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.

queen-anne-cut

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.

Victoria to Elizabeth Penny by Penny

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.

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The Ultimate Royalist

Now that the excitement of the Diamond Jubilee weekend is beginning to fade, the thoughts of everyone at The Royal Mint begin to turn to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

However, we still want to keep the Diamond Jubilee buzz going a little longer…so if you haven’t yet seen the announcement of the Ultimate Royalist competition winners, check out The Ultimate Royalist webpage for details!
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The Diamond Jubilee Kilo coin from The Royal Mint

When a grand coin containing a full kilo of gold was authorised in celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it gave us a unique opportunity to do something truly special.

Such a coin must bear designs that reflect the splendour of the occasion, but also capture our rich royal heritage and go forward in time as symbolic of the nation during The Queen’s reign.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Silver Kilo

When an opportunity like this comes along, we seek out the world’s finest talents to provide their input. In this case we turned to Ian Rank-Broadley, the artist and sculptor
who has already provided several outstanding numismatic portraits of The Queen – most famously the faithful likeness that now graces millions of coins worldwide.

An exceptional opportunity – a real challenge.
Ian Rank-Broadley

The kilo is a flagship coin, limited to only 60 pieces in gold and 1,000 in silver. Each coin is struck with the highest levels of precision. Gold coins come in a wooden case made from sweet chestnut taken from the trees of the Great Windsor Park, the crown estate of Windsor Castle, one of The Queen’s private homes. The silver coins are presented in a royal blue case that perfectly complements the metal.

While many people will be denied the opportunity to own a coin of this stature, the same standards of craftsmanship and quality are applied to all our products, from the coins in your pocket to commemoratives in base and precious metal.

If you are interested in purchasing a kilo coin, you can make enquiries through The Royal Mint website at the link below.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee kilo from The Royal Mint

Maundy Money

Maundy Money is one of many ancient traditions The Royal Mint is proud to be a part of. It is a Christian tradition that involves giving special coins to people who have done good work for their Church and community

It seems to have been the custom as early as the thirteenth century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies. They would distribute gifts of food and clothing, and wash the feet of the poor in tribute to the incident in the New Testament where Jesus washes Peter’s feet.

Fortunately for our current Queen, the act of washing the feet of the poor was discontinued in the eighteenth century! In the nineteenth century further change saw the gifts of food and clothing being replaced by money.

This year, the Queen will be giving Maundy Money on her Diamond Jubilee year which makes these already very collectable coins even more special! They will even include the Diamond Jubilee Crown, a special coin minted just for this year.

Maundy money has remained in much the same form since 1670, and the coins used for the Maundy ceremony have traditionally been struck in sterling silver.

The effigy of The Queen on ordinary circulating coinage has undergone three changes, but Maundy coins still bear the same portrait of Her Majesty prepared by Mary Gillick for the first coins issued in the year of her coronation in 1953.

When decimal currency was introduced in 1971 the value of the coins changed from 10d to 10p but it was decided that the effigy that had been prepared for use on decimal coins would not be applied to Maundy money.

You can read more about Maundy money on The Royal Mint website

Have a question about Maundy Money? Leave it in the comment box below!

Although you may not receive Maundy Money yourself, you can still commemorate the Diamond Jubilee year with a coin from the Royal Mint

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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Welcome Informer readers and new collectors!

If you’re new to this blog, welcome! This blog will cover a range of topics including our involvement in major events, the history and heritage of The Royal Mint, and insights into the production process behind our coins.

The Royal Mint is Britain’s oldest company, and one of the oldest in the world. We used to be based in the Tower of London but since 1971 we’ve been based in the small town of Llantrisant in South Wales. We make coins and medals but not bank notes…those are made by The Bank of England.

In 2012 The Royal Mint plays an important part in a number of major events, including the anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the commemoration of the sinking of The Titanic, the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We are producing coins for all of these, some of which will find their way into circulation, and some of which are only for collectors.

To keep in touch with all updates, register with the blog