As they left for war in Autumn 1914, the soldiers, and the country, believed that it would all be over by Christmas of that year. We know now that the brutal conflict was to drag on for another 4 years, but Christmas 1914 became famous for being the first respite from the war.
Many felt the need to show give a small token of appreciation to those who had put their lives on the line. And so, on 30th October 1914, Princess Mary launched her Christmas Gift fund. She asked the public:
“I want you now to help me send a Christmas present from the whole nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front.”
And they did. Her appeal was met with an enthusiastic response, eventually raising over £162,000 (an incredible sum at the time). This led to the memorable Princess Mary’s Gift Box. It was a beautiful embossed brass box, 128 x 84 x 30mm (5 x 3.3 x 1.2 inches), containing one ounce of pipe tobacco, 20 cigarettes, pipe, a tinder lighter, a Christmas card and a photo of Princess Mary.
On Christmas Day 1914 alone, almost 500,000 Christmas tins were distributed to British service personnel. The boxes were sent to “every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front” in accordance with Princess Mary’s wishes.
A large number of these tins were subsequently damaged in the war, with many being blown apart by shells or rusting away in the wet conditions in the trench. However, the boxes that have survived are now distinctive mementoes of the war’s first Christmas.
They are also absolutely fascinating historic artefacts – each tin is totally unique and may have even been there in the trenches 100 years ago protecting a young tommy’s keepsakes. They each tell their own story, and just looking at them you can see the small bits of damage, the smells and stains that tell the story of how they survived 100 years to remind us of the soldiers who suffered the extreme conditions of the Great War.
As the end of the First World War Armistice Centenary year approaches, it is especially important to remember those soldiers who would have received one of these tins. It’s hard not to think about a young tommy, sitting in his trench on Christmas Day, opening his Princess Mary Christmas tin as carols drifted across No-Man’s Land.
If you’re interested…
We have 50 genuine Christmas Tins available and ready to deliver for Christmas, with 5 coins all from 1918. But with such a limited number available you will need to be quick to own this ultimate Armistice Christmas gift…
Today His Royal Highness Prince Charles celebrates a huge landmark birthday – his 70th!
It seems that his birthday festivities have already begun – back in May, he attended a Buckingham Palace garden party laid on in his honour; he has curated a special exhibition called ‘Prince and Patron’ at Buckingham Palace, featuring some of his favourite artworks; and for the first time he has scheduled a tour of Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
What’s more, it is believed that Her Majesty the Queen is planning an extravagant party to honour this momentous occasion, at which members of his family as well as European royalty will come together and pay tribute to the Prince of Wales’ long and fruitful life so far.
And what a interesting life it has been! As the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, he has a number of notable accomplishments well beyond the call of duty. He became the first ever heir apparent to earn a university degree when he graduated from Cambridge in 1970, and in 2011 surpassed his great-great-grandfather Edward VII as the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, after being awarded the title at the tender age of 9.
After university he served in several branches of the British military until 1976, in particular the Royal Navy, during which time he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and commanded the minesweeper HMS Bronington with a crew of 32. In 2011, Her Majesty awarded Charles the honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
It seems fitting then, that a brand new portrait has been specially commissioned to recognise the 70 thoroughly active years of Prince Charles’ life – a portrait created by none other than renowned artist and sculptor Luigi Badia and officially approved by Her Majesty the Queen.
Special portraits like this are few and far between, and therefore are always popular with collectors – especially portraits as detailed and remarkably accurate as this one. The stunning design has been painstakingly hand-engraved by Badia, with particular attention being paid to retain the circular shape of the wording accompanying the portrait – “HRH The Prince of Wales – 70th Birthday”.
If you’re interested…
This brand new design has been issued in a number of specifications, from a Proof £5 right up to a stunning Gold Proof One Pound Coin, which are all available from The Westminster Collection. However, with their surprisingly low editions and the significance of this Royal birthday, I suggest you act now if you’re looking to mark the occasion with a very special new coin.
This year, Her Majesty the Queen celebrates her Sapphire Coronation Anniversary – 65 years since she was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1953.
As the world’s longest reigning living monarch, she will be the first monarch in British history to celebrate a Sapphire Coronation, an historic achievement to be recognised as part of her record-breaking reign.
Elizabeth ascended the throne at the age of 25, upon the death of her father, King George VI in 1952. After a year’s mourning period, she was crowned Queen in a coronation ceremony steeped with tradition. Millions tuned in to listen to the ceremony on the radio and, for the first time ever, the proceedings were able to be watched on live television.
In celebration of the Sapphire Coronation, a limited set of special commemorative 50p coins have just been officially approved by Buckingham Palace.
Fittingly, the first coin is engraved with the words of the Coronation Oath,
The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.
The other four 50p coins each feature a different element of the Coronation: The St Edwards Crown, The Orb, The Gold State Coach and The Imperial State Crown.
The UK’s most collectable coins…
The 50p coin has rapidly become the UK’s most collectable coin, spurred on by the release of the Olympic 50p coins, the Platinum Wedding Anniversary and more recently, the incredible demand for the Beatrix Potter 50p coins.
Most importantly, each of the five coins in the Sapphire Coronation 50p Coin Set have been authorised by the Isle of Man Treasury, have full legal status AND a very limited number will enter circulation in the Isle of Man.
British Isles 50p coins like this rarely turn up in UK change, which is bound to make these some of the most sought-after circulating coins around.
Due to its very limited nature, we will contact you directly to discuss owning the Gold Proof 50p.
Please complete the form below:
If you’re interested…
The 50p Set to mark the Queen’s 65th Coronation anniversary is available to purchase in Superior Brilliant Uncirculated collector’s quality.