Posts by Matthew Sotheran

The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

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2018 marks 100 years since the day the Allies of World War I and Germany signed an armistice for the cessation of all hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

For this special centenary year we have worked closely with The Royal British Legion, including five veterans from Bravo 22 Company, as well as numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, to design a poignant Armistice Commemorative Medal for the Centenary.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

Bravo 22 Company

Bravo 22 Company, which is made possible by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK since 2011.

The projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members and are designed to improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help individuals along their paths to recovery.


The design process

The design process began with a creative workshop led by numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, at the Legion’s Pop In centre in Bristol. Five alumni from Bravo 22 Company were invited to join the workshop, all of whom have served in the Armed Forces. The participants were encouraged to draw on their experiences in the military to create a fitting tribute for the Armistice 100 year centenary anniversary.

 

 

Mike started the session with an introduction to medal design and explained the process from the initial ideas stage through to final production. Coins and medals generally offer a relatively small canvas to the artist, so Mike explained the importance of using a simple composition to create a strong and impactful design.

To generate some key themes, Mike had everyone write down words they associated with the First World War and Armistice. These were then used to inspire the visual design stage, where everyone began to sketch ideas.

The rest of the workshop was spent developing the rough sketches into more refined ideas.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images8 - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

The finished design

Taking inspiration from the original designs of the veterans, Mike was able to create the striking and poignant designs that feature on the medal.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images9 - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

If you’re interested: RBL 2018 Bravoo 22 Armistice Antique Medal Obverse Reverse - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

The Royal British Legion 2018 Armistice Medal is available to own today. Due to its significance, the medal has been issued in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Bravo 22 Company. If you choose to own one, we will ensure a donation is made to them on your behalf.

Click here for more details >>

Could you be hiding a small fortune in the attic?

I am sure we have all dreamt of stumbling across a dusty old stamp collection or long forgotten silver coin secretly worth a small fortune hiding somewhere in the house.

Unfortunately I am yet to stumble across my fortune in the attic, but this dream recently came true for a grandmother from Hull when she found a 1644 Oxford Crown in her late grandfather’s coin collection.

Charles I Oxford Crown Replica Standing 1 - Could you be hiding a small fortune in the attic?

The reverse of the Silver-plated Charles I Oxford Replica coin, depicts Charles I on horseback with the City of Oxford in the background.

While clearing out her attic she found a shoebox of coins she had inherited from her grandfather decades ago. She initially offered the collection to her children, who rejected what they saw as ‘worthless junk’.

She then considered binning her collection of relics, before making the decision to have the coins valued along with a number of other family heirlooms.

That’s when she discovered that amongst her collection was the incredibly rare 1644 Charles I Oxford Silver Crown. This coin was struck for just one year and is considered by many numismatic experts to be one of the most beautiful British coins ever produced.

Struck in 1644, this crown was minted while the country was in the midst of a Civil War. The coin features a portrait of King Charles I on horseback placed against a fantastic rendition of the City of Oxford which was his headquarters during the English Civil War.

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King Charles I. Monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland from March 1625 until his execution in January 1649.

It is no wonder that this coin is so highly valued. It is incredibly rare, the design is one of the most intricate ever struck on a British coin and it marks one of the most significant moments in our nation’s history – the English Civil War.

The historic coin is expected to reach in excess of £100,000 at auction and the owner plans to use the money to help her granddaughter, currently expecting her first child, to fund a house deposit.

I think it’s time for me to have another dig around in the attic!

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If you’re interested…

For those not planning on bidding in the auction for this exceptionally rare coin, we have a limited stock of just 36 Silver-plated replicas available of the beautiful 1644 Oxford Crown. Click here to find out more >>>

Charles I Oxford Crown Replica Obverse Reverse 1 300x208 - Could you be hiding a small fortune in the attic?

The life and reign of Queen Victoria told through her coins…

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.

Queen Victoria Half Crown set product image 1 - The life and reign of Queen Victoria told through her coins…

Young Head – This design graced most of Queen Victoria’s coinage right up to 1887.

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.

Queen Victoria Half Crown set product image 3 - The life and reign of Queen Victoria told through her coins…

Jubilee Head – Designed in 1887  to mark her Golden Jubilee.

 

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.

Queen Victoria Half Crown set product image 2 - The life and reign of Queen Victoria told through her coins…

Veiled Head – The Jubilee Head design was short-lived, being replaced by Thomas Brock’s ‘Old Head’ or ‘Veiled Head’ design in 1893.

 

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.

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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 >>

Queen Victoria Half Crown set blog image 300x200 - The life and reign of Queen Victoria told through her coins…