Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today we are pleased to reveal UK’s new coin designs for 2017.
Scroll down and I’m sure you’ll agree 2017 is set to be another significant year for coin collectors, with some exceptional designs that are sure to look resplendent when struck to the ‘collector’s favourite’ Proof finish…
The Sir Isaac Newton 50p
The 50p coin commemorates the revolutionary scientific and mathematical genius, Sir Isaac Newton and his remarkable legacy. He discovered the laws of gravity and motion and remains one of the most famous men in history. This coin really needs to be seen in real life as the concentric design cleverly catches the light differently from every angle.
The Jane Austen £2 Coin
2017 sees the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – and this £2 has been specially designed to commemorate one of the most famous authors of all time. Featuring an unusual ‘cameo’ design and Austen’s signature, this coin is sure to be highly sought-after.
The First World War Aviation £2 Coin
The latest in The Royal Mint’s series of two pound coins commemorating World War I, this particular issue pays tribute to the role of the air force in the conflict. Designed by tangerine the striking aerial perspective is a first for a UK £2 coin.
The House of Windsor £5 Coin
100 years of Royal tradition are honoured with this exceptional £5 coin – commemorating the Centenary of the House of Windsor. In 1917 King George V changed the name of the British Royal Family from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the now familiar Windsor. The coin’s pleasingly traditional design features Windsor Castle.
The King Canute £5 Coin
In a nod to Britain’s storied history, the second 2017 £5 coin marks the 1,000th anniversary of King Canute’s accession to the throne. Most famous for his attempts to prove his power by turning back the tide, Canute is also hailed as the first ‘king of all England.’
Some of these designs are really exceptional, and they are certain to become more sought-after in years to come. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re interested…
You can now own all the new 2017 coins in the DateStamp™ UK Specimen Year Set. Each coin has been struck to Brilliant Uncirculated quality and encapsulated alongside a 1st Class Stamp officially postmarked by Royal Mail with the issue date – 1/1/2017. Click here for more details…
2017 sees the Gold Sovereign’s bicentenary, and to mark the occasion a special one-year-only design has been unveiled, recreating Pistrucci’s original 1817 engraving. It’s a truly fitting tribute and acknowledges the rich history of the coin which I’ve been exploring in these blogs. If you missed the previous posts you can start from the beginning here, but now here’s the final chapter in the sovereign’s history so far…
In Part V, I explored the decline in production of Gold Sovereigns as a result of World War I and the worldwide economic crisis, which lead to the end of the Sovereign. Until 1957 when it was revived once again…
Apart from one special limited edition commemorative issue for King George VI’s coronation in 1937, no Sovereigns had been struck since 1932. In 1953, Sovereigns were produced for Queen Elizabeth II for the Coronation Sets but they were for national collections, not collectors.
The Sovereign’s revival
Then in 1957, worldwide demand for the coins became so great that The Royal Mint resumed production of bullion gold Sovereigns for circulation. Not only would this satisfy demand, it would also blunt the premium that was making it so lucrative to counterfeit the coins.
These early ‘restoration’ Sovereigns of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign feature Mary Gillick’s portrait of the young Queen on the obverse, engraved especially for her new coinage.
The portrait design was changed in 1968 prior to Decimalisation in 1971, to a portrait by Arnold Machin. This portrait still features on postage stamps all these years later.
A new market emerges
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign has been a time of change for the Sovereign. A new market has emerged – the collector’s market.
In 1979, The Royal Mint produced the first proof version of the Sovereign of her reign. This higher grade version was limited to just 12,500 pieces and proved very popular with collectors.
With a newfound interest from collectors, it is not surprising that we have seen more design variations of the Sovereign than ever before.
A third portrait design by Raphael Maklouf was used from 1985 to 1997 and a fourth by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS replaced this until 2015 when Her Majesty’s portrait was updated by The Royal Mint engraver, Jody Clark.
The UK’s Premier Gold Coin
We have also seen the introduction of commemorative one-year-only designs, which started in 1989 with the issue of a special 500th anniversary Sovereign, featuring a design similar to the first Sovereign in 1489. These special commemorative designs have become more and more popular.
Since then, there have been one-year-only designs for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, the modern St. George and the Dragon in 2005, the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.
These limited editions have seen a surge in Sovereign collecting, cementing its position as the UK’s premier gold coin.
It’s universal appeal shows no sign of slowing. In recent financial crises, people all over the world clamoured for Gold Sovereigns.
The Sovereign’s reputation for quality and reliability remains and will remain for years to come and now the next chapter in the Sovereign story has been written…
Announcing the new UK Bicentenary Gold Proof Sovereign
To mark the Bicentenary of the “modern” Gold Sovereign in 2017, The Royal Mint have just released a brand new Gold Proof Sovereign reprising Benedetto Pistrucci’s original engraving from 1817.
With a low edition limit of just 10,500 worldwide, a special one-year-only design change and a fine proof finish, the 2017 Bicentenary Gold Sovereign has all the elements to be one of the most collectable British gold coins of the 21st century. And now you can own one.
In my last blog post, I explored the Gold Sovereign’s incredible success as the most trusted and popular of all gold circulating coins throughout the world during the Empire years until 1931 when its reign as the King of Coins came under threat…
The Outbreak of the First World War in 1914, followed by the worldwide economic crisis in 1931 seemed to sound the death-knell for the Sovereign.
Gold Sovereigns were struck annually until 1915, but production dropped dramatically in 1914 and the majority of the 20 million minted in 1915 were for overseas use.
Decline in Production
As part of the emergency measures put in place upon the Outbreak of the First World War, specie payments were suspended and Treasury notes replaced gold. Gold coins disappeared from circulation but they continued to be minted for overseas bullion transactions.
Sovereigns were struck in 1916 and a small amount in 1917, but no more circulating Sovereigns were minted in London, except for a consignment for overseas use in 1925. The overseas branch mints still struck considerable quantities of Sovereigns.
Sovereign production continued after the war, but in much smaller numbers. Despite this, another two branch mints were opened. One in Bombay in 1918, which struck Sovereigns for just one year only. The other was opened in South Africa in 1923.
By 1926, only three branch mints were still operating – Perth, Melbourne and Pretoria. However, the worldwide economic crisis in 1931 signalled the end of these remaining branch mints, Britain left the Gold standard and the last Sovereigns were struck in Pretoria in 1932.
This appeared to be the end of the Sovereign. But all was not as it seemed.
Would the Sovereign be revived again?
Find out in the final part of our 200 years of the Sovereign Blog Series – click here to read it >>