Do you have a rare coin in your pocket? Ever since the news that the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest UK coin design in circulation, there has been an increase in interest in the mintage figures and rarity of the coins that are currently in circulation. There are over 100 different coin designs in circulation, 98 of which make up The Great British Coin Hunt, and with mintage figures largely driven by demand from banks and cash centres, some are certainly rarer than others.
It may sound surprising, but coins and games have a common origin in Rome. At the end of the third century BC, when Rome was struggling to win a war against Hannibal (218-201 BC), a new set of coins based on the silver denarius was minted to pay the soldiers. At the same time, new games and festivals began to be put on every year as popular entertainment.
In the late second century BC, when coin designs became more varied, they often represented family achievements. This is when games and coins really came together for the first time. People minting the coins used them to boast about the chariot racing and wild beast hunts that their ancestors had put on years before. This trend became very popular into the first century and beyond!
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.
For a Queen who seems to have attracted relatively little attention in comparison to other British monarchs, the extent of the legacy that Queen Anne left to this country is, actually, quite considerable. In the final article of this four-part series, I review the influential people who shaped far-reaching events during her life-time and summarise her achievements and the legacy of her era that remains with us today.
You have probably heard about theGlasgow 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.
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.