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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Father’s Day Traditions and Treats!

Will you be celebrating Father’s Day this year in a similar way to Mother’s Day? We all know Father’s Day is not celebrated on the same scale as Mother’s Day generally, and while I’ve read some articles that try to explain why, I think the reason is simple – it’s because Fathers and Mothers are so different! What delights your Mum may well not please your Dad so much, especially those sentimental and openly affectionate gestures usually welcomed by Mums.

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I’ve made a sweeping generalisation there, so let’s take a look at how Father’s Day started and see where it takes us…

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Remembering D-Day: The 70th Anniversary

The 70th anniversary of D-Day, otherwise known as the Normandy Landings, is marked on 6 June this year. D-Day was a significant Second World War operation that saw the landing of Allied troops in Normandy and the beginning of the Allied invasion of occupied Europe – code-named ‘Operation Overlord’.

An international effort, the D-Day Allied invasion force of more than 150,000 consisted primarily of American, British and Canadian troops but also included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air and ground support. Taking more than 7,000 ships and smaller vessels and 14,000 aircraft, it was the largest naval, air and land operation in history. Given the scale of D-Day, detailed planning was required – with the first operational plans submitted almost a year before, in July 1943.

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Benedetto Pistrucci: A rare gem

Benedetto Pistrucci is a name closely associated with The Royal Mint and a familiar one among numismatists. However, I’m sure there are some of you left wondering just who is Benedetto Pistrucci?

Benedetto Pistrucci was born in Italy, on 29 May 1783. Already established as a renowned gem engraver, he moved to London in 1815. His journey with The Royal Mint began the following year, when he was introduced to William Wellesley Pole, the then Master of the Mint. Pole commissioned Pistrucci to create models of a portrait of King George III, which he created in red jasper – an unusual material for a model of a coin, but one which Pistrucci, as a gem engraver, preferred to use.

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10 Fascinating Facts about Trinity House and the £2

Trinity House coin

The Trinity House two pound coin appropriately features a lighthouse, so we’ve taken that to its logical conclusion by photographing it very near one! This coin is, in fact, resting on a rock at the site of the Beachy Head lighthouse, off the Sussex Downs coast.

We thought you’d enjoy some facts, figures and swashbuckling tales about Trinity House and the new £2 coin – so here’s our Top 10:

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Trinity House – a British Beacon

As a similarly ancient British institution (although not quite as old as us!) we can’t help but feel an affinity with Trinity House or, to give them their full title, the Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond. The House itself is situated on Tower Hill, not too far from our previous home at the Tower of London – indeed, there’s a wonderful view of the Tower from Trinity House.

Tower_of_London_at_night 3As the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, it’s responsible for lighthouses, lightvessels, buoys, other navigational aids and communication systems in the seas that surround our shores, as well as providing deep sea pilotage in Northern European waters.

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A Sovereign becomes the most expensive British coin EVER!

Within the drawers of The Royal Mint Museum lie many rare coins, and the 1937 Edward VIII Gold Proof Sovereign is certainly one of the rarer. Another, of the few in existence, recently made headlines when it went to auction and sold for a record £516,000 – the highest sum ever paid for a British coin! Surprisingly, the Edward VIII Sovereign wasn’t the only Sovereign to shock at this auction; a rare 1953 Elizabeth II Gold Proof Sovereign also fetched a staggering £384,000.

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The Reigning Years of Queen Anne – Great Change

In this instalment of our Queen Anne blog series we move into the years of Queen Anne’s reign in which many political upheavals and cultural changes came about. On-going War with Spain, resolution of long-standing tension with Scotland and the development of a two-party political system are all notable issues Anne dealt with during this period. Anne’s confidence in dealing with and influencing such matters increased, evidenced by her vetoing an Act of Parliament in 1708, the last time this has ever happened. It may be said that this was the period in which Anne truly ‘reigned’ in the full sense of the word.

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Maundy Money – A rare Monetary gift from the Monarch

This year, on Maundy Thursday, Her Majesty The Queen will travel to Blackburn Cathedral for a Maundy Ceremony during which, among many other traditions, she will hand out Maundy Money. The tradition of the Monarch giving money to the needy on Maundy Thursday dates back 700 years, the tradition eventually becoming known as the Royal Maundy. Today’s recipients are usually people over the age of 70, chosen not because they are needy but for service to their churches and communities.

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#AskaCurator – Your Coin Questions Answered

We recently trialed the first of what we hope will become a regular feature for our Social Media fans – #AskaCurator. It is your chance to ask The Royal Mint Museum’s curators absolutely anything – from questions on a specific coin to how to stop silver from toning.

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Here is a selection of our favourite questions, picked and answered by one of the Museum’s curatorsChris:

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The Rising Years of Queen Anne – Making of a Monarch

The second part of our series on the life of Queen Anne looks into the events during the early years of her reign. If you missed part one you can read it here.

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…

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