Most of us will be aware of the hugely significant nature of the length of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 inspired celebrations in streets across the UK and towns and cities all over the world, and with good reason; it was only the second time in our history that a British monarch had achieved a reign of 60 years.
The only previous such anniversary was enjoyed by The Queen’s great-great-Grandmother,Queen Victoria, who also went on to record the longest reign by any monarch in British history; 63 years, seven months and two days. Looking forwards, there is every chance that Queen Elizabeth II will surpass this record and, in September 2015, become Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
As we begin to look towards this historic date, we have uncovered some intriguing facts and figures about the royal effigies – from Victoria to Elizabeth – that have appeared on one of our most-loved and hardest-working coins, the penny.
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.
As 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.
In part 3 of our series of posts, the Coronation events take place and the event passes off beautifully. Royal attention turns to the people who made it happen, and official letters of thanks arrive at the Mint.
For their role in the Coronation celebrations, many staff at The Royal Mint receive honours and letters of congratulations and thanks from the Royal family.
For those who don’t receive acknowledgement in the form of an official award, the Specimen sets and Crown pieces are available at a special staff rate so they can at least own a wonderful commemorative. Continue reading →
Hidden in a dusty corner of our Museum archives sat several files of unassuming looking ‘Internal Office Notes’.
Dated from 1926, many of these yellowing old papers had not been read for years. With the historic events of 1953 in mind, we delved into the files. To our delight, this ‘time capsule’ of stories from inside The Royal Mint shed light on the events of 1953. The notes paint a picture of a Royal Mint excited by the prospect of the coming Jubilee celebrations!
The Royal Mint in 1953 was a very different place to the one we know today.
Based at Tower Hill in London, it was close to the heart of government and royalty and carried on the thousand year long tradition of minting in the nation’s capital. Today, based in a high tech plant at Llantrisant in South Wales, The Royal Mint continues to uphold the standards for which it has become world-renowned.
For 2013, we bring together two coins that capture both the story of The Royal Mint and the 60 year story of the Queen’s Coronation.
For particularly momentous occasions, The Royal Mint strikes 5oz and Kilo coins.
These coins are large, precious metal coins with specially commissioned artwork designed to take advantage of the coin’s dimensions.
The 2013 Coronation 5oz coin has been designed by Jonathan Olliffe, who was one of the people who won the competition to design a London 2012 50p. His design features Westminster Abbey as the backdrop with the Sovereign’s Orb and the Sceptre with Cross, in the foreground. The coin’s design captures the majesty of the occasion and the impressive architecture of the location.
The Coronation kilo
Experienced heraldic engraver, John Bergdahl has produced the Coronation Kilo. Featuring the regalia of the Coronation and the gold St Edward’s Crown against a background of interwoven national symbols, this coin is highly evocative of the auspicious events of 2nd June 1953.