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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10 Fascinating Facts about Trinity House and the £2

Trinity House coin

The Trinity House two pound coin appropriately features a lighthouse, so we’ve taken that to its logical conclusion by photographing it very near one! This coin is, in fact, resting on a rock at the site of the Beachy Head lighthouse, off the Sussex Downs coast.

We thought you’d enjoy some facts, figures and swashbuckling tales about Trinity House and the new £2 coin – so here’s our Top 10:

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Trinity House – a British Beacon

As a similarly ancient British institution (although not quite as old as us!) we can’t help but feel an affinity with Trinity House or, to give them their full title, the Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond. The House itself is situated on Tower Hill, not too far from our previous home at the Tower of London – indeed, there’s a wonderful view of the Tower from Trinity House.

Tower_of_London_at_night 3As the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, it’s responsible for lighthouses, lightvessels, buoys, other navigational aids and communication systems in the seas that surround our shores, as well as providing deep sea pilotage in Northern European waters.

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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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Does Love or Money Make the World Go Around?

Both these well-known beliefs are as true today as they’ve ever been, but we believe they can be combined, because coins as love tokens and gifts have long played their part in romantic rituals. There are many records of such traditions, some stretching back centuries. With today’s fashion for all things vintage, maybe now is a good time to resurrect them, so – how would you feel about that special person in your life demonstrating their love for you with the gift of a coin?

Britannia

1672 Britannia coin

Before you answer too quickly, let’s take a look at some of the history and meaning behind such an idea. It is thought that in the 17th Century the love-struck King Charles II was so enamoured of Frances Stewart (ONE of his many loves) that he asked for the design of Britannia on his coinage to be inspired by her beautiful image – although there is no definite record that his wishes were carried out, the diarist Samuel Pepys remarked that the Britannia design did bear a striking resemblance to the future Duchess of Richmond. Her image has changed, but Britannia has remained a feature of modern British coinage ever since – lasting far longer than any marriage ever has!

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Coin Collecting!

Is coin collecting the hobby for you?

What do former prime minister Tony Blair, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, King Louis XIV of France and the Roman emperor Augustus have in common? They are all rumoured to share a passion for rare and unusual coins and collect them as a hobby.

And they are not the only ones. Coin collecting dates back to ancient Greece, when it was customary to present people with gifts of coins on festive occasions and now it is a popular hobby, with people seeking out rare ancient coins or more recent special editions to complete their collection.

Today, millions of people across the globe collect coins for fun. Read on to see if coin collecting is the hobby for you…

Educational

Coin collecting as a hobby suits anyone with a thirst for knowledge. It’s not just about finding coins and popping them in a folder or box. Coins can teach us lots about the period they were minted in and the notable figures of the time. If you find a particularly interesting coin, get Googling and try to find out more about it.

Profitable

The rare 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens 50p

The rare 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens 50p

If you collect the right type of coins, it can be a profitable hobby. Some old and rare coins sell for thousands, or even millions, of pounds.

However, these coins are rare and you either have to be very lucky or really do your homework and research which coins are likely to rise in value.

It’s best to see coin collecting as a fun, interesting hobby and regard any potential profits from selling your collection in the future as an added bonus.

Exciting

Regardless of the other benefits coin collecting can bring, for most people it is all about the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction when you finally complete a set after months of hunting for one elusive coin. To get the most out of your hobby, set yourself specific targets of coins you’d like to get your hands on and start searching.

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Royal shield of arms coins

Affordable

With so many hobbies requiring expensive pieces of kit, coin collecting is a relatively affordable pastime. Yes, you can spend hundreds if you are chasing after a particular rare coin, but for the most part there are interesting and unusual coins available at affordable prices.

How to get started

The chances are you already have the beginning of a coin collection in your pocket right now, or lying around the house in the form of a commemorative coin or some unusual foreign currency .

If you want to build up a collection, you just have to decide what it is about coins that interests you and start from there. Perhaps you’ve got the travel bug and want to collect coins from far away lands or maybe you are interested in a certain period of history and would like to find coins minted during that time? Other people simply like to build up collections of special edition coins, such as those released to mark the Olympics or the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.

The inside of the London 2012 50p Collector's Pack

The inside of the London 2012 50p Collector’s Pack

Whatever type of coins you want to start collecting; it is a good idea to buy a few coin folders to store your collection in. You can either buy blank folders or ones which are organised by date or type of coin. Royal Mint is launching new collectors’ folders for 50p, £1 and £2 coins this month, which are a great starting point for new collectors.

You are then ready to start hunting for coins. If you aren’t sure where to begin, join your local coin club, where you can meet up with other collectors to learn more about the hobby and trade coins. They are also bound to know the best places for picking up unusual finds.

The internet is a great tool for coin collectors, there are hundreds of sites where you can hunt out rare and unusual coins and it’s easy to compare prices to ensure you are not getting ripped off.

Remember, there are also numerous coin designs in circulation at the moment, so be careful to check your change for anything unusual before you spend it!

Happy collecting!

 

The great pound coin quiz!

Would you like to win a set of the UK’s latest £1 coins? The Floral set features designs representing England and Wales and retails for £18.

You can buy them in Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof Precious metal finishes on our website – click here to buy Floral £1 coins

The Floral 2013 UK £1 Two-Coin Set England and Wales

The Floral 2013 UK £1 Two-Coin Set England and Wales

If you would like the chance to win a set, simply answer the following questions and complete our tie-breaker poem! The winner will be selected by Leah, our Summer 2013 intern.

(This competition is open to UK residents only)

Competition now closed…Winner to be announced shortly!