The official new Poppy Coin has just been issued in support of The Royal British Legion, and this year it is especially poignant.
2016 is a milestone year as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the First World War battle that has come to symbolise the awful tragedy of the conflict.
To pay respect to those who served, the new coin’s design has been inspired by the falling poppies at the annual Festival of Remembrance – held in the Royal Albert Hall.
I caught up with designer Matt Tindall to ask him about the design:
“As this is the only official Poppy coin issued in support of The Royal British Legion I wanted to make sure the design was instantly recognisable, yet also had a subtle reference to the importance of the year 2016.
“The wording “Lest We Forget” from Laurence Binyon’s Ode of Remembrance seemed particularly fitting – and the quotation is covered by 11 falling poppies which of course represent the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
“My grandfather served during the First World War in the South Staffordshire Regiment so it was a real honour to be asked to design the Poppy Coin. The Royal British Legion has always had such an important role in this country and I only hope this coin goes some way to helping their work.”
A coin for everybody
A whole range of different coin specifications are to be struck, meaning there is a coin for every collection. From a special Proof quality cupro-nickel £5 coin – right up to an astonishing 5oz Gold edition, the new Poppy Coin is undoubtedly a moving tribute for Remembrance Day in this historic year.
Officially issued in support of The Royal British Legion
To support the work of The Royal British Legion, The Westminster Collection have organised for a donation from the sale of each coin to go directly to the charity, helping them to continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to all who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their families.
If you’re interested…
A donation from the sale of each coin will go directly to The Royal British Legion.
The Westminster Collection has reached an incredible fundraising milestone having raised £500,000 for The Royal British Legion.
The Westminster Collection has raised the staggering amount since 2008 through the sale of commemorative remembrance-themed coins, honouring the lives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
This year a special limited edition centenary £5 proof coin has been issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme Centenary Proof Coin is the only Proof £5 Coin commemorating the Battle of the Somme issued in support of the Legion available anywhere in the world,
Stephen Allen, The Westminster Collection’s Chairman, said
“My own family has a close personal history with World War One and we wanted to create unique products which could be passed on to children or grandchildren, to make sure this terrible conflict is never forgotten.”
And the partnership between The Westminster Collection and the Legion is to continue with the announcement of a new three-year partnership.
Stephen added: “Though we have been working in partnership with The Royal British Legion since 2004, the first Poppy Coin came about in 2008 as a way to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“We are delighted that the partnership has continued to grow.”
Claire Rowcliffe, Head of Regional Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, said: “We are extremely proud of our long-term partnership with The Westminster Collection.
“The Westminster Collection is a family business which shares our commitment to supporting the entire Service community; whether it’s helping veterans to remain independent in their homes, offering dementia support and employment or compensation advice, or ensuring people have access to the benefits they deserve.
“Raising £500,000 for the Legion is a truly incredible fundraising milestone. The funds have enabled us to support the memory of the fallen, as well as the future of the living.”
Own the Battle of the Somme Centenary Proof Coin for just £25…
The Battle of the Somme coin has been issued to pay tribute to the 100th Anniversary of the Somme. Designed with the Somme battlefields in mind, the reverse features a masterfully printed and haunting poppy field with an engraved scene depicting soldiers going ‘over the top’ into battle.
Click here to secure your coin for just £25 (+p&p) – with a donation going directly to the Legion’s work.
Some examples of how The Royal British Legion supports the Armed Services community:
Care Homes – The Legion has six care homes to provide short and long term care for serving and ex-Service people and their dependants. Situated around the country, they offer a wide range of services including four with specialist dementia care. Care home communities include men and women of varied ages and abilities, and because these homes are exclusive to ex-Service people and their dependants, there is a unique camaraderie.
Break Centres – they offer much-needed breaks to ex-Service and serving personnel and their families, who may be recovering from an illness, bereavement or other life-affecting event. The Legion have four Break Centres located in prime locations around the country.
