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.
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.
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.
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.
Last year was a vintage year for coin collecting. We saw technological advances, new minting techniques and even a stampede to own the year’s standout US gold coin. In light of this I thought you’d like a rundown of my top 7 extraordinary coins of 2014…
The highest-relief silver 5oz coin ever struck by The Royal Canadian Mint…
The 2014 Canada 5oz Silver Proof High-Relief Maple Leaf $50 is almost like a sculpture! To achieve this, technically enhanced tooling was created especially to sustain the additional minting pressure involved. I’m forever astonished by the impressive weight and size of 5oz coins, and with such high-relief detail, this one was a particular favourite.
The London Tower Bridge Silver Coin Bar…
London’s Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous landmarks, and now it has been immortalised on a meticulously crafted silver ‘coin bar.’ This unusually shaped coin boasts remarkable craftsmanship with a surprising level of detail for its size. In fact I consider this coin to be one of the most finely engraved coins that I have seen, making it a truly exceptional issue.
You could add the world’s most famous painting to your collection…
The Mona Lisa is of course instantly recognisable, but in 2014 collectors got the chance to own their very own version. This distinctive rectangular silver coin is perfectly suited to show off the famous painting in the best way possible. The Mona Lisa is richly detailed in colour and it was the first time that I had ever seen a piece that combined numismatics with art in such a striking way.
The coin with a hidden secret…
I was mesmerised when I first saw this coin – because of the hidden secret you can reveal. Representing our home planet, the coin features a beautiful image of Earth surrounded by all eight planets in our solar system. But, all isn’t as it seems, as Earth has been highlighted with special ink so that when a UV light is shone upon the coin the planet is picked out, glowing blue against the rest of the background. For that reason this coin just had to be among my top 7 of the year.
The coin that caused a modern-day gold rush…
Remarkably, the 2014 JFK Gold Proof Half Dollar caused a stampede of collectors. The US Mint released the coin at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August which saw hundreds of collectors queuing, running and trampling each other just to get their hands on one. Eventually, the Mint was forced to suspend sales to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. The rush was so intense that the police were called to calm things down. Don’t believe me? See for yourself! (click here to watch the YouTube footage)
Marking a poignant year with a charitable commemorative…
The ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London last year was a momentous dedication to the fallen, which inspired the nation. A ‘100 Poppies’ £5 Coin was also issued to mark the centenary of the First World War. For each sale, a donation was made to the Royal British Legion to support their work and provide financial, social and emotional support to all those who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, and their families. The coin was an unprecedented success – alone raising over £40,000 for the Royal British Legion. It’s not surprising that this coin is no longer available, and having helped to raise such a large amount for the Royal British Legion there is no question about it being one of my top coins of 2014.
Struck using a metal rarer than platinum…
What makes this edition of the 2014 China Silver Panda Coin so special is the fact that it is plated with a metal even rarer than platinum – ruthenium. The Chinese 10 Yuan is already one of the world’s most sought after silver coins – but this collectable edition tips the bar by combining three of the world’s precious most metals, silver, gold and black ruthenium. Featuring both a famous design and a one-off finish, it isn’t difficult to understand why the edition limit sold out so fast. The few collectors who own this issue will appreciate just how lucky they are to know that there’s a chance this specification may never be available again.
Of course these are just a handful of the fascinating coins issued last year, and it’s this variety which makes coin collecting so compelling for me. Many have sold out now, but fortunately 2015 is already proving to be just as interesting. Did you manage to add any to your collection?
If you are interested…
There is still an opportunity to own one of these coins. With limited stock left, The London Tower Bridge coin is still available to own.
***MORE STOCK COMING SOON***
The ‘100 Poppies’ Coin, launched by The Westminster Collection in partnership with The Royal British Legion last October has now raised over £131,000.
Since 2008, The Westminster Collection, has created a unique commemorative poppy-themed coin each year to honour those who have sacrificed their lives in the Armed Forces. However sales of the 2014 centenary edition coin have seen the biggest donation to date, ensuring that the memories of the fallen live on – as well as the care and support offered by The Royal British Legion.
The full amount was presented to The Royal British Legion by The Westminster Collection’s Chairman, Stephen Allen, on Tuesday 14th April at a special event held at The Legion’s pop-in centre in Southampton. The money raised will help The Legion provide financial, social and emotional support to all who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their families.
Stephen said, “though we have been working in partnership with The Royal British Legion since 2004, the Poppy Coin came about in 2008 as a way to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“We are delighted that the partnership has continued to grow, and our special Poppy Coins each year are a way of giving back to a charity that has done so much for both the Service community and the national spirit of Remembrance over the past 94 years.”
Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, said the coin acts as “poignant reminder” of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“We are so proud of our long-term partnership with The Westminster Collection, a family business which shares our commitment to supporting the entire Service community; whether it’s helping veterans to remain independent in their homes, supporting bereaved families, ensuring people have access to the benefits they deserve or offering employment advice.
“The Poppy Coin is not only a poignant reminder of those who have fought and sacrificed their lives, it also helps the Legion to carry out our vital welfare work, allowing today’s Armed Forces, veterans and their families to live on to a more hopeful future.”
SAVE £10.00 on the new new VE Day Silver Medal
Following the success of last year’s coin, The Royal British Legion have teamed up once again with The Westminster Collection to issue an official VE Day silver medal to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
NOW SOLD OUT