Who Was Dylan Thomas?

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on 27th October 1914 in Swansea, just after the outbreak of the First World War. No doubt, the social changes brought by the Great War impacted on his family and childhood, as it did for everyone in the UK during those years. His parents, fluent Welsh speakers who originated from Carmarthenshire, gave him his Welsh christian name, believed to mean ‘son of the waves’. However, in line with the thinking of those times, Dylan was not brought up to speak Welsh, which explains why one of the most famous of Welshmen wrote exclusively in English. Happily for the English-speaking world, this accident of destiny made his works internationally accessible.

Dylan Thomas statue at the Maritime Quarter, Swansea.

Dylan Thomas statue at the Maritime Quarter, Swansea.

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Behind the design: Britannia 2014

Britannia, a flagship coin of The Royal Mint, returned in 2014 with a new design by one of The Royal Mint’s very own engravers, Jody Clark.

The image of Britannia first appeared on Roman coins nearly 2,000 years ago and has been synonymous with the coinage of Britain for centuries. It was in 1672 that her image was first struck on the coins of Britain, and it has appeared on the coins of every British monarch since. The Royal Mint’s flagship Britannia coin was launched in 1987 and Jody’s design is the eleventh in the collection. In an interview with Jody, we’ve gone ‘Behind the design’ to find out what it’s like to portray such an iconic figure…

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£1 Coin Design Competition Announced

George Osborne, The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Master of the Mint, recently announced the start of a public competition to design the new £1 coin. The winning design will feature on the reverse, or ‘tails’, of the new UK £1 coin, expected to enter circulation in 2017. The competition offers one lucky winner the chance to put their artwork into the hands of millions of people as the existing £1 coins are gradually replaced after 34 years of service.


The design competition not only represents an opportunity of a lifetime to see your design on this ground-breaking coin, but you will also receive £10,000 in exchange for the right to use your design and will get the chance visit The Royal Mint to strike your very own coin. The competition is open to the public, anyone can enter regardless of age or nationality, and it will run until 23:59 on Thursday 30 October 2014. Competition packs and entry forms can be downloaded from royalmint.comTo find out more about the design competition click here.

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Royal Mint Bullion website launched

The Royal Mint has today launched a new bullion website, www.royalmintbullion.com. The website will enable customers to buy and sell gold and silver bullion coins quickly, effortlessly and securely, 24 hours a day.

It’s often thought that there are several barriers to buying bullion, and that buying gold and silver as an individual has its complexities. However, The Royal Mint’s new website aims to make the process quick, easy, safe and secure, for everyone.

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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.

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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 UK’s rarest coins in 2014

Do you have a rare coin in your pocket? Ever since the news that the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest UK coin design in circulation, there has been an increase in interest in the mintage figures and rarity of the coins that are currently in circulation. There are over 100 different coin designs in circulation, 98 of which make up The Great British Coin Hunt, and with mintage figures largely driven by demand from banks and cash centres, some are certainly rarer than others.

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Click here to download the Wall Chart

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