Handy Van Service – they provide essential and critical support to ex-service people who are unable to carry out household repairs or small jobs, helping them to remain independent in their own homes. The team of trusted handy people are also fully trained caseworkers enabling them to look out for other issues and people at risk in order to flag to the wider welfare team.
Benefits and Money Advice – they offer a confidential, face-to-face Benefits and Money Advice Service to help people manage their finances, including assisting them with making claims for state benefits and also dealing with money problems including debt.
Civvy Street – This service provides a range of information and advice on resettlement, learning and work. Civvy Street is designed to assist in-Service families, armed forces leavers and the veterans’ community adjust to civilian life and kick-start a new career.
One of the most fascinating things about coin collecting is of course the design on the coin – but what about the shape of the coin itself? As minting technology continues to advance, coins are being struck in all kinds of exciting and innovative shapes.
I’ve compiled a selection of coins which I consider to be 10 of the most collectable unusually shaped coins around…
1. The FIRST rugby coin of its kind…
To mark the Rugby World Cup last year, France issued the first ever coin shaped like a rugby ball.
The concave coins proved to be extremely popular with collectors worldwide, with many keen to add a coin with such a unique pedigree to their collections.
2. A coin shaped like a country…
The Perth Mint regularly issue map-shaped coins, taking advantage of their country’s unique and recognisable outline.
This series makes use of purpose-built tooling and die design to give the coin its distinctive shape.
The first coin in the series featured the Kookaburra, issued in 2012, since then there have been a variety of different animals to feature on the coin, with the most recent being the Redback Spider.
3. The ‘Imperial Egg’…
This impressive looking coin boasts beautiful enamelled colour and a shimmering gemstone inlay.
The ‘Imperial Egg’ Coin is based on the work of Fabergé and proved to be very popular with collectors last year, especially during the Easter period.
4. You’ll be lucky to find one of these…
You certainly won’t find this Four-Leaf Clover Coin in a field, no matter how hard you look! Legend has it that Eve took a four-leaf-clover from paradise as a memento for the wonderful time she had spent there – they’ve been considered lucky ever since.
Struck in gold to a proof finish, this cleverly produced coin could certainly be regarded as lucky by collectors who have one in their collection – as it is now highly sought-after.
5. The Earth-shattering coin…
The extra-terrestrial chondrite that has been set into the centre of this coin was sourced from a meteorite that crash-landed in Morocco in 2005. The space rock shattered into several pieces when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The coin itself has been struck in a concave shape to represent the crater in which the piece of meteorite landed.
6. Is it a coin or is it a bar? It’s both…
This rectangular silver coin-bar features one of the world’s most iconic landmarks – London’s Tower Bridge.
It’s not often that you see coins minted in this shape – the ‘bar’ format is usually reserved for bullion.
This stunning coin boasts intricately detailed engraving and tiny detail can be seen on the Tower Bridge to create windows, clock and brickwork.
7. The poppy-shaped remembrance coin…
This coin’s unique shape and rich red printing on the reverse takes inspiration from the poppy, which has become synonymous throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance and the charitable work of The Royal British Legion.
Issued to commemorate the end of the First World War and to Remember the Fallen, the Poppy Coin is a significant issue that is poignant to many.
8. The coin that sold out in two days…
This remarkable coin is shaped like the iconic Canadian maple leaf, and proved so popular that it sold out at the Royal Canadian Mint in just 2 days.
Canadian Maple Leaf coins are some of the world’s most recognised Silver coins. This issue takes the design to a whole new level, complete with a special wooden display case. A stunning display that would certainly stand out on any mantlepiece!
Issued in China since 221 BCE, the Chinese Lucky Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
10. And last but not least…
The playful Russian ‘Matryoshka Dolls’ first appeared in the late 19th century, now they’ve been immortalised on a silver coin.
This oval issue is displayed within special bespoke packaging which consists of two traditional wooden nesting dolls placed one inside the other – the coin and packaging are both something that I’ve never come across before!
Are you lucky enough to have any in your collection or have you perhaps seen any that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below.
We still have a small allocation remaining of The Lucky Four Leaf Clover Gold Coin.