We’ve all heard of the zodiac, and have probably on more than one occasion checked our daily horoscope in the hope it will reveal what the future holds. When I sat down to write this blog I was buoyant in the revelation that my day was going to be “filled with love and joy”.
But perhaps lesser known in Western culture is the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the 12 animals that represent it.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar
More commonly known as the Chinese Zodiac, it is believed the Chinese Lunar Calendar begun around 2600 B.C. and is related to the worship of animals in Chinese culture. Legend has it before departing to the next life, Buddha asked every animal on the plant to comfort him and the twelve animals (including the dragon, tiger and rat) that responded are now honoured in the lunar calendar that spans 12 years – one animal for every year.
Much like the Western Zodiac, your lunar animal sign depends when you’re born. And people born in specific lunar years are believed to have certain personality traits and characteristics related to their animal.
Turns out I was born in the Year of the Sheep – so I’m creative, compassionate and friendly. I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though I’m not sure I agree that I like to spend my money on fashionable things… you win some you lose some!
The incredible popularity of Lunar Coins
For over 40 years mints from around the world have celebrated Chinese New Year with Lunar Coins. These issues have turned in to something of an international phenomenon, to the point where the lunar theme is the largest ongoing coin programme on the planet.
Most prestigious mints have a lunar series, including Australia, Canada, and of course our own Royal Mint. With each selling millions of ounces of gold and silver coins each year inscribed with the year’s relevant lunar animal.
Collectors will snap these coins up for a variety of reasons. Some collect their own lunar animal, because they like the personal connection, others will collect a particular specification because it’s especially limited. Personally, I find they also make great birthday gifts for obvious reasons – my friends love them.
The Year of the Rat
The 25th January 2020 will mark the Chinese New Year, and with it the next lunar animal will be celebrated – the Rat.
The Rat is in fact the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and people who are born under the sign of the Rat are thought to be intelligent and quick-witted with rich imaginations.
If this sounds like you the odds are you’re born under the sign of the Rat. And this year your lunar animal will be celebrated on lunar coins around the world.
What’s more, The Royal Mint has just released their brand new Year of the Rat range, including what’s perhaps the most sought-after specification of all – the 1oz Silver Proof Coin.
Apparently Rats are known for taking good advantage of opportunities presented to them – so what are you waiting for, make sure you snap up your lunar coin today!
If you’re interested…
You can own the BRAND NEW Royal Mint Lunar Coin TODAY – the 1oz Silver Proof Year of the Rat coin.
This coin is sure to be the most sought-after yet because not only is the 1oz Silver Proof a key specification for collectors, it’s also got the lowest edition limit yet!
Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today we are pleased to reveal UK’s new coin designs for 2017.
Scroll down and I’m sure you’ll agree 2017 is set to be another significant year for coin collectors, with some exceptional designs that are sure to look resplendent when struck to the ‘collector’s favourite’ Proof finish…
The Sir Isaac Newton 50p
The 50p coin commemorates the revolutionary scientific and mathematical genius, Sir Isaac Newton and his remarkable legacy. He discovered the laws of gravity and motion and remains one of the most famous men in history. This coin really needs to be seen in real life as the concentric design cleverly catches the light differently from every angle.
The Jane Austen £2 Coin
2017 sees the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – and this £2 has been specially designed to commemorate one of the most famous authors of all time. Featuring an unusual ‘cameo’ design and Austen’s signature, this coin is sure to be highly sought-after.
The First World War Aviation £2 Coin
The latest in The Royal Mint’s series of two pound coins commemorating World War I, this particular issue pays tribute to the role of the air force in the conflict. Designed by tangerine the striking aerial perspective is a first for a UK £2 coin.
The House of Windsor £5 Coin
100 years of Royal tradition are honoured with this exceptional £5 coin – commemorating the Centenary of the House of Windsor. In 1917 King George V changed the name of the British Royal Family from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the now familiar Windsor. The coin’s pleasingly traditional design features Windsor Castle.
The King Canute £5 Coin
In a nod to Britain’s storied history, the second 2017 £5 coin marks the 1,000th anniversary of King Canute’s accession to the throne. Most famous for his attempts to prove his power by turning back the tide, Canute is also hailed as the first ‘king of all England.’
