In February it was confirmed by Royal Proclamation that the most British of bears – Paddington – would feature on 2 new UK 50p coins.
We can now reveal the full details of the first issue, which will be fully available from its official launch date of 18 June.
Limited Edition Silver Proof 50p Coin
60,000 official Royal Mint Limited Edition Presentations of the coin will feature Paddington in full colour sitting on his suitcase at Paddington Station.
The coin is struck from Sterling Silver to the highest proof finish and is presented in an acrylic display case.
Given the immense popularity of the coloured Beatrix Potter 50p coins over the last 3 years, which have continued to sell out year-on-year, collectors can look forward to this issue being equally collectable.
You will be able order the new Limited Edition Silver Proof Paddington at the Station 50p coin from The Westminster Collection for £65 with FREE p&p on Monday 18 June.
Base Metal Brilliant Uncirculated Collector’s Edition
But Paddington fans don’t only have the option of the Limited Edition Silver version. A special collector’s quality Brilliant Uncirculated coin will be struck in the normal 50p circulating metal (cupro-nickel) and will be available for as little as £3.99 in a Change Checker Certified BU Collector’s Card or £10 in the official Royal Mint Presentation Pack.
Both will be available to order from The Westminster Collection from Monday 18 June.
Second coin design revealed today
But that’s not all the good news for Paddington fans. The Royal Mint has revealed the second 50p coin design today for the very first time…
Featuring Paddington outside Buckingham Palace, the second issue will be released later this year in silver and base metal but will also be available to pre-order from Monday.
Get yours today – personally signed by Private Pike actor, Ian Lavender.
Royal Mail has just revealed a new set of special stamps, which will feature beloved characters from classic British sitcom, Dad’s Army.
Scheduled for release on 26 June 2018, the new stamps will feature eight best loved characters – the seven original members of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson, Lance Corporal Jones, Private Walker, Private Fraser, Private Godfrey and Private Pike, as well as lovable antagonist Chief Warden Hodges.
The stamps are Royal Mail’s first ever dedicated British sitcom stamp issue – and on the 50th anniversary of the airing of the first episode, they couldn’t have picked a more deserving programme.
Dad’s Army is one of select group of shows that fully deserves its classic status. The comedy focused on a Home Guard platoon commanded by pompous bank manager Captain Mainwaring and his mild-mannered chief clerk, Sergeant Wilson, as they provide Walmington-on-Sea’s last line of defence against the imminent Nazi invasion.
Drawn from their own wartime memories, writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft based the series partly on Perry’s experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers at the age of 17 during the Second World War. His mother objected to him being out at night, which inspired the character of Pike.
And so when the actor who played Private Pike, Ian Lavender, agreed to sign 500 framed Dad’s Army stamps, we were absolutely delighted.
In 1968, aged just 22, Ian was cast as Private Frank Pike, the youngest member of the platoon. He appeared in the entire run of the series, and in the spinoff film released in 1971.
He revived the role of Private Pike in the 1983 BBC Radio sitcom It Sticks Out Half a Mile. The show was a radio sequel to Dad’s Army, running for just one series. Ian has continued to be associated with Dad’s Army, and even made a cameo appearance as Brigadier Pritchard in the 2016 Dad’s Army film.
Here’s your first look at the new stamps alongside some details about each one…
Played by Arthur Lowe. The pompous, if essentially brave and unerringly patriotic local bank manager, Mainwaring appointed himself leader of his town’s contingent of Local Defence Volunteers. He had been a lieutenant in the First World War, but is embarrassed by the fact that he never saw combat, being sent to France only in 1919 after the Armistice and then part of the Army of Occupation in Germany.
Played by John Le Mesurier, a diffident, upper-class chief bank clerk who would quietly question Mainwaring’s judgement (“Do you think that’s wise, Sir?”). Wilson actually had served as a Captain during the First World War, but he only reveals this in the final episode. He does not live with the Pike family but is implied to be in a relationship with the widowed Mrs Pike (and sometimes hinted to be Private Pike’s father) although this is never explicitly stated.
