What is the ‘Penny Black’?

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the ‘Penny Black’, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp. Issued in Britain from 1 May 1840 by the famous reformer, Rowland Hill, the Penny Black made history. It introduced the concept of fixing a small label to an envelope to confirm payment to the Post Office for postal services. This first postage stamp became popularly known the world over as the ‘Penny Black’ due to the colour of ink used in its printing and its denomination of one penny.

Penny_Black_Block_of_six

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The fifth portrait of The Queen is unveiled

After a long wait, we are pleased to announce that the eagerly-anticipated fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen has been unveiled today.

A 2015 £1 coin bearing the fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The queen
A 2015 £1 coin bearing the fifth definitive coin portrait of Her Majesty The Queen

The portrait was unveiled this morning, in front of a packed crowd at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was the first chance to see the fifth definitive coinage portrait of The Queen which will begin to grace all UK circulating coins made after today. However, it is unlikely that we will find them in our change until later this year – as all coins struck before today will make their way into circulation first.

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Chinese New Year 2015: Year Of The Sheep

This year, Chinese New Year falls on 19 February. It will mark the end of the Year of the Horse and the 2015 Year of the Sheep will begin – you may also see it referred to as the Year of the Goat and the Year of the Ram, as the Chinese symbol ‘yang’ is generic for these animals. More specifically, 2015 is the Year of the Green Wood Sheep. Like me, you may well be wondering what that means?

Sheep-symbol

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A Badge For a Baronet

Early in 2013 The Royal Mint received an order for a baronet’s badge from Sir Michael Nairn, the 4th baronet of the Nairn family, a well-known name in the flooring industry, based in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Sir Michael and his two sons, Andrew and Alex, belong to the prestigious Royal Company of Archers that functions as the sovereign’s ‘Body Guard in Scotland’. All three were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh in July 2013.

Being aware of his entitlement to wear a baronet’s badge, Sir Michael naturally wished to wear it for this very special occasion. So he contacted the Medals department of The Royal Mint, requesting – ‘could one be made in time’? That immediately set in motion craftsmanship and skills that, although infrequently called upon, are still available here.

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