Speculation in the collecting community has been brewing for months about the next British star to be honoured in The Royal Mint’s hall of fame that is the Music Legends series.
And now collectors and fans will surely be rejoicing from Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads, and perhaps even on Mars, as the next Music Legend to feature on a BRAND NEW UK coin has been confirmed to be none other than the Starman himself, David Bowie!
From Space Oddity to Life on Mars? there is no denying that David Bowie is one of the most iconic and influential British musicians to have ever graced our stages. Known for his reinvention, he was a fearless, creative, inspirational icon that changed the lives of so many people.
Here at The Westminster Collection we cannot think of a better way to celebrate his contribution to British music and his lasting legacy than with a coin.
And what a coin it is – keep on reading to see the spectacular design for yourself!
Plus, if you want to be the first to know when this new coin is released, simply register your interest below.
David Bowie Coin
The design of the new David Bowie coin is a real tribute to the king of glam rock. The main talking point of this 1oz Pure Silver Proof coin is without a doubt the coloured element. The red and blue lightning bolt motif is instantly recognisable from the Aladdin Sane era and is synonymous with the musician.
Interestingly, I’d say that this is the FIRST pop culture themed coin I can think of that features a portrait – until now portraits on coins have been reserved for Royalty or prominent historical figures. This is incredibly unusual for a coin and means it will be sought-after by knowledgeable collectors.
Register your interest
The David Bowie coin follows in the footsteps of Queen and Elton John where we saw SELL-OUTS within hours of release!
This surely means that considering the sell-out success of the previous coins in the Music Legends series, that this new David Bowie coin is sure to be in high demand and collectors will have to act quickly to guarantee one for their collections.
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.
A symbol of royal power for nearly 1,000 years, the Tower of London remains one of Britain’s most iconic attractions.
But did you know that for over 500 years The Tower of London housed The Royal Mint?
It’s safe to say that during The Royal Mint’s time in The Tower, making coins was hot, noisy and dangerous affair. So much so that tampering with coins was considered treason, and the threat of gruesome punishment alone was enough to deter most, if not all, forgers and thieves.
For me, there’s no coin stories as fascinating as the ones that originate from The Royal Mint’s time a at The Tower. Here’s a selection of my very favourite ones…
Health and Safety was not a concern
In stark comparison to the society we live in today, the health and safety of Mint workers was not a top priority during the Mint’s time in The Tower.
Mechanisation in the 1600’s was welcome relief for Mint workers, as up until this point, all coins were made by hand. As a result, it wasn’t unusual for workers to be injured, and the loss of fingers and eyes was not uncommon.
When it came to striking the coins, split second timing and staying alert could mean the difference between making a coin and losing a finger! That’s because in order to strike a coin, one worker would place a handmade piece of metal between two engraved stamps – called dies – and a second worker would then strike it with a hammer. This procedure would stamp the coin design on to the metal, but if both parties were not on the ball sometimes a finger would be removed in the process.
Even then, it actually wasn’t until screw-operated presses were introduced in the 1700’s that life for Mint workers became relatively safe.
Dirty, deadly money
Working in the Mint was dirty and dangerous work. Huge furnaces were used to melt down precious metal, and the air was full of deadly chemicals and poisonous gases. This made the coin making process a real hazard.
In the 1560’s a group of unfortunate German workers learned this the hard way. Several of them were suspected to have been poisoned by clouds of noxious gas, and they fell incredibly ill. Seasoned workers at the Mint advised them of the cure – to drink milk from a human skull! Despite the so called ‘cure’, several men died.
The mysterious case of Sleeping Beauty
Several decades prior to this, in the 1540’s, William Foxley was another victim of the Mint’s lax health and safety. Though how exactly, still no one to this day knows for sure! Foxley was a potter at the Mint, and one day he fell asleep over his pots and no one could wake him up.
It’s unclear what exactly caused Foxley’s coma, and allegedly King Henry VIII himself swung by The Tower to check out the mysterious sleeping beauty. For the majority of the British population, the only way they knew what their monarch looked like was thanks to the obverse of the coin. So Foxley will have been disappointed to have slept through his audience with the King.
This case perplexed physicians for 14 days, after which Foxley woke up and was the picture of perfect health. Remarkably he lived for another 40 years.
Tampering with coins was considered treason
Treason was not taken lightly. In fact any tampering with coins, such as shaving silver from the edge of a coin to steal it, was classed as treason and the severe punishments that awaited thieves and forgers was nearly enough in most instances to put them off.
During medieval times, the sentence for a first-time convicted counterfeiter was to remove their right hand. Any second offences were punishable by castration. It’s unknown exactly what followed this particularly gruesome punishment for a third or even a fourth offence.
But if you think this is severe, in later years and right up until the 1700’s male forgers suffered a traitor’s death – that is to be hung, drawn and quartered. Meanwhile, female forgers were either burned at the stake or transported on one of the infamous convict ships to their designated place of exile.
If you’re interested…
The Royal Mint has just released a BRAND NEW UK £5 coin to celebrate its longstanding and fascinating history with The Tower of London.
The coin is available in a range of specifications, including Brilliant Uncirculated and extremely limited edition Silver Proof and Silver Proof Piedfort. Given the historical significance of this commemorative, it is expected to be highly sought-after by serious collectors now and in years to come. That said, we do not expect to be able to offer it for long.
This morning we saw the release of an incredibly special £5 coin that honours the historic 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross, a charity that’s helped millions of people in need across the globe.
And excitingly, today’s release is the first time the British Red Cross has been commemorated on a UK coin.
So in my latest video I tell you everything you need to know about this UK first… it’s a video you can’t afford to miss…
If you’re interested…