Wedding coins and coin traditions – the origins

Coin traditions are part of wedding ceremonies all around the world. 

Many of the origins of these traditions are unclear, but the stories associated with them are a lasting testament to their power. The coin has been a symbol of shared affection for centuries and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of people everywhere.

The Marriage Vows

The marriage vows many of us would recognise today were first published in 1549 in ‘The Book of Common Prayers’ which was the first time that the full rites had appeared in English. It is amazing how little the vows have changed to this day!

1549 Book of Common Prayer
Marriage Vows as they appear in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer

We can translate the above as:

I (name) take thee (name) to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love cherish and to obey, till death us do part: according to God’s holy ordinance: And thereto I give thee my promise.

Then shall they again loosen their hands, and the man shall give unto the woman a ring, and other tokens of spousage, as gold and silver, laying the same upon the book. And the priest taking the ring shall deliver it unto the man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the woman’s left hand. And the man instructed by the priest, shall say,

With this ring I thee wed, this gold and silver I thee give: with my body I thee  worship: and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy ghost. Amen.”

It is fascinating to note that gifts of gold and silver were an integral part of the vows. It is no surprise that coins became inextricably linked with the wedding ceremony.

The Royal Mint’s part in this story

The Royal Mint has made English coins since the ninth century AD. It was in 1551, shortly after the publication of The Book of Common Prayer, that Edward VI introduced the first sixpence.

The sixpence

This coin would become forever associated with the wedding tradition. We may speculate that this newly struck coin, shiny and attractive, became the fashionable choice for those who wished to bestow a monetary gift upon newlyweds.The Royal Mint still sell sixpences in beautiful presentation cases so that today’s wedding guests can present the happy couple with a memento of the day that will last forever.

The Sovereign

While the sixpence may have been the original wedding coin, today people also give Sovereigns at golden wedding anniversaries, perhaps to join a sixpence saved from the couple’s wedding day some 50 years prior. At the time the first sixpence was struck, most people would never even have seen a Sovereign, such was the value and rarity of the coin.

Give a coin as a Wedding gift

The Royal Mint lucky silver sixpenceIf you wish to buy Royal Mint coins to grace a perfect wedding day or to treasure a golden memory, you can buy The Royal Mint sixpence, Gold Sovereigns and all our other beautifully crafted coins directly and securely from our website.




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