NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

The Tower of London has been a symbol of royal power for nearly 1,000 years.

Built during the Norman conquest in 1066, Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and fortress of the Tower of London has been used as a prison, jewel house, mint and even a menagerie.

It’s been home to kings and queens, thieves and traitors and lions and bears.

In tribute to the Tower, The Royal Mint announced they would be issuing a four coin series throughout 2019 celebrating the history of the Tower of London, one of Britain’s most iconic attractions. The series will include coins depicting the following:

  • The Legend of the Ravens
  • The Yeoman Warders
  • The Ceremony of the Keys
  • The Crown Jewels

2019 Ceremony of the Keys £5

The Royal Mint has just released the fourth and final coin in the Tower of London series, with the new £5 being issued to celebrate the Ceremony of the Keys.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Designed by Glyn Davies the reverse of the coin depicts the keys and lamp which take centre stage in the ceremonial unlocking of the Tower of London gates.

What’s more, now that all four coins have been released the full image showing the Tower of London walls can be created by connecting the coins.

The Ceremony of the Keys £5 is available in Gold Proof, Silver Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated quality and I’m sure collectors will be eager to add this representation of our royal history to their collection.

Click here to secure yours and complete your Tower of London £5 series >>

‘Raven Mythology’

Featuring a Raven with a bird’s-eye view of the Tower in the background, this coin captures the illustrious history of the iconic British landmark and its most famous residents.

The Tower’s ‘raven mythology’ is thought to be a Victorian flight of fantasy and has been a source of many legends, including the fate of Greenwich observatory.

It’s said that King Charles II disliked the raven’s droppings falling onto the telescope at the Tower’s observatory,and so ordered that the ravens must go. However, superstition stated that if the ravens left, the Tower would fall and Charles would lose his kingdom. Ever the pragmatist, the King decided that the observatory must go to Greenwich and the ravens must stay in the Tower. 

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Ravens at the Tower of London. Credit: Wikipedia

Yeoman Warders

Since Tudor times, the Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London. Nicknamed as ‘Beefeaters’, they originally formed the Yeoman of the Guard, which was the monarch’s personal team of bodyguards.

The Yeoman Warders were responsible for looking after the prisoners in the Tower and protecting the crown jewels, however nowadays they also conduct guided tours of the Tower and are an important icon for Britain, resplendent in their red uniforms and a favoured tourist attraction.

They need to be between 40 and 55 years old on appointment and hold at least 22 years’ military service, during which time they must have reached the rank of warrant officer and to have been awarded the long service and good conduct medal.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Yeoman Warders. Credit: hrp.org.uk

The Ceremony of the Keys

For over 700 years, as the clock strikes ten, the words ‘Halt! Who comes there?’ echo in the Tower of London. The ancient Ceremony of the Keys is a formal locking and unlocking of the Tower gates, which started in the mid 1300s on order of King Edward III after he entered the Tower unannounced one night and was able to walk straight in, unchallenged!

Tradition states that at exactly seven minutes to ten at night, the Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower must leave the Byward Tower, wearing a red Watch Coat and Tudor Bonnet and carrying a lantern. He takes with him a very special set of keys – the Queen’s Keys.

A military escort meets him at the Bloody Tower and at 10pm he moves two paces forward, raises his Tudor bonnet and says: ‘God preserve Queen Elizabeth’. This is answered by ‘Amen’ from the guards and ‘The Last Post’ played on a bugle.

The keys are then taken back to the Queen’s House and handed to the Queen’s representative at the Tower, The Resident Governor.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

The ceremony of the King’s keys. Credit: hrp.org.uk

Crown Jewels

Several expansions were made to the Tower throughout the reign of Kings Richard I, Henry III and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries, however in general the original layout remains consistent. It suffered structural damage during the Blitz, but this was repaired after the Second World War and the Tower was opened to the public, to marvel at the Tower’s most esteemed treasures – the Crown Jewels!

Not only a powerful symbol of the British Monarchy, the jewels have deep religious and cultural significance in British history and are used by HRH Queen Elizabeth for important ceremonies and royal duties.

