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 the United Kingdom. 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 and current monarchs of the United Kingdom.

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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Royalty and St George & The Dragon – The Top 10 Facts

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…

  1. Our flagship coin, the Sovereign, is known and recognised throughout the world. It’s our most famous coin and shows St George, the patron saint of England for more than 650 years. We are thrilled that in 2013 this is a real tribute to the new Royal baby Prince George!
  2. The legend of St George and the Dragon symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It’s been familiar for many centuries, for instance in colourful wall paintings in medieval churches and on the badges of pilgrims.
  3. The St George and the Dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci was first used on gold Sovereigns in 1817. His neo-classical depiction is a masterpiece and has appeared on the coinage of every British monarch since George III, with the single exception of William IV (1830-1837).
  4. The Royal Birth £5 Crown is the first time in over 100 years that Pistrucci’s St George and the Dragon has appeared on a silver crown. It was last seen on a silver coin for the Coronation year of Edward VII in 1902.
  5. St George and the Dragon first appeared on the English coinage in the reign of King Henry VIII. These ‘George nobles’ are very rare and much desired by collectors.
  6. Six Kings have been named George, the first four reigning in succession from 1714 to 1830. George V was The Queen’s grandfather and George VI was her father, who died in 1952. Only Henry and Edward have featured more frequently as Kings’ names, both appearing eight times.
  7. George V was the founder of the Windsor Dynasty in 1917. He used a version of St George and the Dragon for his Silver Jubilee crown in 1935.
  8. With the personal approval of George VI (The Queen’s father) a version of Pistrucci’s design was used for the centre of the George Cross, Britain’s highest civilian award for gallantry. At the same time another version of St George and the Dragon was used for the reverse of the George Medal, based on the bookplate used in the Royal Library at Windsor.
  9. St George and the Dragon also appeared in 1663 in the design on the reverse of the famous petition crown of Charles II (now on loan from our own collection to the exhibition at the Tower of London).
  10. St George and the Dragon is also familiar as the badge of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest order of chivalry dating back over 650 years to the reign of Edward III. The link with the Royal Family is emphasised by the location of St George’s Chapel within the walls of Windsor Castle.

I hope you now feel much more enlightened about St George, his Dragon and how they relate to sovereigns and Sovereign coins!

To see the 2013 range of gold Sovereigns featuring the original Pistrucci design, take a look at The Royal Mint’s website

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.

Remembrance Day – the powerful moment and poppies

The powerful moment that is the Two Minute Silence began on the first anniversary of Armistice Day, 11 November 1919.

The War Cabinet discussed it on 5 November and approved a ‘Service of Silence’ on Armistice Day. The only amendment they made was to the duration, to one minute, subject to approval from King George V. Lord Milner drafted a ‘personal request’ for the King and took it to Buckingham Palace. However, The King altered the duration of the silence back to two minutes and the announcement was carried by all national newspapers on 7 November 1919.

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The Diamond Jubilee – part of Royal Mint history, part of Britain’s history…

A Diamond Jubilee is truly special. In Britain’s long history there has only ever been one before now, that of Queen Victoria, the Queen’s great-great-grandmother.

Queen Victoria’s own Diamond Jubilee in 1897 symbolises the spirit of national pride that is still enjoyed on momentous Royal occasions today.
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Olympic Torch relay route announced

Today our friends over at London 2012 announced the route of the Torch Relay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flame will come within ten miles of 95 percent of people in the UK. Which location is nearest to you? Will you be attending to show your support? Do you know anyone who is running with the Torch?

We will be giving away coins EVERY DAY during the relay so keep your eye on this blog, our Facebook page and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out!

Find where the route passes nearest to you on the London 2012 Torch map

We have a range of collectable coins available to commemorate London 2012, check out the whole range on our website.