The inspiration behind The Great British Pubs £2 Collection 🍻

“The pub sign says: you are still in England. Come in here and – however far from home you are, however, outlandish our name – you will find the comforts of your local town or village.”

Sebastian Faulks, ‘Icons of England’. Edited by Bill Bryson, 2010

Following the special release of The Great British Pubs Collection, we wanted to delve into the history behind the iconic pub signs featured on the coins themselves.

It turns out the concept of a pub sign has been around for over 1,000 years! Spawning from the Roman custom of hanging vines outside to let thirsty travellers know they would soon have refreshment – combined with the Roman’s arrival in England, and the lack of grape vines to drape across the pub entrance, an evergreen bush was used as an alternative. So, pubs named The Bush or The Holly Bush owe their name to this ancient custom. The very first sign that there was a pub nearby…

The pub sign as we know it today was actually a royal decree. In 1393 King Richard ordered, ‘That whoever shall brew ale in the town, with the purpose of selling it, shall hang out a sign otherwise he shall forfeit his ale.’ As a result, many ale houses began to display signs. But with many still being unable to read it was necessary to use painted pictures so the establishment could be clearly identified.

So, keep reading below to explore the origins of each pub featured on the brand new £2 coin collection.

The Red Lion

The Red Lion is probably one of the most common names for a pub. It originates from the time of James VI of Scotland and I of England, uniting the Scottish and English crowns in 1603.

To emphasise the newfound union between the crowns of Scotland and England, James decreed that the heraldic red lion of Scotland should be displayed on all buildings of importance – which included pubs.

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The Red Lion £2 coin from the collection

The Ship Inn

As a maritime nation, there is a rich tradition of seafaring and trade that has resulted in many pubs having a name related to ships.

In some cases, the ships depicted on these signs were specific, such as Victory, Vice-Admiral Nelson’s flagship.

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The Ship Inn £2 coin from the collection

The Royal Oak

Another popular pub name is The Royal Oak. Originating after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, fought during the English Civil War.

Charles II’s Royalist Army was defeated during this battle by Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. Charles then had to flee for his life, seeking refuge in the form of a great oak tree near Boscobel House in Shropshire – with hopes that he would not be spotted by Cromwell’s men.

His plan succeeded and having evaded capture, Charles II went on to be restored to the throne. As a result of this dramatic tale of cunning escape, the tree became known as the Royal Oak and pubs across the country were named in tribute.

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The Royal Oak £2 coin from the collection

The White Hart

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it was the 1393 decree of Richard II that made pub signs compulsory. The White Hart was Richard’s personal badge and so many pubs chose to adopt the name at the time.

There’s even a Grade II listed sign for The White Hart in Bletchingley, Surrey – dating back to the 18th century. It is shown in the image below.

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The Grade II listed sign for the White Hart in Bletchingley, Surrey. © Historic England / David Evans
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The White Hart £2 coin from the collection

The Rose and Crown

Rooted in a key event of British history, The Rose and Crown celebrates the end of the War of the Roses 1455-1487. A series of civil wars for the throne of England between two competing royal families: the House of York and the House of Lancaster.

The result was the uniting of the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York when Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York. Hence the literal phrasing of the rose and crown together, united.

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The Rose and Crown £2 coin from the collection

Where you can get your set today

The Great British pub is at the heart of the community. As you’ve read, this has been the case for generations, so celebrate this integral part of Britain’s culture with The Great British Pubs £2 Coin Collection!

These coins are not just a tribute to the historic artwork above pub entrances, but also a celebration of the stories and memories created within their walls.

Click here to secure yours today >>>

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Celebrating 125 years of The Perth Mint: 2024 Australia Gold Proof Sovereign

The Perth Mint has a storied history rooted in the gold rush of the 1850s, a time when vast quantities of precious metal were unearthed in Western Australia. To capitalise on this wealth, The Perth Mint was established in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint. Since then, it has become a cornerstone of Australia’s numismatic heritage. In a nod to it’s past, The Perth Mint proudly announces the release of the 2024 Australia Gold Proof Sovereign.

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This edition is truly special. It’s the first Australia Sovereign to feature King Charles III, with the reverse redesigned to pay homage to the first-ever Perth Mint Sovereign struck 125 years ago. This new design presents a fresh interpretation of the classic St. George and the Dragon.

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Struck by The Perth Mint from 22 carat gold, the design itself re-imagines the traditional St George and the Dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci, depicting a warrior on horseback brandishing a sword above a vanquished dragon.

The intricate design is encircled by the inscriptions ‘AUSTRALIA’, ‘2024’, and also a a special ‘P125’ mintmark – signifying the Australian coin has been struck at The Perth Mint on this 125th Anniversary year.

