This week a new £5 coin will be issued to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becoming our longest reigning monarch on 9th September.
One of the very first coins has been issued by Jersey and I’ve been given exclusive access to go behind-the-scenes for the blog.
The new £5 coin has been designed by Timothy Noad, whose work has featured on many UK coins over the years. He has even designed the Gold Sovereign twice, an unprecedented honour which is testament to his passion and understanding of numismatic art.
This passion shows through in his design for the new £5 coin. Featuring an Oak Tree and the Royal Cipher surrounded by the inscription ‘1952 – Long to Reign Over Us – 2015’, the coin has a dignified and prestigious presence. I asked Timothy what gave him his inspiration for the design:
“The oak tree came to mind as an emblem with many relevant associations. The Royal Oak, as well as a popular pub name, is a well-known image and oak branches form part of the heraldic badge of the House of Windsor.
“It is also a symbol of Britain, endurance and longevity, so very appropriate for the Queen. Shields were hung on trees during medieval tournaments, often held in honour of a Queen or noble lady, and this shield bears the Queen’s personal cipher. I enjoy seeing how my drawings are translated into actual coins and I am very happy with this design.”
From Drawing to Finished Coin
But getting from an idea to a struck coin is a time consuming process, a real labour of love.
First of all the design is hand-drawn, and careful consideration has to be given to the shape and size of the engraving so it can be accurately minted. Then the wording has to be laid out, with the added complication of retaining the typesetting within the circular shape.
Finally, the finished drawing is scanned and processed, ready to be made into a die which will eventually be used to produce the commemorative coins you can own.
Limited Edition Versions Available
The most affordable limited edition version of the coin is the Proof Edition, featuring the addition of gold ink. Just 4,950 will be minted and these are sure to be popular.
The coin is also being struck in a range of other formats, from a face value version right up to a staggering 5 ounce gold edition – I’ve held one and its sheer scale took my breath away.
So there’s a type of coin for all collectors – and if there’s one thing I’m sure, it’s that this coin is a truly fitting commemoration of the remarkable reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
If you’re interested…
The Longest Reigning Monarch £5 Proof Coin is available to pre-order now.
***NOW SOLD OUT***
Last year was a vintage year for coin collecting. We saw technological advances, new minting techniques and even a stampede to own the year’s standout US gold coin. In light of this I thought you’d like a rundown of my top 7 extraordinary coins of 2014…
The highest-relief silver 5oz coin ever struck by The Royal Canadian Mint…
The 2014 Canada 5oz Silver Proof High-Relief Maple Leaf $50 is almost like a sculpture! To achieve this, technically enhanced tooling was created especially to sustain the additional minting pressure involved. I’m forever astonished by the impressive weight and size of 5oz coins, and with such high-relief detail, this one was a particular favourite.
The London Tower Bridge Silver Coin Bar…
London’s Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous landmarks, and now it has been immortalised on a meticulously crafted silver ‘coin bar.’ This unusually shaped coin boasts remarkable craftsmanship with a surprising level of detail for its size. In fact I consider this coin to be one of the most finely engraved coins that I have seen, making it a truly exceptional issue.
You could add the world’s most famous painting to your collection…
The Mona Lisa is of course instantly recognisable, but in 2014 collectors got the chance to own their very own version. This distinctive rectangular silver coin is perfectly suited to show off the famous painting in the best way possible. The Mona Lisa is richly detailed in colour and it was the first time that I had ever seen a piece that combined numismatics with art in such a striking way.
The coin with a hidden secret…
I was mesmerised when I first saw this coin – because of the hidden secret you can reveal. Representing our home planet, the coin features a beautiful image of Earth surrounded by all eight planets in our solar system. But, all isn’t as it seems, as Earth has been highlighted with special ink so that when a UV light is shone upon the coin the planet is picked out, glowing blue against the rest of the background. For that reason this coin just had to be among my top 7 of the year.
The coin that caused a modern-day gold rush…
Remarkably, the 2014 JFK Gold Proof Half Dollar caused a stampede of collectors. The US Mint released the coin at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August which saw hundreds of collectors queuing, running and trampling each other just to get their hands on one. Eventually, the Mint was forced to suspend sales to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. The rush was so intense that the police were called to calm things down. Don’t believe me? See for yourself! (click here to watch the YouTube footage)
Marking a poignant year with a charitable commemorative…
The ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London last year was a momentous dedication to the fallen, which inspired the nation. A ‘100 Poppies’ £5 Coin was also issued to mark the centenary of the First World War. For each sale, a donation was made to the Royal British Legion to support their work and provide financial, social and emotional support to all those who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, and their families. The coin was an unprecedented success – alone raising over £40,000 for the Royal British Legion. It’s not surprising that this coin is no longer available, and having helped to raise such a large amount for the Royal British Legion there is no question about it being one of my top coins of 2014.
Struck using a metal rarer than platinum…
What makes this edition of the 2014 China Silver Panda Coin so special is the fact that it is plated with a metal even rarer than platinum – ruthenium. The Chinese 10 Yuan is already one of the world’s most sought after silver coins – but this collectable edition tips the bar by combining three of the world’s precious most metals, silver, gold and black ruthenium. Featuring both a famous design and a one-off finish, it isn’t difficult to understand why the edition limit sold out so fast. The few collectors who own this issue will appreciate just how lucky they are to know that there’s a chance this specification may never be available again.
Of course these are just a handful of the fascinating coins issued last year, and it’s this variety which makes coin collecting so compelling for me. Many have sold out now, but fortunately 2015 is already proving to be just as interesting. Did you manage to add any to your collection?
If you are interested…
There is still an opportunity to own one of these coins. With limited stock left, The London Tower Bridge coin is still available to own.
***MORE STOCK COMING SOON***
If you own the 2014 Year of the Horse Lunar Silver Coin or the 2014 Britannia coin, I suggest you go and dig them out before you read any more. That’s because it’s just possible that you are sitting on something rather unusual – a Royal Mint “mule”.
A “mule” is a coin where the one of the sides has been struck with the wrong die. And that’s what happened with some of the Royal Mint’s 2014 Year of the Horse and Britannia coins.
Officially confirmed by the Royal Mint
It seems attention was first drawn to the matter when a US dealer noticed that some of their Britannia coins had a different obverse (heads) side to the rest of the stock, lacking the denticle design around the edge, normally seen with Britannia coins.
The Royal Mint has now acknowledged the error, which has resulted in approximately 17,000 Britannia coins being struck with the non-denticled Year of the Horse obverse and 38,000 Year of the Horse coins having the denticled Britannia version as their obverse.
Selling for 250 times its original value
Perhaps the best recent example of a UK mule in recent years was the undated 20p coin, which was uncovered in 2008. Approximately 250,000 20p coins were struck using an old obverse design, which left them undated. The news was followed by a media frenzy with many millions of people searching their change in the hope finding what was to prove to be a valuable error. Indeed an undated 20p currently changes hands on ebay for around £50 – 250 times its original value.
So what of these latest Royal Mint errors? Unlike the 20p these are not general circulation coins but as bullion coin they will have been sold around the world to coin dealers and investors. That means that they will be much harder for the British general public to track down. Plus, of course, in terms of pure numbers struck, they are considerably scarcer than the undated 20p.
Early listings on ebay have been as high as £500 and above, so if you are lucky enough to own either the 2014 Britannia or Year of the Horse coins, I would definitely dig them out and take a look – it might be your lucky day.