Behind the design: Dylan Thomas 100

Talented Royal Mint Engraver, Lee Jones, is the artist behind the coin that honours literary giant Dylan Thomas and celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth. Lee’s design has elicited much comment so, in a recent interview with him, we’ve gone ‘behind the design’ to find out what it was like to design the coin that commemorates one of his heroes.


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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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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…


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.


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.


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.


Royal shield of arms coins


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 – the Winning Poems

We asked you to send in poems as a tie-breaker. Here are our favourites.

Thanks for entering everyone! Leave us a comment to let us know which ones you like.

The Winner, from Luke

Luke’s poem was our favourite, and he got all the questions right as well…so he wins! Congratulations Luke, enjoy your UK Floral £1 coins set!

I’ve heard it was written,
Of a coin in our kingdom,
Adorned with the Queen and her crown!
That symbol of Britain,
Forever we’re smitten,
With our Beauteous, golden pound!

From Bhavini,

I found a pound, it was super round, all coloured in gold, so big and bold.

From Elizabeth,

Nickel Zinc Copper

From Kimberley,

The one pound coin was here to join,
All the other coins in circulation, in our nation.
Since the first pound coin in 1983,
There have been many coins including the diamond jubilee,
Now it’s 2013 there have been 21 designs,
Is it a crime to want this design, I want it to be mine.

From Charlotte,

So here we are 2013,
The design has changed again.
From note to coin in ’83,
And now a floral design.
Alloy of copper, then some nickel,
And a little zinc too.
No one can deny that in everyone’s pocket, When it comes to the ‘1pound coin’ we all always carry a few.

From Michael,

Most people just see it as change
Foreigners see it as strange…
Some call it a pound, a quid, the dough, But not a lot of people know, That the pound coin is named after silver…
It won’t buy a lot today,
Just a Mars or 1/1000 of a car
But the £1 is worth collecting to me.
I wish I could write a proper Poem and win this competition… But unfortunately I am a numismatic not a poet.

From Gregory,

A royal head one side is found, One coin with British symbols bound, Within a golden circle round, Our noble currency, the pound!

Your Royal Mint Facebook questions answered!

The Royal Mint’s social media team were lucky enough to have a work experience placement called Leah for a week in July 2013. We asked Leah to post on Facebook asking people to suggest questions that they would like to be answered. Leah researched and wrote the answers to your questions.

You can read her findings below!

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Baby and Christening gifts – Coins as part of gifting traditions

Typical gifts for a new baby tend to be practical. Nappies, blankets, bottles, clothes, and toys are eminently sensible, but they lack a sense of occasion. Many new parents find they pass on clothes, extra bottles and accumulated toys to their friends without having made any use of them.

Christenings pose a different set of problems for the unwary gift-giver. What do you buy that balances the requirement to give something appropriately traditional with something that the recipient will value? Many people know that silver plays a traditional role in bringing luck to the occasion, but what to buy? Photo frames, jewellery, spoons and napkin rings are popular…but while they can be highly attractive and of excellent quality, we feel that nothing compares to a coin.

Silver coins from The Royal Mint capture all of our 1,100 year heritage and craftsmanship. Each is year-dated making them a contemporary way to mark the occasion of the birth forever. We offer a range of coins for all occasions, from Baby Journals, to silver coins and sets. Here we list some of our favourites.

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This Father’s Day give a gift that revives the passion for collecting Royal Mint coins

Many people are introduced to coin collecting by an older relative, often a grandparent who has rediscovered their own passion for ‘the hobby of Kings’ later in life.

Some of life’s greatest memories of our parents and grandparents are those where they patiently introduce us to new and fascinating interests. This Father’s day, why not take the lead yourself, and ignite a passion for coins in your father?

Coins meet a variety of interests, incorporating elements of history, art, craftsmanship and collectability in a way that no other gift can. Coins also have value that remains undiminished by time or  fashion, and this means that a gift of coins is a gift that will be treasured forever.

Which coins to give?

Royal Mint Annual sets make a perfect Father’s Day gift. 2013 sets range in price from £25 for The 2013 United Kingdom Definitive Coin Set to £650 for the stunning and very limited 2013 UK Silver Proof Piedfort Coin Set. Regular Royal Mint customers may be invited to purchase even more limited edition sets made in gold, but these are rarely made available to the general public.

Annual Sets include all the circulating coins in Brilliant Uncirculated or Proof finish. These coins are of a higher quality than the ones in your pocket.

Royal Mint Annual Set

Mark the year

Every coin tells a story, and each year The Royal Mint chooses to commemorate themes that are relevant to British life at that time. While each coin is year dated, the Commemoratives mark historic events and people. In 2013 the stories behind our coins include the Queen’s Coronation, 150 years of The London Underground, the 350th Anniversary of the Guinea, the original decimal coin designs of Christopher Ironside and two new pound coins featuring the iconic national symbols of England and Wales.

What will you give…or receive?

Will you give your father coins this year? Let us know in the comments below, and share your stories of how you were introduced to collecting.