Chinese New Year 2014: The Year of the Horse

chinese new year

The Chinese New Year is one of China’s oldest festivals, with records of it going back as far as the 14th century BC.  As its date falls so differently to the New Year celebrated in the Western world, an explanation will help us to understand why that’s so. It’s believed that Emperor Huangdi introduced the lunar calendar, based on the lunisolar cycle. This observes the moon phases and solar years to determine the exact date that Chinese New Year falls on, which will always be between 21st January and 21st February.

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Burns Night, A Scottish Celebration!

Traditionally ‘Burns Night Suppers’ are held all over the UK on or around the 25th January to celebrate the life and work of The Bard, Robert Burns. The day is often referred to as Burns Night or Robert Burns Day and falls on the day of his birth; 25th January 1759. 2014 marks the 255th Anniversary of Burns’ birth and the 211th Anniversary of the Burns Night we celebrate today. During his short life, he was prolific in his poetry and writing, and also in his fathering of 14 children with 6 different mothers! While he is well known for his writing, a possibly less well-known and unlikely fact is that he was employed as a Tax Inspector from 1789 until his death in 1796, at only 37 years old. A particularly tragic fact is that his wife gave birth to their last child on the day of his funeral.

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2014 commemorative coins now available at

The first 2014 commemorative coins are now available at The Royal Mint website.

2014 is another big year for Britain, and here at The Royal Mint we will be commemorating some significant anniversaries, as well as celebrating another addition to our nation’s sporting heritage. In 2014 we will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of Queen Anne, 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War and the 500th anniversary of Trinity House. 2014 also sees us welcome a new addition to our sporting heritage when the Commonwealth Games returns to Glasgow for the 3rd time in its 84 year history.

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The ‘My Royal Mint’ coin video promotion

Here at The Royal Mint, we always love hearing from coin collectors about how much they enjoy the coins and coin sets we strike. In recent years, through facebook and twitter, we have seen this take on a new dimension with coin fans sharing photos of them and their collections with us.

Now, we would like to take that to the next level! We are calling on coin fans everywhere, all over the world, to send us short videos of the coins or coin collections they love.

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The Advent Calendar ‘Offside’ Competition

On Day 15 of our Facebook Advent Calendar, we asked our fans to send us their explanations of the notoriously difficult-to-explain Football Offside Rule.

50p Football Small

With 3 prizes on offer of a London 2012 Olympic Football 50p Brilliant Uncirculated coin for the versions that we found the most amusing, we had a great time judging them! Here are the 3 Winners; we hope you enjoy and learn from these versions as much as we did!

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On Day 10 of our Facebook Advent Calendar, we’re opening the window (see what I did there?) on our Top 10 Festive Facts.  A Christmas quiz has become a fun tradition for many people, so I hope these will help you out!

1. Advent Calendars – the first ones appeared in Germany. The BBC History channel refers to printers in Munich being the first to produce them in 1908. Paper and cardboard rationing during the Second World War put an end to them until 1946. Chocolate advent calendars appeared in the UK in the 1950’s after food rationing ended and they soon spread across the globe, with something for everyone – here’s a trendy one and here’s a classical musical one.

The World’s Most Expensive Advent Calendar was a $1m version by Porsche Design in 2010 – there may have been others, but this one is pretty impressive!

Porsche Design's Advent Calendar








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A Golden Age ends; The Sovereign on the eve of War

The year is 1914. Europe is on the brink of four long years of bloody conflict. The First World War would go on to change millions of lives, reshaping the political and social landscape of Europe and sweeping away many pre-war institutions and customs in the process.

One such casualty was Britain’s gold Sovereign which, although firmly established, was forever shaken by the devastating effects of such a war.

The eve of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War offers an opportunity to look back and reflect upon the role of The Sovereign at that time, a coin that by 1914 could be said to have reached a peak of accuracy, accepted and trusted throughout the world, enjoying a truly Golden Age.


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How The Royal Mint marked Remembrance Day 2013

To mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, The Royal Mint today conducted its annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the war memorial at our site in Llantrisant.

Staff gathered around the memorial for the Remembrance address and the laying of wreaths, which this year was conducted by our Financial Director, Vin Wijeratne, and a special guest.

The Rt Hon David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales, paid us a visit today, and while he was here he joined us for the Remembrance Day ceremony and laid a wreath at our war memorial.

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The Rt Hon David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales, lays a wreath at The Royal Mint war memorial as part of the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

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Tradition fit for every little prince or princess

The eyes of the world were on St James’ Palace yesterday, 23rd October, for the christening of Prince George of Cambridge, first son to William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the future King and his family, and the guests, protocol and outfits of the day all featured strongly in the global media’s coverage of the event. As did our very own Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, who spoke to journalists and fans outside the gates of St James’ Palace, proudly displaying our gold kilo coin, the first of its kind to celebrate a royal christening

gordon summers gold kilo st james' palace
Gordon Summers, Royal Mint Chief Engraver, presents the 2013 UK Royal Christening Gold Kilo coin outside the gates of St James’ Palace, London (Picture: Reuters)

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Revealing the secrets of Ironside’s decimal coin designs

It’s been an exciting week for everyone here at The Royal Mint, and fans of the coins we are proud to make. Not only did we announce the design for the new coins that celebrate the christening of Prince George of Cambridge, but we were also delighted to host the BBC One Show on Monday evening.

They  were here to broadcast live from The Royal Mint as we pushed the button to start production of a new 2013-dated 50 pence piece that is going into circulation to commemorate the centenary of Christopher Ironside. Born in 1913, he was the man who designed the new coins that were introduced when our coinage went decimal back in 1971.

Christopher_IronsideIt was a very special occasion, as our guest of honour was none other than Mrs. Jean Ironside, Christopher’s widow. She was able to catch the first coin off the press, which we placed in a capsule and presented to her as a very personal memento.

If you missed this wonderful, historic moment, you can watch it for the next few days on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.


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A Lucky Silver Penny for some very special babies!

I’ve had a lovely task recently – looking at copies of Birth Certificates of babies born in the UK on the same day as Prince George of Cambridge. We offered a gift of a Lucky Silver Penny to any such baby, asking for applications through our Facebook page, and the response has been phenomenal.

The Lucky Silver Penny

From the details submitted, we’ve found all sorts of interesting facts to share…

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