In 2020, perhaps for the first time ever, the ancient tradition of the Royal Maundy ceremony has been cancelled.
Centuries of tradition have been overturned as one of the Church of England’s most archaic ceremonies is unable to take place due to the Queen being in isolation at Windsor Castle.
No-one knows for sure when, or if, Royal Maundy has been cancelled before. Even during wartime, King George VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury were able to uphold the tradition.
However, the unprecedented circumstances the world is facing right now means there is simply no other option than to break tradition…
Today’s ceremony was due to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle with a choral accompaniment.
Now, rather than handing out the Maundy money consignments individually, the Queen has written personally to the 188 recipients saying, “The traditional Maundy money, which had been blessed in the Chapel Royal, was enclosed”, and the ceremonial red and white leather purses containing Maundy money have been delivered remotely by Royal Mail, for the first time since the tradition began.
So where does this tradition come from and what is the history behind Maundy money?
The History of Royal Maundy
Maundy Thursday is a key day during the Easter week which commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper on the day before his crucifixion.
The Royal Maundy Church service takes place each year on this day, and is inspired by the generosity shown by Jesus in washing the feet of his disciples shortly before his death.
Its origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when English monarchs would wash the feet of beggars and offer gifts of food and clothing in imitation of Jesus.
However it was King John who was the first to give to the poor on Maundy Thursday and by the early 14th century, it had become customary for the sovereign to provide a meal, together with gifts of food and clothing.
Sharing the Wealth
For numismatists, the day has added significance in the form of Maundy money which is given out by the reigning monarch each year at the service.
The tradition of giving out money began with Charles II, with the first set of Maundy coins consisting of a four penny, three penny, two penny and a penny. The coins have remained in much the same form since then, and are traditionally struck in sterling silver.
At the Royal Maundy ceremony, the reigning monarch hands each recipient two small leather string purses – one white, one red. The red purse contains ordinary coinage as money (in lieu of the food and clothing which was offered years ago) and the white contains silver Maundy coins.
The Maundy coins total the age of the King or Queen in pence, so this year, as the Queen approaches her 94th birthday, each white purse will contain 94 pence.
Recognition of Service
Nowadays it is not the poor who are the recipients of this gift, but specially chosen members of the public in recognition of the service they have given to the Church and local community.
The number of men and women receiving Maundy Money also equals the age of the sovereign during the year, and since the reign of George I, the recipients have been an equal number of men and women. For example, this year 188 recipients will receive the Maundy coins – 94 men and 94 women.
The tradition and heritage behind Maundy money makes them among the most sought-after coins in British numismatic history. Their owners are part of an exclusive club which dates back centuries, and they still exemplify the generosity and selfless work of the Church during this week – the most important in the Christian calendar.
Sadly, this year, tradition has been broken and the Royal Maundy ceremony will not take place. Whilst the overturning of this ancient ceremony reflects the difficult and truly unprecedented times we are currently facing, it does not detract from the hard work and dedication of the well-deserving receivers of the Maundy money this year.
Her Majesty’s personalised letters to each receipiant demonstrate that even in the toughest of times, its important to honour those who give to our community.
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Change Checkers on the Isle of Man are in for a real treat as, for the first time ever, Rupert Bear & co are featuring on new 50p coins – and we think they’re just bearilliant!
Rupert Bear was created in 1920 by Mary Tourtel as a cartoon for the Daily Express newspaper and his adventures continue up to this day, celebrating his 100th anniversary in 2020.
I’m sure many collectors out there will have fond memories of growing up with Rupert Bear and will be just as excited as we are by the release of these new 50p coins.
The world’s first Rupert Bear 50p coin
To celebrate this exciting centenary anniversary, the Isle of Man have issued the first ever Rupert Bear 50p coin.
The coin is available in Brilliant Uncirculated quality and stunning .925 Sterling Silver, finished to a proof standard and featuring a full colour illustration of the famous bear, exactly as he appears in the classic comic strip series.
But for those collectors looking to secure something extra special, an incredibly limited amount of just 250 coins struck from 22 Carat Gold to a Proof finish are also available.
The obverse of each coin features a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen designed by engraver Jody Clark and you’ll notice that this looks different to the obverse of our UK change due to the inclusion of the Queen’s shoulders within the portrait.
Coin collectors and fans of the British bear alike will be delighted with this coin, but the fun doesn’t stop there as Rupert has also been joined by his friends on a special set of five 50p coins…
Complete Rupert Bear & co Collection
Each of the reverse designs feature some of the best-loved characters from the comic strip – including Rupert Bear, Podgy Pig, Bill Badger, Edward Trunk and Algy Pug.
These sets are the only way you can own all five coins in superior quality, and that’s because none of the designs (aside from the Rupert Bear 50p) will be available to purchase individually.
Isle of Man Change Checkers are in for a treat!
