Behind the Design: Remembrance Day 2017

Ever since Remembrance Day began in 1919, the nation has fallen silent on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.

In 2012, The Royal Mint started to strike a special Remembrance Day £5 Coin, in honour of servicemen and women who have lost their lives in times of war. This year, for the first time, a Remembrance design has been struck on an official UK coin. Bearing poppies, synonymous with Remembrance Day, the coin has been designed by Royal Mint designer, Stephen Taylor. We caught up with designer, Stephen to find out more about his 2017 Remembrance Day design.

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Pioneers in the sky – Aviation in the First World War

At the outbreak of the First World War few people believed that aircraft would play a major role in the conflict. Hot air balloons had been used for observation and reconnaissance for almost 100 years and it was thought aircraft would serve a similar purpose. As the war developed the race for superior air power began, shaping the history of human flight as we know it. Alongside the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) grew from a force of a few hundred aeroplanes in 1914 into a huge, independent air arm of thousands of combat and support aircraft.

Pilots, observers and aircrews risked their lives testing the new technology to its limits. Deployed above the battlefields, often beyond the call of duty, they suffered the previously unknown effects of altitude, G-forces and freezing temperatures. Later, they also faced great personal danger presented by enemy guns and combat fighters. In this guest blog post, Charlotte Czyzyk from Imperial War Museum tells the story of the First World War in the air.

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Behind the Design: Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin

Sir Isaac Newton was the towering intellectual giant of the ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the seventeenth century. He changed our understanding of mathematics and physics and redefined the way we see the world. But many people may not know that, for more than three decades, he also played a vital role at The Royal Mint.

As Master of the Mint he made a considerable contribution to our coinage and economy, helping to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world. His meticulous report of 1717, commonly known as ‘the valuation of the guinea’, was pivotal in establishing gold coin as the pre-eminent currency of the United Kingdom. It suggested establishing the gold guinea’s value at 21 shillings which paved the way for the introduction of the gold standard a century later. Newton remained Master of the Mint until his death in March 1727, by which time British coins could claim to be the best-made and most trusted in the world.

In 2017 we celebrate a pioneer of science, master of minting, Sir Isaac Newton on a UK 50p coin, with a design created by Royal Mint designer, Aaron West. We recently caught up with Aaron to find out a little more about his design.

 

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A history of the ‘pound’ in our pockets

On 28 March 2017, the nation welcomed a big change, the new 12-sided £1 coin! Since its arrival, the pound as most of us know it, round and single-coloured, has been replaced with a bimetallic coin that has 12 sides.

The round pound has been in and out of pockets for the last 34 years. Since the introduction of the pound coin in 1983 it has featured 24 designs by eight different designers, themes of heraldry and the Royal Arms have featured regularly along with floral emblems and regional landmarks representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But did you know that the pound has been around for much longer than that and by this, we don’t just mean the £1 note. The £1 coin made its first appearance in 1489 when the Henry VII Sovereign was struck, making it the largest coin ever made in England!

The new 12-sided £1 coin marks the latest stage in the pound’s history, which began over 500 years ago, here are few more facts and facets about the pound.

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Behind the Design: Jane Austen £2 coin

Jane Austen published her first novel anonymously in 1811 entitled Sense and Sensibility, ‘by a Lady’. Although she remained almost entirely unknown during her lifetime, readers across the world began a love affair with her fiction that has endured for 200 years. Years later, Austen’s Regency-era manners and settings continue to charm readers and viewers – though sometimes classed as simple romances, in many ways Austen’s novels were revolutionary in their treatment of subjects such as love, marriage and money.

Throughout 2017 Austen’s creativity and talents are being remembered far and wide; there are walks, talks, exhibitions, festivals, there’s even the chance to ‘sit’ with Jane on a Book Bench trail! We’ve joined the celebrations by featuring Austen’s portrait on a UK £2 coin, designed by Royal Mint graphic designer Dominique Evans. For 12 years Dominique, has brought her talents to her role bringing to life the rich and interesting stories behind coins and medals and for Jane Austen there has been no change. Ahead of Austen’s anniversary on 18 July 2017, we caught up with Dominique to find out a little more about the inspiration for her Jane Austen £2 coin design.

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Who was King Canute?

Who was King Canute?

If you cast your eyes across The Royal Mint’s 1,100 years of history and catalog of commemorations, you’ll find stories of kings and queens, whose battles and conquests shaped Britain’s heritage, told on our coinage. Their remarkable stories live on centuries after their reign, passed down from generation to generation, retold and remembered on coinage … Read more…

Behind the design: The 2016 Lunar Year of the Monkey UK coins

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, we caught up with Wuon-Gean Ho, designer of The Royal Mint’s Shēngxiào UK Lunar Coin collection, to find out more about her Year of the Monkey coin design. This is now the third coin Wuon-Gean has designed for the Lunar coin collection, so we also took the opportunity to find out more about the lino cutting technique that she uses to create her designs.

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Are there more 2016 UK coins to come?

We recently announced the commemorative themes for 2016, and what a response we’ve had. We’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback we’ve received on our Facebook and Twitter; it is safe to say that 2016 is set to be a bumper year for UK coins!

To recap, in total we have revealed eight new UK coins so far. These include one 50p, one £1 coin, five £2 coins, and one £5 coin. Anniversaries for The Great Fire of London, the Battle of Hastings and William Shakespeare are all marked alongside the last ’round pound’, a £2 coin honouring the role of the Army in the First World War and a £5 coin marking Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. But, have the recently updated collector albums revealed that there are yet more to come?

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The 2016 UK coin designs revealed

It’s been an exciting week for UK coin collectors and if you’ve not been following the announcements on Facebook or Twitter then this article should bring you up to speed! Those of you who have been collecting coins for a few years or more will know that November is normally an exciting time at The Royal Mint, as the coins of the following year are released. So, you’ll be excited to learn that on Monday the new coins for 2016 were announced! In total, eight 2016 UK coins have been revealed alongside The Sovereign for 2016.

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Behind the design: Battle of Waterloo £5

June 2015 marked the 200th anniversary of one of the greatest and most decisive battles in European historythe Battle of Waterloo. Fought on 18 June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo saw British and allied forces, led by The Duke of Wellington, defeat the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte. The battle lasted just one day, however it was part of a larger assault on Europe by Napoleon that led to a catastrophic loss of life. The eventual allied victory at Waterloo brought to an end the Napoleonic wars and over 20 years of conflict in Europe. The 200th anniversary of this significant battle is marked on the 2015 UK £5 coin, which was released earlier this year.

When David Lawrence, designer of the Battle of Waterloo £5 coin, recently came to The Royal Mint, we took the opportunity to find out more about his design, for the next instalment of our video series, the Designers’ Inspiration Series.

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19 coins to find in your change in 2015

It’s safe to say that 2015 has been an exciting year for coin collectors and a historic year for UK coins! It’s been a year that’s seen the coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen change and Britannia return to UK coins on a new definitive £2 coin. There have also been several commemorative themes marked on UK coins in 2015, including the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the centenary of the First World War – all of which have been marked on circulating coins!

With so many exciting things happening to the coins we know and love, lots of you have been asking us ‘Just what will we find in our change this year?‘, ‘Which coins will feature the new portrait of The Queen?‘ and ‘How many coins will be struck in 2015?‘. So, we’ve created a handy fact sheet for you to keep track of your 2015 Coin Hunt.

Coin Hunt infographicIn total there will be 19 different UK circulating coins struck in 2015!

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