New coins released in 2016 include those representing William Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, the Battle of Hastings, the First World War, and the Great Fire of London. The £2 coins depicting William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) are issued exactly 400 years after his death. The coins will include pictures of his histories, tragedies and comedies.
A 50p coin of Beatrix Potter marks 150 years since her birth, while another commemorates the Battle of Hastings, which occurred in 1066, exactly 950 years ago.
The year 1066 is a date imprinted on every Briton’s memory – along with the fate of King Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
The Royal Mint tweeted the following message “New year, new coins! Here are a few of the coins you can expect to see in your change in 2016,” and posted the picture above. (Image: twitter.com/RoyalMintUK)
Helen Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943) is best known for her children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
A depiction of the Great Fire of London (1666), which gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall, will be embossed onto a £2 coin.
The Royal Mint, the body permitted to mint (manufacture) the coins of the United Kingdom, says it aims to build up a collection of coins marking 1,000 years of British History.
Director of Commemorative Coin at the Royal Mint, Anne Jessopp said:
“It is always exciting to see the new year’s designs revealed, commemorating the moments that matter, and revisiting some of the great events and stories from our history.”
According to the Royal Mint “Such is the literary legacy of William Shakespeare, that The Royal Mint has struck three official £2 coins in his honour – a first for the United Kingdom. Each coin celebrates an aspect of Shakespeare’s famous work.” (Image: royalmint.com)
“The British public should start to see these coins appearing in their change from spring 2016.”
60p coin plan shelved
The Royal Mint was about to create a 60p coin to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It would have been Britain’s first 60p coin.
The Royal Mint says artist John Bergdahl’s feel for the historical – The Battle of Hastings – is evident once more as he looks to the Bayeux Tapestry for inspiration. (Image: royalmint.com)
It produced a design of the hexagonal (six-sided) coin and carried out a market study which found support for the concept. Chancellor George Osborne recommended the new coin as part of the celebration to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne.
However, the Royal Mint said it decided not to progress with the plan, explaining that its current programme of commemorative coins for the Diamond Jubilee was already ‘sufficiently comprehensive’.
The Royal Mint explains that Aaron West, one of The Royal Mint’s designers, took the perspective of one of the Londoners seeking sanctuary on the Thames to capture the devastating scenes of the Great Fire of London. (Image: royalmint.com)
Details of the 60p coin plan became public after the Press Association used Freedom of Information legislation to gain access to documents. The Royal Mint had initially refused to release them. The Press Association appealed and the Information Commissioner’s Office ruled in its favour.
The Royal Mint has been producing coins for England and then Great Britain for more than 1,100 years. In 2010 it became Royal Mint Ltd., a company 100% owned by HM Treasury, which delegates shareholder responsibilities to the Shareholder Executive.
As well as manufacturing coins in the UK, it also mints and exports coins to several countries across the world, and produces commemorative medals, military medals, and other such items for businesses, schools and governments.