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The Great Escape from East Berlin

Imagine scaling an electricity pole in the dead of night, a bitterly cold wind rushing past your ears, and tiptoeing along a power cable through the skies of Berlin. This is exactly where trapeze artist Horst Klein found himself after being banned from performing in East Berlin for his anti-communist beliefs.

He eventually fell to the ground after becoming fatigued, but fortunately landed in West Berlin. Despite two broken arms he was finally free from the communist holds of the East. But he wasn’t the only one to risk his life.

30 years ago, on 9th November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the people of Berlin were liberated after being separated for almost three decades. But during the years that the Berlin Wall stood, hundreds of people followed Klein’s example, with each one having to find their own creative way to defect to the West.

West and East Germans at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989 - The Great Escape from East Berlin
West and East Germans climb on top of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989

A homemade hot air balloon

Two friends who worked as mechanics used their skills to build a hot air balloon. They had a little help from their wives too, who stitched together bed sheets to make the actual balloon. In September 1979 the couples and their children climbed into the balloon and floated through the skies over the wall into the freedom of the West.

The last train to freedom

In 1961 not long after the wall was erected, Harry Deterling found himself driving a train down a disused railway track. As a railway engineer he knew this track led to gap where the Berlin Wall had not yet been completed. After piling his friends and family on board, Deterling drove the train at high speed through the gap in the barrier and into West Berlin. The gap was sealed by East German guards the next day, giving the train its nickname “the last train to freedom”.

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Conrad Schumann, the first person ever to cross the Berlin Wall, leaping over the barbed wire that formed the initial barricade.  

In a stolen tank

An East German soldier stole a tank in 1963 and drove it straight into the wall in the hope that it would break through. The force wasn’t enough to destroy the wall so instead the soldier was forced to climb out on top of the tank and up onto the wall. Under gunfire from the East German border guards he got stuck in barbed wire, and shot twice. Fortunately West Germans came to his aid and rescued him.

In a convertible with no windshield

Checkpoint Charlie, was the scene of a successful, and bold, escape by Heinz Meixner. He rented a red Austin-Healy Sprite, chosen because the car itself only measured 90cm high. This was vital for Mexiner’s plan. He removed the windshield and let out a little air from the tires to lower the car even more, drove to Checkpoint Charlie (with his girlfriend and mother in law hidden in the back) and drove straight under the barrier into the West.

On an air mattress

One man who was so familiar with the banks of the River Elbe, which ran through Berlin, used an air mattress as a makeshift raft. Under the cover of darkness and with a trusted friend, the pair navigated a metal fence and the muddy riverbank. They climbed on board the mattress and silently paddled along the river into West Germany.

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A ‘wall woodpecker’ chips away at a section of the Berlin Wall.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the night the wall came down celebrations continued throughout the city into the early hours of the morning as friends and families reunited. Today, little remains of the wall as it was almost entirely destroyed, but the legacy of that night and the wall lives on.

If you’re interested….

You can own an ORIGINAL piece of the Berlin Wall along with a coin from both East and West Germany. And just think, this might even be the very piece that Horst Klein walked over! But it’s already over 60% sold so you’ll need to act fast. Check out the video to see Adam explain what makes this set so special or click here to order yours today >>

Titans of British culture – Queen and Bond – to feature on UK coins!

Royal Proclamations issued on 8th November 2019 confirm that two icons of British culture will be honoured next year on UK coins – rock legends of the stage, Queen, and spy of the silver screen, James Bond.  

It is unknown yet exactly when we will be able to snap up these new issues, but we do know the coins will be 2020 dated so we will be on the lookout from the New Year…

“I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend” – Freddie Mercury

And legends they did become. It’s safe to say renowned rock band Queen have been inspiring millions across the globe since they exploded on to the British music scene in 1970 – you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognise the opening rift of Another One Bites the Dust.

