It’s surprising, in this new digital age, just how ‘hands-on’ designing a coin is. In fact, it’s very much the job of a master craftsman.
Never was this more evident than when the Isle of Man Treasury chose to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria with three new coins, each with a brand new portrait.
The man they turned to was renowned sculptor Luigi Badia and here’s the remarkable process of how these coins were developed.
First Stage – Pencil designs
Like most products across all industries, designing a coin starts with pencil sketches. These are then amended, potentially many times, until a final sketch is produced and approved.
Second Stage – Plaster modelling
The second stage is arguably the most visually stunning. The sculptor, Luigi Badia in this case, will turn their sketches into a 3D ‘Plaster’ design. The skill involved in this process is really very impressive as every tiny detail must be modelled.
The plaster is far larger than the actual coin size to allow for this detail to be captured. The design will be resized in the next step of the process.
Third Stage – Digital Modelling
It’s during this stage where technology has certainly helped the design process. The 3D ‘Plaster’ designs are scanned and a digital file, called a greyscale, is created.
An engraving machine then uses this file to cut the design into a piece of steel that’s the actual size of the final coin. This will then be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.
Fourth Stage – Coin Striking
This final stage is when the physical coin comes to life. The specially prepared die is used to ‘strike’ the design onto a metal ‘blank’. The metal used for the blank can vary widely, from cupro-nickel to silver and gold.
Only once the mint is perfectly happy with the quality of the struck coins will they be issued.
The Queen Victoria Silver Antique £5 Set
This set is the only way to own all three of these stunning, specially commissioned Antique Silver £5 Coins.
Just 495 of these stunning sets are available worldwide and exclusive to The Westminster Collection.
When it comes to identifying the very finest quality silver coins, few, if any, can match an Australian ‘Kangaroo’. Precision made, eye-catching and struck from 999/1000 Pure Silver, they’re usually snapped up on sight. And now three of the most exciting new issues have been brought together in an exclusive limited edition set…
Why has the Kangaroo become such an important design?
When the famous marsupial is engraved onto an Australian legal tender coin it becomes a hallmark of quality. Rather like the British Sovereign is a benchmark for gold coins, the Kangaroo signifies that your coin is from a trusted source and has been produced to an exceptional standard.
Because of this, the ‘Kangaroo’ has such an international following, and has become one of the most prominent and internationally respected names on the market. Collectors worldwide buy these Australian coins for their quality, design and craftsmanship.
Three unique finishes brought together in one exclusive limited edition set
Now, three of the most exciting examples of the ‘Kangaroo’ you can buy have been brought together in one limited edition set.
The 2017 Australian Kangaroo Numismatic Set brings together the traditional bullion silver coin with the extremely sought-after high relief proof issue and the unusual gilded proof edition. Each coin boasts a full ounce of fine silver and demonstrate some of the finest minting techniques in the market.
Here’s a bit more about what makes each coin in the set so special:
The first coin in the set is the traditional bullion coin, struck by The Perth Mint to a frosted finish, it contrasts superbly with the reflective and raised parts of the design, giving an unusual three tone relief.
Then second coin is The Perth Mint’s high-relief proof finish $1 coin. This remarkable technique strikes the design onto a concave blank, allowing for the engraving to stand tall – more like a sculpture than a coin.
The final coin is the stunning gilded silver proof coin that features the Australian kangaroo carefully picked out in brilliant 24 carat gold.
All three coins share a similar heritage, but demonstrate distinctive approaches to coin design.
If you’re interested…
You can be one of just 250 collectors to own The Australian Kangaroo Set.
The coins will come complete in a Deluxe Wooden Presentation Case, ready to display, with a Certificate of Authenticity, attesting to its precious metal content and edition limit.
Each is individually encapsulated, perfect to keep them in pristine condition for your future generations to enjoy and appreciate. These coins are extremely popular, and with an edition limit of just 250, stock won’t last for long.
Today I’d like to tell you the story behind my all-time favourite British coins – the Cartwheel Pennies. Not only are they the heaviest and largest coins ever issued for circulation, they were also issued for ONE-YEAR-ONLY. Here’s the story…
Throughout the 18th century silver prices increased, which resulted in a substantial decrease in the amount of silver pennies that were being minted. This led to a lack of small change and businesses were finding it difficult to pay their employees with the current coinage.
Subsequently, a trend began where independent Mints started striking copper half penny and penny tokens. Most of these tokens were being minted at the ‘Soho Mint’ in Birmingham, which was actually the very first Mint to be powered by Steam.
Whilst this was not legitimate money it solved the issue and it took off – companies all over Britain were ordering personalised tokens.
However, the ‘solution’ meant there was a problem…
The British Government had lost control of the coinage. In an attempt to regain control, they instructed Soho Mint to strike 480 tonnes of copper pennies and 20 tonnes of copper twopences. These were to be the first regal British coins of the denominations to be made of copper, and the very first official British coins to be struck using steam power.
8 times heavier than today’s 1p and 2p coins
The coins were large! In fact, the 1 pence weighed an incredible 1oz and the 2 pence weighed 2oz – that’s the same weight as a Mars Bar and almost 8 times heavier than the current 1p and 2p coins. At that size, it’s hard to believe these ever jangled in the pocket of our ancestors!
The coins weighed so much becauses they were struck in pure copper and their intrinsic value corresponded to their actual face value. Their design was simple – a portrait of the monarch at the time, King George III on the obverse and Britannia on the reverse.
The dramatic size of these coins and their unusually wide raised rim is why they became known as ‘Cartwheel’ pennies.
Issued for one-year-only
The ‘Cartwheel’ pennies were designed this way to prevent counterfeiting, but their size and weight made them cumbersome and unwieldy. They were immediately unpopular with the public as people didn’t like carrying them around – the two-pence was an INCH and three-quarters in diameter and a quarter inch thick. There were soon calls for them to be discontinued and shortly after, the coins were redesigned.
Due to the rise in the price of copper, the intrinsic value of the coins soon exceeded their face value and subsequently the majority of these coins were melted down.
This meant, the coins were issued for one-year-only, which automatically makes them two of the must-have modern coins and key coins in any British collection.
If you’re interested…
We have been able to source a small number of sets containing the original 200 year old ‘Cartwheel’ coins – the two pence and the penny. They come presented in a deluxe presentation case with an accompanying Certificate of Authenticity. They really are key must-have coins in any British collection.