Some of these designs are really exceptional, and they are certain to become more sought-after in years to come. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re interested…
You can now own all the new 2017 coins in the DateStamp™ UK Specimen Year Set. Each coin has been struck to Brilliant Uncirculated quality and encapsulated alongside a 1st Class Stamp officially postmarked by Royal Mail with the issue date – 1/1/2017. Click here for more details…
Births, deaths, weddings, christenings, jubilees, anniversaries and birthdays – The Royal Family have had commemorative coins issued to mark them all.
But which Royal coins are really worth adding to your collection? With so many out there it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to nine of my favourite coins, each representing a member of the modern Royal family. Without further ado, in no particular order…
1. Princess Diana
No royal collection would be complete without a Princess Diana coin.
The most poignant issue was struck by The Royal Mint in 1999 following the tragic death of ‘the people’s princess’. Diana touched the hearts and lives of thousands across the globe and this coin commemorates her life – with a beautifully engraved portrait by David Cornell. Such an important member of the Royal family should forever be remembered and this is the perfect way in which to pay tribute to her life.
2. Prince Charles
The Prince Charles 50th Birthday coin holds the distinction of being the rarest UK Gold £5 coin to be issued. Just 773 were struck and it also features the most words of any British coin within its design.
Prince Charles founded the Princes Trust in 1976 – a charity which was created in order to help the lives of disadvantaged young people. The coin was issued to celebrate his 50th birthday and honour his charity. As the longest serving heir in British history, Prince Charles is certainly a Royal figure that is certainly deserving of a commemorative coin.
3. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was viewed by an estimated 2 billion people around the world.
The most iconic photograph of the whole ceremony was undoubtedly The Balcony Kiss – and this was captured perfectly on this Cook Islands $1 coin. Plated in 24 carat gold the Royal Wedding Photographic coin had an edition limit of just 24,500 – which isn’t many considering the number of people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. In years to come when William is King, those who have this coin will own a lasting memory of the day he married his Queen.
4. Prince George
Born 22nd July, 2013, the arrival of the young Prince George stirred global interest – especially from the USA. As the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George became third in line to the throne and is our future King.
The Perth Mint issued a Royal commemorative coin which really stood out. Depicting William and Kate with the new-born Prince this was the first official coin from a major nation to feature an engraving of Prince George.
5. Princess Charlotte
On 2nd May this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their second child into the world – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Royal christening took place on 5th July at St Mary Magdalene church on the Sandringham estate.
With a design inspired by the stunning Lily Font which is used for Royal christenings, the Silver Proof £5 Coin issued by Guernsey captured the moment perfectly. The elaborate one-off design makes this one of the premier commemoratives celebrating the young Princess.
6. Queen Elizabeth II
In 2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. It was a multinational celebration that marked the 60th anniversary of the her accession in 1952.
To celebrate, an exceptional ‘double obverse’ coin was issued. The coin is the first ever UK crown to feature the Queen’s full profile on both sides. With such a rare design, the Diamond Jubilee coin is certainly one which adds another dimension to any Royal collection.
7. Prince Philip
Prince Philip’s life of Royal service began at Queen Elizabeth II’s accession in 1952 when he was promoted to Commander after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.
To mark his 90th birthday in 2011, a specially commissioned portrait was struck on a £5 coin issued by the Royal Mint. This was the first coin in British history to feature both a Monarch and a Consort on opposite sides.
8. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The 1980 UK 25p Coin was issued in celebration of the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. The design features the effigy of the Queen Mother surrounded by bows and lions – which is a pun on her family name ‘Bowes-Lyon’
This was the penultimate 25p crown issued in the UK and was the first ever British coin to feature a living person other than the reigning monarch.
A special mention goes to the Canada 2014 $20 ‘Royal Generations’ Silver Proof Coin. This coin was issued to commemorate the birth of Prince George and pictures three generations of heirs.
I think it’s particularly special as Prince George’s birth marks only the second time in history that Britain has had three living male heirs to the throne from separate generations – and this coin captures them all.
So if you’re looking to put together a Royal collection, these coins are my personal recommendations, each with a story to tell. If you own some already, let me know in the comments…