However, the 12th century anointing spoon and three early 17th century swords are the only four original jewels left after the English Civil War in 1649, when the Crown Jewels were destroyed and the monarchy abolished. The jewels were remade for Charles II’s coronation in 1661 following Oliver Cromwell’s death.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Crown Jewels. Credit: Pinterest

Infamous Prisoners

From the late 15th century and during its peak period as a prison in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Tower housed some of Britain’s most notorious criminals, including Guy Fawkes, Anne Boleyn and even Elizabeth I before she became queen. 

For those in a position of wealth, serving time at the Tower could be relatively comfortable, with some captive kings allowed to go out on hunting or shopping trips and even allowed to bring in their servants. However, for those less fortunate, the phrase “sent to the Tower” would conjure up gruesome images of torture and execution, such was its fearsome reputation.

Despite this reputation, only 7 people were executed at the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century, where 12 men were then executed for espionage.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Tower of London. Credit: hrp.org.uk

Royal Mint

From 1272 until 1810, the Tower of London was home to The Royal Mint. Coins of the realm were produced in a dedicated area in the outer ward known as ‘Mint Street’. This dangerous task involved working with scorching furnaces, deadly chemicals and poisonous gases and many Mint workers suffered injuries including loss of fingers and eyes from the process.

In the 1600s, coins were no longer made by hand, but instead a screw-operated press was introduced. However, risk still befell the Mint workers, as they faced severe punishments should they be caught tampering with or forging coins.

In 1810, the Mint moved from the Tower to a new site at Tower Hill and eventually on to its present location in Wales to allow for expansion.

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

Working on Mint Street. Credit: hrp.org.uk

Now that the first coin in the Royal Mint’s brand new four coin series celebrating the Tower of London has been released, I’m sure £5 coin collectors will be looking forward to building up this fascinating collection.

Let us know what you think about the design and which coin in the series you’re most looking forward to seeing.


Complete your Tower of London £5 series

NEW UK Coin Series celebrates one of Britain’s most iconic attractions…

The Ceremony of the Keys £5 coin is now available to purchase in Brilliant Uncirculated quality.

Click here to secure the final coin in this iconic series >>

8 Comments

  1. Jimmy Drysdale on December 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I would be very interested in acquiring an illustrated list, in some form, of contemporary U.K coins of all denominations that have been offered by Change Checker since your start up. As a collector of five years plus, I would like to know how comprehensive my collection is, which coins I may have missed and those that are needed to complete series and sets. Does such a list exist or be compiled.



    • Rachel Hooper on December 17, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Hi Jimmy, it’s great to hear that you’re being so thorough with your collection. Unfortunately we don’t have one definitive list, however you can use our Change Checker app to see each of the coins issued by denomination: https://www.changechecker.org/find-a-coin.aspx



  2. Mike stone on December 12, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Hi will you be issueing a set of collectors pages similar to the ones used for the queens beasts. This set of coins with all the relevant info would match that series very well



    • Rachel Hooper on December 13, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Hi Mike, we offer the wallet pages to store £5 coins, but as there are only 4 coins in this series there won’t be collector’s pages similar to the Queen’s Beasts. Thanks, Rachel



  3. Jim Kentley on December 5, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for that. I couldn’t find the new I D cards in the Change Checker shop, now I have just ordered them along with the new Ravens in the Tower £5 coin.



    • Rachel Hooper on December 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

      No problem Jim. All our ID cards can be found under ‘Albums and Accessories’ on the Change Checker shop. The Raven £5 is a great coin! I’m really looking forward to seeing the next ones in the series too. Enjoy the coin Jim.



  4. Jim Kentley on December 4, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Given that the Britannia and D Day 50ps were large sized and the rest were small, will ALL the reissued 50ps be small sized?
    Also, given that the Paddington Bear and 2018 Beatrix Potter 50ps are now in circulation can you issue
    I D cards for the Paddington Bear50ps, the 4 RAF £2 coins and the Captain Cook £2 coin so that I can add them to my Change Checker book.