the coins we make: ’Proof‘, ’Brilliant Uncirculated‘, and ’Bullion‘.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, you may be left wondering ‘What is the difference between Proof, Brilliant Uncirculated and Bullion coins?

The Royal Mint produces three types of uncirculated commemorative coin finish, they are ‘Proof’, ‘Brilliant Uncirculated’ and ‘Bullion’. Simply put, Proof coins are the highest standard of commemorative coin produced by The Royal Mint. Brilliant Uncirculated coins have a higher standard of finish than Bullion coins, without the extra finishing and detail provided on Proof coins, and Bullion coins have a similar standard of finish to circulating coins.

If that rather simple explanation didn’t answer the question, take a look at our latest video that explores the differences between the three:

What makes the ‘Perfect Wedding Day’?

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.

beach wedding     cathedral wedding

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A Crown for Prince George on his first birthday

It was announced earlier this week that The Royal Mint would strike a coin to mark the first birthday of His Royal Highness Prince George on 22 July 2014. This is the first time that a United Kingdom coin has been struck to mark a royal first birthday, and it will be the third time coins have been struck for Prince George. His birth, christening and first birthday have all seen coins struck in celebration – each with a different design.

_L_UK13RBPC_02 _L_UK13RBSP_02 _L_UK14PGSP_02

The design chosen to mark the first birthday is steeped in royal tradition. It was originally produced in 1953 by Edgar Fuller and Cecil Thomas to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation. It features a cruciform arrangement of the Royal Arms – four shields representing the nations of the United Kingdom arranged in a cross – and is interspersed with the floral emblems of the rose, shamrock, thistle and leek – symbolising the four constituent parts of the UK. Intended for special events, the design has only ever been used twice – Her Majesty’s coronation in 1953 and again for the 1960 crown. It hasn’t been struck for 54 years!

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‘Guess and WIN’ Facebook Competition

The World Cup is well underway and already offsides are proving to be a significant talking point. The most offsides in a 2014 World Cup game so far is 10. In England’s last match against Italy on 14th June 2014 there were 7 offsides in total.

How many offsides (total number of offsides awarded against both teams) do you think there will be in England’s World Cup match tonight against Uruguay? 

Guess correctly and you could be in with a chance of winning 1 of 5 Sports Edition Coin Hunt Collector Albums. Continue reading

Top Three Facts – the Portrait of Britain Coin Designs

Starting in 2014, the Portrait of Britain Collection is intended to be an annual series of coin sets that portray popular and recognisable landmarks, buildings and natural phenomena from all over the United Kingdom. The idea is that each set  is linked by a common theme, and that over time those themed sets will combine to build what the collection promises; a complete ‘Portrait of Britain’.

The Portrait of Britain Collection

For this first Portrait of Britain set, the common theme is the recognisable landmarks and buildings of London. We’ve pulled together just three facts about each one for you, to set the scene. There are, of course, many more we will talk about in future articles, so stay with us!

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