This year a brand new £5 coin has been issued to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill, and it features a never-seen-before effigy of the great man.
Designed by renowned sculptor and artist David Cornell FRSA, the new portrait shows a defiant Churchill in military uniform.
I’ve been given a behind the scenes look at the creation of the portrait, and had a quick chat with the artist himself.
David Cornell is perhaps more famous for sculpting members of the Royal family, (he was even commissioned to paint a birthday portrait of the Queen) so I thought I’d ask him about his inspiration behind the new design:
“Winston Churchill was a major part of my childhood growing up in London during the War, hearing his speeches and seeing photos on posters, which left an indelible impression on me.
“I realised later what a great man he was and his contribution to the War effort, inspiring the people of Great Britain.
“As a portrait artist, it has been a great honour for me to be able to portray him in this tribute to honour his legacy.”
First of all Cornell worked on a plaster engraving of the portrait, making sure it fits the very particular dimensions of a coin. You can see the fine detail in the picture above, and also the large size of the plaster, which has to be reduced when the die is created to strike the coin.
The finished £5 coin also features an inscription of one of Churchill’s famous speeches: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’ Although spoken in reference to the heroes of the Battle of Britain, the quotation was chosen as it represents Churchill’s indomitable spirit during the war.
The coin has been issued on behalf of the Bailiwick of Jersey, and is available now in a range of metals – from an impressive 5oz 22 carat gold version measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, to a highly collectable cupro-nickel version available to all. I’m sure you’ll agree, it will make a fitting tribute in any collection to our greatest ever Prime Minister.
If you are interested…
The new Winston Churchill £5 Coin is available now in a special limited edition Proof version. Complete with Presentation Case and Certificate of Authenticity.
2015 is set to be something of a momentous year for coin collectors, with five significant anniversaries to be commemorated next year. They are:
£2 – The 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta
2015 marks 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta – an agreement which forced King John to abide by the ancient laws and customs by which England had previously been governed. Literally translated as “Great Charter” it laid the foundations for modern democracy and the rights of English citizens. In fact, it is still cited in many legal cases to this day.
Perhaps surprisingly, this will be the first time that the Battle of Britain is commemorated on a United Kingdom coin. In the summer of 1940, Nazi Germany was advancing through Europe, but their failure to gain air superiority over the RAF in Britain was ultimately one of the turning points of the war.
£2 – 100th Anniversary of the First World War – Royal Navy
The second design in the series of First World War £2 coins pays tribute to the role of the Royal Navy. At the time, it was by far the most powerful navy in the world and was a major asset to Britain in defending coastal waters against the Germans.
Also making its debut on United Kingdom coinage for 2015 is the Battle of Waterloo. Fought by the Duke of Wellington and his allied armies against Napoleon Bonaparte of France in 1815, it was a defining moment in European history – ending 20 years of conflict in the continent.
£5 – 50th Anniversary of the Death of Winston Churchill
There are few Britons more worthy of commemoration than the wartime Prime Minister himself, Sir Winston Churchill. Following his death in 1965 he became the first person outside of the Royal family to be commemorated on a coin, and now, fifty years on, he is being honoured again on a new £5 coin.
Next year the Queen is due to become the longest reigning monarch in British history, and there will soon be a new portrait on our coins to honour her. With the final appearance of the long-standing effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and five very noteworthy anniversaries, it already looks like 2015 will be a truly landmark year for coin collectors.
On 14th October Royal Mail issued the first ever set of special stamps to honour eight former British Prime Ministers of the past 200 years.
Together they create an intriguing snapshot of Britain’s political history over the last 250 years.
Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, 1st Class Stamp:
Nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady’, Thatcher was Britain’s first female Prime Minister. She was elected MP for Finchley in 1959 and entered Downing Street in 1979. As Prime Minister she won three elections and implemented policies that became known as Thatcherism.
Harold Wilson, Lord Wilson of Rievaulx, 1st Class Stamp:
He first became Prime Minister 50 years ago and went on to win three further general elections, making him the only Prime Minister in the modern era to have won four general elections. As Prime Minister he implemented social reforms in many areas including education, health, housing and child poverty.
Clement Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, 1st Class Stamp:
As the winner of the 1945 landslide election Attlee was the first head of a majority Labour government. Under his leadership Labour launched the National Health Service, extended unemployment insurance, and nationalised the railways.
Sir Winston Churchill, 1st Class Stamp:
Churchill famously led Britain to victory during the Second World War. He served as Conservative Prime Minister twice – from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. He was known for his rousing speeches and quotations, including the iconic ‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’ in 1940. Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.
William Ewart Gladstone, 97p Stamp:
Dubbed the ‘Grand Old Man’ of Victorian politics, Gladstone was Prime Minister for four separate periods – more than any other Prime Minister. During this time he reformed the army and civil service, extended voting rights and introduced the first national system of primary education.
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, 97p Stamp:
During his time as Prime Minister Peel founded the Metropolitan Police Force and put through legislation allowing Catholics to become MPs. Other landmark legislation included the Mines Act of 1842 that banned the employment of women and children underground, and The Factory Act of 1844 that limited working hours for children and women in factories.
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, 97p Stamp:
Grey led the Whigs for almost 30 years, and was Prime Minister for just 4. During this time he passed the the ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832 to reform the electoral system and abolished slavery throughout the British Empire with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.
William Pitt the Younger, 97p Stamp:
William Pitt was an MP at 21, Chancellor at 23 and Prime Minister at 24 – making him Britain’s youngest ever Prime Minister. During his time as Prime Minister he led Britain into the Napoleonic Wars, reformed the government of India, and passed the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.
Alongside each stamp you’ll find informative narrative about each Prime Minister. Each stamp is postmarked 14th October 2014 – the first day of issue.
Royal Mail will issue many thousands of stamps but only 495 sets have been earmarked for this unique presentation book.