The 2024 Annual Coin Set celebrates some of the most significant anniversaries and events taking place this year, one of which being 150 years since the birth of Sir Winston Churchill.
The 2024 Winston Churchill £2 depicts him as a young man during his time in the Cavalry army, with the years of his life 1874-1965 either side of his portrait.
However, rather unusually, the Winston Churchill £2 will be the only coin from the 2024 Annual Set NOT to be released individually.
A collecting ‘first’
At the beginning of each year, collectors eagerly anticipate the release of The Royal Mint’s Annual Coin Set, which includes 5 of the best commemorative coins from the year to come. Securing the Annual Set is usually the only way for collectors to get their hands on the coins until they’re individually released later in the year.
However, this year is a bit different as the Winston Churchill £2 WON’T be issued individually – meaning that currently, the only way to own it is in the 2024 Annual Set. This is extremely unusual, but we have seen similar situations a handful of times before.
Serious collectors know why it’s important to own both the Annual Set and individual release versions of coins, but in case you didn’t know, here are a few examples of previous design differences…
2022 Platinum Jubilee 50p
The most recent example is the 2022 Platinum Jubilee 50p, issued to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s incredible 70 year reign.
At the beginning of 2022, the Annual Coin Set included the Platinum Jubilee 50p which featured the number 70 and the Queen’s cypher on the reverse and the Jody Clark portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. However, when the coin was individually released later in the year, it featured a special obverse design of Her Majesty on horseback – a nod to the design on the 1952 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Crown.
Team GB 50p
Back in 2020, the Team GB 50p was released as part of the 2020 Annual Coin Set, to celebrate Team GB’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The reverse design featured a depiction of various Olympic sports, the official Team GB logo and the year 2020, whilst the obverse featured Jody Clark’s Queen Elizabeth II portrait and the date 2020.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, this 50p was never individually released in 2020.
The Team GB 50p was eventually individually issued in 2021, however due to the delayed release, it featured two different dates – 2020 on the reverse design and 2021 on the obverse. This made it one of just a few UK coins to feature a dual-date.
2021 Decimal Day 50p
The Decimal Day 50p was issued as part of the 2021 Annual Set to mark the 50th anniversary of Decimalisation.
The Decimal Day 50p in the 2021 Annual Set featured overlapping pre-decimal coins and the date ‘1971’ on the reverse and the original Arnold Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse – which featured on the very first 50p back in 1969. However, when it was individually released later in 2021, the Decimal Day 50p featured the standard Jody Clark portrait of Her Majesty on the obverse.
The above three examples show how some UK coins are individually released with slightly different variations to their Annual Set counterpart, however the 2024 Winston Churchill £2 is highly unusual in that it won’t be individually released at all! As collectors will know, an unusual story like this is sure to add to the collectability of this coin and the 2024 Annual Set.
The return of Winston Churchill on UK currency
Winston Churchill is one of the most memorable figures in British politics, and the 2024 Winston Churchill £2 isn’t the first time we’ve seen him feature on our UK currency.
The 1965 Churchill Crown was issued to mark the death of Sir Winston Churchill, making him the first non-royal to be portrayed on a British coin.
The reverse design features a sombre-looking head and shoulders portrait of Churchill wearing a ‘siren suit’ – overalls designed to be worn in wartime air-raid shelters, invented and popularised by Churchill.
In the lead up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London, the Royal Mint issued the 2010 London Olympic Games Sir Winston Churchill £5.
The design was inspired by a statue of wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill accompanied by a quote: ‘Be daring, be first, be different, be just’.
Half a century after his death, the 2015 Churchill £5 was issued.
Engraver Mark Richards FRBS, who designed the reverse of this coin, said he wanted to convey Churchill as larger than life by creating an image larger than the coin itself.
In 2016, Sir Winston Churchill replaced Elizabeth Fry on the UK £5 bank note.
The design features the famous portrait of Churchill in 1941 known as the ‘Roaring Lion’ as well as his famous quote “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” which he made on the day he became Prime Minister.
So, considering the rarity of a scenario like this, will you be adding the 2024 Annual Set to your collection to guarantee the 2024 Winston Churchill £2? Perhaps you have all the previous Churchill coins in your collection and don’t want to miss the latest issue, let us know in the comments!