Anne ascended the throne on 8th March 1702 following the death of her unpopular brother-in-law, William of Orange. He had shared the throne with Anne’s sister Mary since 1689, and had inherited it for life following Mary’s death in 1694. He and Mary had no children so Anne was the undisputed heiress to the throne following his death in 1702. In contrast to many Kings and Queens before her, Anne came to the throne peacefully…
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?
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!
On Day 10 of our Facebook Advent Calendar, we’re opening the window (see what I did there?) on our Top 10 Festive Facts. A Christmas quiz has become a fun tradition for many people, so I hope these will help you out!
1. Advent Calendars – the first ones appeared in Germany. The BBC History channel refers to printers in Munich being the first to produce them in 1908. Paper and cardboard rationing during the Second World War put an end to them until 1946. Chocolate advent calendars appeared in the UK in the 1950’s after food rationing ended and they soon spread across the globe, with something for everyone – here’s a trendy one and here’s a classical musical one.
The World’s Most Expensive Advent Calendar was a $1m version by Porsche Design in 2010 – there may have been others, but this one is pretty impressive!
It’s hard to be brief about the treasures held safely for the nation behind the anonymous door that opens to The Royal Mint Museum, but I’m going to try, so here are some snippets:
The Museum holds a cabinet said to be Sir Isaac Newton’s when he was Master of the Mint from 1699-1727; pistols from the Tower of London that provided the security of those times and literally thousands of coins from all over the world. Plasters of coins and medals from the late 19th Century, wax impressions of the Great Seals of the Realm and other official Seals from the start of the 20th century, are all preserved here.
I’ve had a lovely task recently – looking at copies of Birth Certificates of babies born in the UK on the same day as Prince George of Cambridge. We offered a gift of a Lucky Silver Penny to any such baby, asking for applications through our Facebook page, and the response has been phenomenal.
From the details submitted, we’ve found all sorts of interesting facts to share…
I’ve felt surrounded by Georges and Dragons lately! So my friends in our Museum have helped me pull together these Top 10 Facts about them, that I think you really need to know… Our flagship coin, the Sovereign, is known and recognised throughout the world. It’s our most famous coin and shows St George, the … Read more…
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!
When people hear ‘Britannia’, they may think of the patriotic anthem Rule Britannia or even the Cool Britannia movement of the 1990s. But how many will picture the Roman goddess, despite the fact that anyone who has spent a 50 pence piece will almost certainly have seen an image of her?
The Royal Mint is famous for making coins. We have been doing this for over 1000 years and have made coins for every King and Queen of England in that time (as well as for Oliver Cromwell). While we are busy making the change in your pocket, change in society is happening all around us. … Read more…
In part two of our series on the events of 1953 we move into February and March, just months away from the 2nd of June Coronation date.
Lots of things started happening across the Mint. We’ll leave you to read through the office notes to enjoy discovering them yourself, but we can’t resist sharing a few highlights:
From the Restoration of the monarchy to the Napoleonic Wars, the guinea was the coin that characterised an increasingly wealthy Britain. It was one of the most popular British coins for 150 years, during which Britain became the world’s major colonial power.
Due to Britain’s influence on the international stage, the guinea became known all over the world, occupying the position of universal acceptance that the dollar occupies today. The guinea was, for almost 150 years, the standard gold coin of the British currency. It therefore stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sovereign as one of the greatest British coins in history.