Known for hits such as We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody and Don’t Stop Me Now, Queen’s pioneering, creative and alternative approaches to music making proved to the world that music has no bounds. 

Their status as icons in the British music industry was sealed in 1990 when they received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Following this they were then inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2018 were presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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And now, their lasting legacy is going to be captured on a commemorative UK coin – the first band to ever feature on a UK coin!

The Royal Proclamation confirms there will be various specifications available, including a £5 base metal coin and a variety of precious metal versions. All coins will bear a design depicting a keyboard, drum, bass and electric guitar accompanied by a microphone and the inscription “QUEEN”. What’s more, a special two pound denomination silver coin will feature the edge inscription “MERCURY · MAY · TAYLOR · DEACON ·”

Bond, James Bond

Created by Ian Fleming in 1953, James Bond – or better known by his MI6 codename 007 – will be returning in the hotly-anticipated 25th Bond film that was revealed recently to be called No Time To Die.

The Bond franchise is the longest running film series of all time, grossing nearly $7 billion to date for its production company, Eon. Overall it has grown to become the fourth-highest-grossing film series ever, and has amassed five Academy Awards along the way too.

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007 previously featured on a 2018 10p as part of The A-Z of Great Britain 10p Coins

The secret agent has been portrayed by seven actors, and is perhaps best known for his suave manner, his penchant for martinis (shaken, not stirred) and the gadgets and cars supplied by Q branch.

Speaking of cars, the Royal Proclamation confirms the design of the Bond coin will feature the 007 logo and a depiction of his car – fingers crossed for a classic Aston Martin!

It also looks like this commemorative Bond coin will be issued in a variety of precious metal specifications. The smallest denomination will be a ten pound silver coin, with an impressive diameter of 65mm to truly appreciate what is sure to be a spectacular design.  

Register your interest

Both Queen and Bond have an unrivalled cult following with leagues of fans worldwide. So, I expect these new commemorative issues to be amongst the most anticipated new issues in 2020, and as such will be in high demand! 

If you want to be kept up to date and be the first to know when these coins are available then simply register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as we have more information.

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The FOUR Remembrance Poppy Commemoratives every collector should know about…

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month – the world will unite in silence to remember our fallen heroes.

To mark this important occasion, a number of new Remembrance Poppy Commemoratives are released each year in partnership with The Royal British Legion.

And this year, they might just be the best yet.

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You see this year marks 100 years of Remembrance and the unveiling of the Cenotaph. And all of the coin designs are symbolic of this important anniversary, the attention to detail is incredible.

If you’re yet to secure your 2019 Remembrance Commemorative, then I have good news for you! As I’ve spent some time looking through the new releases and have handpicked my top 4 pieces. Read on to find out why each of them would make a great addition to any collection…

Did you know? Through the sales of Remembrance and Poppy coins that The Westminster Collection has raised over an incredible £1 million for The Royal British Legion. Find out what Charles Bryne, Director General of The Legion, had to say about this by clicking here.

The Masterpiece Poppy Coin – a great feat of minting techniques and craftsmanship

Truth be told, there are so many incredible features on this year’s Masterpiece Poppy Coin that I genuinely don’t know where to begin.

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First up you have the Mother of Pearl Poppy that sits proudly atop the coin. Nacre, to give Mother of Pearl its proper name, makes up the outer coating of Pearls – one of the most sought-after gemstones on the planet. And due to its nature, means that each Poppy crafted from it is completely unique.

LS 2019 10 GBP 5 oz Poppy Masterpiece Coin Detail - The FOUR Remembrance Poppy Commemoratives every collector should know about…

The coin itself has been struck from 5oz of fine silver and finished to a Proof Finish; the finish that true collectors value. Multiple smaller copies have also been engraved onto its huge 65mm surface, resulting in an exceptional 3-dimensional effect.