The obverse features Royal Mint artist, Dan Thorne’s, portrait of King Charles III. This is the first time that King Charles features on an Australian Sovereign, marking another key moment in numismatic history.

Explore the design

Use the interactive points in the image below to explore the original St George and the Dragon design and the brand-new design featuring on the 2024 Australian Gold Proof Sovereign.

A Limited Edition Masterpiece

The edition limit for this coin is just 2,000, making it over three times scarcer than the sold-out UK 2024 Gold Proof Sovereign. Struck to the same exacting standards as the UK Gold Proof Sovereign, this coin weighs 7.98 grams of 22-carat gold. It is the first Sovereign issued since the Platinum Jubilee edition in 2022, marking a two-year hiatus due to the change of monarch.

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A Tribute to History

The very first coin minted by The Perth Mint in 1899 is a piece of history permanently displayed in its gold exhibition. This coin was the first of 106 million sovereigns produced until 1931, marking the beginning of a legacy that continues to shine brightly.

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The 2024 Australian Gold Proof Sovereign is a remarkable tribute to 125 years of rich heritage, as well as a unique milestone in a brand-new legacy of King Charles III. This limited edition coin, with its exquisite design and high-quality craftsmanship, is a must-have for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Secure your piece of history and celebrate the golden legacy of The Perth Mint and 125 years of the Australian Sovereign.


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My Unforgettable Day with the Red Arrows

Written by Jonathan Patterson.

I’ve always been captivated by the Red Arrows, and the chance to see them up close at RAF Waddington was a dream come true.

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Left: Presenting in front of the Red Arrows who are taxiing to the runway at RAF Waddington Middle: I had to take a picture with the Hawk Jet MKII Right: My interview with Red 10, Graeme Muscat

Our day began in the early morning as we arrived at the base, passing through tight security checks with a sense of mounting excitement. We eagerly awaited our Red Arrows escort, who would take us to the heart of their operations.

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As soon as we stepped off the Red Arrows mini-bus, the deafening roar of jet engines filled the air. We hurried to the viewing point only metres away from the runway, as the Red Arrows formed up and took off in a stunning, orchestrated formation.

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The Red Arrows taking off at RAF Waddington

For the next 20-30 minutes, the Red Arrows captivated us with their brand-new display for their 60th Diamond Season. Their daring barrel rolls, incredibly close manoeuvres, and crowd favourites like the Tornado left us in awe. The nine Hawk Jets flew overhead in an awe-inspiring sight, the thunderous noise was incredible. Starting with Red 1, each jet gracefully peeled away to land, marking the end of an unforgettable performance.

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Some incredible manoeuvres and formations from the Red Arrows 60th Season display

In need of a moment to absorb the experience, we decided to grab a cup of coffee. Within five minutes, a group of officers entered, with distinct marks around their ears from wearing some sort of helmets. It was then that I realised these were the Red Arrows pilots themselves, casually grabbing their coffees in their Red Arrows mugs. I was in complete awe of these men, who moments ago were hurtling through the clouds at over 500 mph.

Our RAF contact informed us that we only had a few minutes before debrief with the pilots. Led by Red One, Jon Bond, the meeting was a fascinating insight into their meticulous process. Each pilot critiqued their performance, highlighting areas for improvement and discussing how to perfect their manoeuvres for the next sortie that day. I was amazed to learn that the Red Arrows conduct these sorties and debriefs three times a day, every day, to ensure their displays are flawless and maintain their public display authority.

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A Red Arrows debrief led by Red 1, Jon Bond, here pilots watch there display moments after flying and critique their performance

Next, we had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Red 10, Graeme Muscat. He shared insights about the Red Arrows, their intense manoeuvres, their strong focus on teamwork, and how they are a beacon for Great Britain, flying the red, white, and blue all over the world.

We were incredibly excited to show Graeme the brand-new 50p coins specially made to celebrate the 60th Diamond Season of the Red Arrows. His elation was clear as he smiled and said, “I think it’s amazing… I can keep that one, right?”

Watch the full interview with Red 10, Graeme Muscat.

Our day with the Red Arrows was nothing short of extraordinary. From witnessing their breath-taking display to meeting the pilots and learning about their dedication, it was an experience that left us deeply inspired. The Red Arrows continue to be a symbol of excellence, teamwork, and pride for Great Britain.

To commemorate this special occasion, a brand-new coin range has been released to celebrate 60 years of the Red Arrows.

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>>> Click here to explore the complete Red Arrows 60th Anniversary Diamond Season coin range <<<