LANCE CORPORAL JONES
Played by Clive Dunn. The local butcher, born in 1870. Jones was an old campaigner who enlisted as a drummer boy at age 14 and participated, as a boy soldier, in the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884–85 and, as a man soldier, in Kitchener’s campaign in the Sudan in 1896–98. Jones also served during the Boer War and the Great War. He often suffers from the effects of malaria caught during one of his campaigns, and has to be calmed during his ‘shudders’. Often seen as fastidious and old, he is the world’s worst worrier and has a catch phrase of ‘They don’t like it up ‘em!’ when referencing any potential Nazi attack. Dunn was considerably younger than his character, being only 48 at the start of filming. This allowed him to take part in some of the more physical comedy of the show.
Played by John Laurie. A dour Scottish undertaker and a former Chief Petty Officer on HMS Defiant in the Royal Navy. He served at the Battle of Jutland as a ship’s cook and also has a medal for having served on Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition. Fraser Lived on the Isle of Mingulay. His catchphrase was “We’re doomed. Doomed!”
Played by James Beck. A black market spiv, Walker was one of only two able-bodied men of military age in Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard (the other was Private Pike). Walker was not called up to the regular army because of an allergy to corned beef. Following Beck’s death in 1973 Walker was cut out of the series.
Played by Arnold Ridley. A retired shop assistant, Godfrey had worked at the Army & Navy Store in London. He lives in Walmington with his elderly sisters and serves as the platoon’s medical orderly. He often gets “caught short” and needs to “be excused”. A conscientious objector during the First World War, he was nevertheless awarded the Military Medal for heroic actions as a combat medic during the Battle of the Somme.
Played by Ian Lavender. The youngest of the platoon, a cosseted mother’s boy, often wearing a thick scarf over his uniform to prevent illness and a frequent target for Mainwaring’s derision (“You stupid boy!”). Pike is not called up to the regular army due to his rare blood group. He works for Mainwaring in his day job as an assistant bank clerk. He frequently addresses Sgt. Wilson as “Uncle Arthur”.
CHIEF WARDEN HODGES
Played by Bill Pertwee. The platoon’s major rival and nemesis, Mainwaring looks down on him as the local greengrocer and dislikes that Hodges saw active service in the Great War. As an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden, he is always demanding that people “put that light out”.
You can reserve all of the new Dad’s Army stamps now on a limited edition Framed Collector Card – hand-signed by actor Ian Lavender – Private Frank Pike himself!
One of the things I find most interesting when collecting historic coins is the insight they give into the time they were struck and of the monarch who issued them.
A particular reign that has always fascinated collectors is that of Queen Victoria. During Victoria’s long reign only three major obverse portraits adorned her coins and they come together to chart the life and reign of one of Britain’s most popular monarchs.
The Young Head
The first effigy to feature on Queen Victoria’s coinage is known as the ‘Young Head’ portrait. This early portrait shows Victoria at the tender age of just 18, when she acceded to the throne.
The public in the early 19th century would not have been aware that the youthful Victoria depicted on their coins would soon become the leader of the largest Empire the world had ever seen and would reign longer than any British monarch before her.
The ‘Young Head’ portrait was extremely popular with the general public and remained on Victoria’s coins with only minor alterations for the majority of her reign.
The Jubilee Head
After 60 years however, it was decided that a new portrait was necessary to reflect Victoria as the elder stateswoman she had become. Victoria’s Golden Jubilee marked the occasion for a design change and Joseph Edgar Boehm was chosen to design a portrait for the 78 year old Queen.
However, Boehm’s portrait failed to gain the public’s admiration in the way its predecessor had. The portrait was met with ridicule by the general public who found the small crown balanced precariously on her head as unrealistic and almost comical.
The Veiled Head
The ‘Jubilee’ portrait was quickly replaced in 1893 after only six years, with what was to be the final obverse used on Victoria’s coinage. This new effigy was designed by Thomas Brock and shows a mature bust of the Queen with a veil representing her long period of mourning after the death of her husband Prince Albert.
Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after his death. For the rest of her reign she wore black and the final portrait of the highly respected Queen represents this secluded period of mourning that came towards the end of her life.
Together, these coin portraits tell the story of Queen Victoria, with each marking an important period from her long reign. All of these coins are now over 100 years old and for me they epitomise Victorian coin collecting.
If you’re interested…
Today you have the opportunity to own each of these key portraits in the Queen Victoria Half Crown Set. However, these historic coins are very difficult to source and we only have a limited number available.
Click here for more details >>