The 2019 Masterpiece Poppy Coin is the pinnacle of craftsmanship and unsurprisingly one of the most demanded in the world of Numismatics. It really has to be seen to be believed. But with a large majority of the 300 worldwide edition limit now reserved, you’ll need to be quick if you’d like to secure one for your collection. Find out more by clicking this link >>

The WORLD’S FIRST £2 Remembrance Poppy Coin

There have been many Remembrance Poppy Coins issued over the years, but never before have we seen a £2 coin.  That was until now!

AT 2019 Poppy Coin BU 2 Pound - The FOUR Remembrance Poppy Commemoratives every collector should know about…

This brand new coin features a large stylised poppy with the text ‘We will remember them’, and is encircled by a pattern that has been inspired by the wreath on the Cenotaph. Paying tribute to that all-important centenary anniversary.

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Collecting firsts always prove extremely popular with collectors and the same can be said for the FIRST EVER £2 Remembrance Poppy Coin. If you’re an annual Remembrance Poppy Coin collector this is a must-have for your collection. And best yet, it can be yours for JUST £9.99 (+p&p). Click here to order now >>

ONLY 250 collectors can own this exclusive Remembrance Silver £2 Coin Cover

If you’re looking for an extremely limited way to own the FIRST EVER Remembrance Silver £2 Coin, then this is it. In fact, this could be the most poignant cover issued this year.

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Sat at the heart of the cover is the world’s first Remembrance Silver Proof £2 Coin. Of the 2,500 that have been issued for worldwide distribution, only 250 have been allocated for use in this exclusive cover. A significantly low amount given the magnitude of the occasion.

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This is perfectly paired alongside the Official Royal Mail ‘Lest We Forget’ Poppy Stamps that will be postmarked on Remembrance Day – 11th November 2019.  This both captures a moment in time and further cements the strict 250 worldwide edition limit.

The cover has just been announced for release and early signs suggest a sell-out is on the cards. Click here to secure yours before it’s too late >>

Strictly limited Gold-Plated £5 Coin marks 100 years of Remembrance

To mark 100 years of Remembrance and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, this strictly limited Gold-Plated Proof £5 coin has been issued.

2019 Jersey five pounds Poppy Coin Gold Plated with red colour printing lifestyle - The FOUR Remembrance Poppy Commemoratives every collector should know about…

What makes this coin so special is the one-year-only design. Adorned around the edge of the coin is a wreath of Poppies that have been expertly coloured in red ink, the detail is incredible. These encircle the poignant words, ‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’, that has been engraved at the centre of the coin.

Only 4,950 of these fantastic coins have been issued for worldwide distribution. If you’d like to add one to your collection for JUST £25 (+p&p) you can do so by clicking here >>

Remember, by ordering any of the 2019 Remembrance Coins or Covers that you’ll be directly supporting The Royal British Legion who provide financial, social and life-long support to the Armed Forces community.

Here’s a few words from Charles Bryne, Director General of The Royal, about raising over £1 million through the sales of Remembrance and Poppy Coins…

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Charles Bryne, Director General of The Royal British Legion

“As Director General of The Royal British Legion, I would like to thank those that have supported the charity by purchasing one of our partnership products over the years. I am very proud that together, we have achieved the amazing milestone of raising over £1 Million for The Royal British Legion.

This is a great achievement, which will allow us to continue to help those who need us the most. Partners like The Westminster Collection enable us to support our beneficiaries, providing lifelong support to the Armed Forces community, serving men and women, veterans, and their families when they need it most.

This Remembrance period, we will ask the nation to commemorate the service and sacrifice that many friends, allies, and Commonwealth nations made alongside Britain in defence of its freedoms, values, and way of life.

Our partnership coins and commemoratives are a reminder to us to take that time to remember and reflect, and this is why our partnership with The Westminster Collection is so very special to us.

Please accept my thanks for all of the support that you have shown the Legion in enabling us to reach this milestone, and most importantly help us to support the Armed Forces Community.”

To view our full range of Remembrance Poppy Coins click here