A Commemorative Coincidence

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.

To find out more about her life, reign, death and legacy, read our Queen Anne Blog Series: Part 1 The Early Years of Queen Anne – Part 2 The Rising Years of Queen Anne – Part 3 The Reigning Years of Queen Anne – Part 4 The Final Years of Queen Anne.


On the reverse, a design by Mark Richards FRBS to commemorate Queen Anne. On the obverse, the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS. As such, The 300th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Anne £5 coin features portraits of both the first queen of Great Britain and the reigning queen of the United Kingdom.

The Reigning Years of Queen Anne – Great Change

In this instalment of our Queen Anne blog series we move into the years of Queen Anne’s reign in which many political upheavals and cultural changes came about. On-going War with Spain, resolution of long-standing tension with Scotland and the development of a two-party political system are all notable issues Anne dealt with during this period. Anne’s confidence in dealing with and influencing such matters increased, evidenced by her vetoing an Act of Parliament in 1708, the last time this has ever happened. It may be said that this was the period in which Anne truly ‘reigned’ in the full sense of the word.

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The shape of things to come…UK 2013 coins from the Royal Mint

Update: all 2013 coins are now available…and they look incredible! To see all the designs and to buy collector quality version view Royal Mint 2013 UK coins at www.royalmint.com

The UK’s official coins and The Royal Mint’s collector offerings for 2013 will be announced shortly. We won’t reveal exactly what they are yet, but here’s a little teaser!

Feel free to guess or share what you’ve already heard!

The Royal Mint 2013 coin range

Previously unseen Titanic pictures from The Royal Mint

In their latest issue, National Geographic have published previously unseen photographs of The Titanic. The photographs show the full ship for the first time and are incredibly atmospheric, capturing the alluring tragedy of the disaster.

You can view the new Titanic photographs on the national Geographic website.

Our own unseen pictures

The Royal Mint has produced a beautiful collectible Titanic coin for those with an interest in commemorating the Titanic’s 100th Anniversary. Today, we release our own unseen Titanic pictures in the form of a sketch and design test from the coin design process.

For a commemoration as internationally recognised as the 100th anniversary of the sinking of The Titanic, there is a huge amount of competition to produce the definitive commemorative. On such occasions, The Royal Mint draws on its unique depth of experience to produce a lasting work of art that captures the emotion and the history of the event.

The design of the Titanic coin was entrusted to Lee Robert Jones, who has 16 years of experience in coin design and combines classical craftsmanship with modern production processes in his pursuit of the perfect coin.

After making the initial sketches, Lee uses a combination of photographs and cad modelling to create his design.

The detail of the ship was Lee’s priority; it bursts into the foreground, its prow catching the eye and drawing the viewer deeper into the picture. The waves are simple strokes that add depth and movement. The figure of Thane rises in the background, her ominous presence bringing a sense of dramatic portent to the picture.

Lee said,

I have used an ‘apparition’ of Sir Thomas Brock’s Thane memorial, reaching in readiness before the ship with a laurel wreath, its stark silhouette contrasting with the detailed striking model of Titanic cutting through the waves with purpose and pride. I wanted to convey the emotion of the anniversary, this drove my approach to the design.

Lee worked on his design using low relief software which provides both CAD and drawing tools. He says,

As a Coin designer I feel it’s imperative to exploit the ability of modelling in 3 dimensions; making the most of the ‘light play’ on the metallic surface.

The finished coin, particularly when seen in silver proof quality, shows the result of Lee’s efforts. The coin reflects light beautifully and the elements of the design are distinct and clear. This is a truly memorable keepsake.

Beyond the coin

Even when the coin is complete, The Royal Mint’s work is far from over. We work hard on our packaging, as it offers an opportunity to add detail to the story behind the coin.

As with the coin design, the packaging design was completed here on the Royal Mint’s site. Packaging designer Aaron West worked with a catalogue of photographs and a history book, until he was happy with what he had produced. Historical perspectives were allied with photographic evidence that communicated the magnificence of the ship and the scale of the human achievement her creation represented.

I wanted the emphasis to be on remembrance, but at the same time, I wanted to celebrate Titanic as a huge feat of engineering and design.

Creating a commemorative coin represents an opportunity to share the experience of this commemoration with millions of people around the world. The Royal Mint is proud to be a part of The Titanic commemoration, and we are proud of what we have brought into existence…a sensitive, artistic and beautiful coin that will last for generations.

Buy the Titanic coin from The Royal Mint website

As the official commemorator of major British events, The Royal Mint is proud to offer this dramatic and poignant £5 coin to mark the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s fateful voyage.

Buy the collectible Royal Mint Titanic coin now from our secure website


Diamond Jubilee sweepstake – the winners

We had over 500 entries to our Diamond Jubilee sweepstake, and did you know 95% of entrants feel that The Royal Mint makes the best coins in the world!

I hope you weren’t just saying that because you wanted to win!

If you didn’t win, the coin is still available from The Royal Mint’s secure website – Buy the Diamond Jubilee Silver Crown

So who won?

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Are UK £5 coins legal tender?

We get asked this question a lot…so let’s look at the big picture!

Legal tender has a very specific meaning when taken by the letter of the law. It means that a debtor cannot successfully be sued for non-payment if he pays into court in legal tender.

It does not mean that any ordinary transaction has to take place in legal tender or only within the amount denominated by the legislation. So for example, if you are buying a car off someone and choose to part exchange your own car with them as part payment, this is ok. You can both agree a value and pay the remainder in legal tender cash, or by any other means you choose.

In order to comply with the very strict rules governing an actual legal tender transaction it is necessary to offer the exact amount. No change can be demanded. Part of the service shops offer is to return change to customers who do not have the correct legal tender amount!

The kilo coins

The Royal Mint recently requested a change to UK Legislation – specifically an amendment to the 40-year-old 1971 Coinage Act, a clause which limited the weight to which UK coins could be made. This was in order to mint UK kilo coins, the first kilo coins of the realm. The Gold and Silver kilo coins have face values of £1000 and £500 respectively, but you’re unlikely to ever see them in circulation!

The other coins that are legal tender in the United Kingdom are:

£5 (Crown) – for any amount
£2 – for any amount
£1 – for any amount
50p – for any amount not exceeding £10
25p (Crown) – for any amount not exceeding £10
20p – for any amount not exceeding £10
10p – for any amount not exceeding £5
5p – for any amount not exceeding £5
2p – for any amount not exceeding 20p
1p – for any amount not exceeding 20p

Yes, this means that if you want to pay for something with more than 20 1p pieces, it is up to the seller to decide whether or not to accept. They don’t have to, though most will!

You can save up to 70% on coins in The Royal Mint sale

For more information and to get in touch with The Royal Mint, why not follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook?

Collect the shield!

If you’re not quite up for the challenge of collecting all 29 London 2012 50ps, here’s a much easier collecting option!

The UK’s latest coin designs were created by Matt Dent after a public competition. He created a design based on the Royal shield of arms, but few people realise that you can piece together the complete shield design as seen on the £1 coin using the other coins in the series.

These designs are now available in your change or as part of a collector’s pack