Skip to content

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

Every year since 1919, on the second Sunday of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, the nation falls silent for two minutes to pay their respects to the brave men and women who have lost their lives in conflict around the world, and for those who continue to safeguard our freedom.

Today marks 100 years of Remembrance and to commemorate this significant occasion, I’ve taken a look at the history of UK coins issued in tribute.

History of Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day first began as ‘Armistice Day’ in Great Britain on the 11th November 1919, in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the peace agreement that ended the First World War.

After the conclusion of WWII in 1945, the British government wanted to honor those who fought in the World Wars and decided to replace Armistice Day with a new Sunday observance, which thereafter was known as Remembrance Sunday.

UK Remembrance Coins

2017

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins
UK 2017 Remembrance Day £5

In 2017, The Royal Mint released the first official UK Remembrance Day £5 coin, designed by Stephen Taylor to honour the fallen and ensure their stories live on through the generations.

Traditionally, Remembrance Day £5 coins were produced by The Royal Mint on behalf of Alderney and would therefore have been Alderney tender, however 2017 marked the first time this important anniversary was commemorated on a UK coin.

2018

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins
UK 2018 Remembrance Day £5

In 2018 The Royal Mint released their second Brilliant Uncirculated Remembrance £5 coin to honour the sacrifices of all those who have risked, and continue to risk, their lives to protect our freedom.

This £5 coin features a design by Laura Clancy, including vibrant red selected colour printing, symbolic of the resilient and determined poppies that grew amidst the destruction in the valley of the Somme.

2019

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins
UK 2019 Remembrance Day £5

This year, a brand new UK £5 was released, featuring a design by artist Harry Brockway, incorporating the famous lines from ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon.

The intricate design has selected colour-printing highlighting a red poppy – the recognised symbol of Remembrance to honour those who have fought.

The use of selected colour printing is normally reserved for Proof quality coins, which makes the Remembrance Day £5 coins particularly special.

UK coins commemorating wartime

The Remembrance £5 coins are a poignant tribute to those who fought and lost their lives in the World Wars, and The Royal Mint have also issued a number of other wartime themed UK coins.

From 2014-2018, The Royal Mint issued a series of commemorative £2 coins to commemorate the wartime journey of the First World War from outbreak to armistice.

2014

The first coin in the series was the 2014 Kitchener £2 which featured John Bergdahl’s depiction of Lord Kitchener’s famous call to arms, alongside the words ‘YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU’.

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

Kitchener was a British military leader and Secretary of State for War in the first years of the First World War. Unlike many others in the Government and the military, Kitchener foresaw a war lasting for years and he planned accordingly. He rapidly enlisted and trained huge numbers of volunteers for a succession of entirely new ‘Kitchener armies’. It was this enlistment campaign that coined the now famous phrase that appears on the reverse of this £2 coin.

5,720,000 of these coins entered circulation in 2014.

2015

The second £2 coin in the Royal Mint’s five year programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War pays tribute to the Royal Navy.

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

Renowned military artist David Rowlands designed the reverse of this coin, and it features a battleship approaching on the open sea, paying homage to the British fleet that defended coastal waters against the Germans. At the time, The Royal Navy was by far the most powerful navy in the world. The British economic blockade of Germany, afforded by the Royal Navy’s command of the sea, inflicted great damage on the war effort of Germany.

650,000 of these coins entered circulation in 2015, making it the third rarest £2 coin currently in circulation.

2016

In 2016, the third issue of the First World War Centenary series commemorated the role of the Army.

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

Tim Sharp’s design marks a poignant moment in military history, honouring the ‘Pals Battalions’. As part of Lord Kitchener’s New Armies, it was realized that many more men would enlist if they could serve alongside their friends, relatives and workmates. This encouraged the coining of the term ‘Pals battalions.’ On 21 August 1914, the first Pals battalion was raised and in a matter of days, 1,600 men had joined what became the 10th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

9,550,000 of these coins entered circulation in 2016.

2017

The fourth £2 coin in The Royal Mint Centenary of the First World War series paid tribute to the aviators of the First World War.

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

As technology developed, air combat became an innovative form of warfare. Fighter pilots were portrayed as noble gentleman duelists in the skies above the horror of the trenches. The edge lettering of this coin pays tribute to the first aviators to sacrifice their lives in ‘The War in the Air’ and the reverse design by Dan Flashman shows an aircraft from birds-eye view with land in the background.

This coin has not entered circulation.

2018

In 2018, The Royal Mint issued their final commemorative £2 coin in their Centenary of the First World War series. This coin commemorated the 100th anniversary of Armistice.

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

Armistice marked the signing of agreements to end of the First World War and the victory of the allies on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month in 1918. The reverse of the coin was designed by Stephen Raw and features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’ from the Wilfred Owen poem ‘Strange Meeting’.

This coin has not entered circulation.

Today, these coins act as a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and fought for our freedom and encourage the younger generations to learn about our country’s history.


Honour those who have fought and secure your 2019 Remembrance £5 today

A history of UK Remembrance Day coins

This brand new UK issue is a poignant tribute to all the soldiers who have fought in conflicts across the world.

Click here to secure this 2019 UK Remembrance Day £5 in superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality for your collection today.

3 Comments

  1. Shirley Temple on November 11, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Oh Rachael, Please make sure of your facts before making public comments. Rememberance day and Armistace day are two seperate events. Sometimes they fall on the same day but not too often. Armistace day is, was, and always will be the 11th November. As you say, it was first ‘remembered’ on 11th November 1919. The first anniversary of the armistace. IE the true end of the first world war when the surrender was accepted by the allied forces and the hostilities officially ended at 11 o’clock on the 11 November. Today is Armistace day as it is the 11th of November. Rememberance day is the Sunday immediately BEFORE armistace day. It has been that way for a hundred years. You will find that there are acts of rememberance on both days.

    • Rachel Hooper on November 12, 2019 at 9:00 am

      Hi Shirley, thanks for clarifying and sorry for any confusion the blog might have caused.

    • Clive on November 12, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Oh Shirley, It should be Armistice day and Remembrance day. Sorry couldn’t resist

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.