Excitingly for those lucky Change Checkers on the Isle of Man, these 50p coins are legal tender on the island and an initial release of 25,000 of each design will be issued into circulation!
However, as collectors know, British Isles 50p coins like this rarely turn up in your change in the UK, making these 50ps some of the most sought-after circulating coins around.
What’s more, previous Isle of Man 50p coins have proved popular with collectors time and again, often selling for well over face value on the secondary market.
Some of the most popular Isle of Man circulation coins feature The Snowman and can be found selling for hundreds of pounds of eBay.
We’re sure that British Isles collectors will be quick to snap up the new Rupert Bear 50p coins, so keep your eyes out for them if you’re lucky enough to be on the Isle of Man.
The 50p has firmly established itself as the collector’s favourite and Silver Proof 50ps are known for their rapid sell-out history, making them some of the most sought-after issues around.
Not only this, the Isle of Man is renowned for their low edition limits due to the small population of just 84,000 inhabitants on the island.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that these coins are so very limited…
Just 4,950 of the Rupert Bear Silver Proof 50p coins and just 2,495 of the Rupert Bear Silver Proof Complete 50p Sets are available to collectors worldwide – a significantly low amount given the immense popularity of Rupert Bear for multiple generations.
Comparing Rupert Bear to the incredible Royal Mint sell-out success of the UK Gruffalo Silver Proof 50p which had an edition limit of 25,000 (more than five times the edition limit of Rupert Bear), you’ll understand just how sought-after these coins are going to be.
And of course, who could forget the phenomenal Peter Pan 50p coins released by the Isle of Man last year?
These magical coins had the collecting world spellbound, with collectors queueing on the Westminster Collection’s site for the chance to purchase the new coins.
And so the message for anyone interested in securing the brand new Rupert Bear 50ps is to act quickly, particularly when it comes to those Silver Proof coins, as a sell-out is expected.
We think these coins are a fantastic tribute to Rupert Bear’s 100th anniversary and are simply adorable! But what do you think about this new release? Let us know in the comments below!
Secure the world’s first Rupert Bear 50p!
Back in 1962, the very first James Bond film saw the iconic British spy brought to life on the big screen and now, just as the 25th film is due to be released, The Royal Mint have issued a collection of brand new Bond themed £5 coins!
The first coin has just been released and is sure to create a stir in the coin collecting world…
Designed as a collaboration between Christian Davies and Matt Dent (partners from graphic design agency, Bison Bison), the first coin features the classic Bond car from Goldfinger – the Aston Martin DB5.
Dent commented on the design process, saying, “As Bond fans ourselves, we’ve enjoyed re-watching some of our favourite films. The design series focuses on iconic imagery from the Bond films. Finding the balance between design detail and what can be accomplished in production was a challenge, nowhere more so than the intricate spokes of the DB5’s wheel.”
0 0 7
You’ll notice that the first coin also features the number ‘0’ on the reverse design.
When all three coins are placed together, the famous ‘007’ motif will be spelt out – completing this classic collection.
Whilst the second and third coins haven’t been released yet, they will be available later in the year.
The second coin is set to feature a legendary Bond car, the submarine Lotus Espirit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, known as ‘Wet Nellie’. An inscription will also feature on the coin, saying ‘Pay attention 007′.
Finally, the last coin in the series will feature a timeless depiction of James Bond, showing his torso in a dinner jacket and bow tie. The inscription on this coin will read the iconic James Bond line, ‘Shaken not stirred’ in reference to the spy’s preferred style of Martini.
The History of James Bond
The character ‘James Bond’ was first brought to life in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming who created twelve novels and two short-story collections featuring the British Secret Service agent.
However, it was in 1962 that Bond first appeared on the big screen.
From ‘Dr No’ to ‘No Time To Die’, the character has appeared in a remarkable 25 films, with endless gadgets and iconic imagery from the films now recognised world-wide.
During the film series’ 58 year history, the suave secret agent has been portrayed by six different actors, and I’m sure we all have our own favourite ‘Bond’.
Currently played by Daniel Craig, the upcoming film will represent his fifth and final time starring as the MI6 agent codenamed 007.
The luxurious lifestyle, spectacular gadgets and dramatic vehicles have delighted audiences for generations and I’m sure Bond fans will be blown away to see their favourite film series celebrated on £5 coins.
Not the first James Bond themed UK coin…
Bond first appeared on UK coinage in 2018 with the release of the A-Z of Great Britain 10ps.
Naturally, Bond was chosen to represent the letter B as a quintessentially British icon.
This 10p has proven incredibly popular with collectors and has since not only worked its way to the top of the Change Checker Scarcity Index, but has remained on the top spot for the last few updates – confirming the popularity of this coin.
With the release of the brand new James Bond themed £5 coins in this special year celebrating the 25th Bond film, will we see a rise in the demand for Bond themed collectibles?
We certainly think these coins will make for an exciting set to add to your collection, but what do you think about the new Bond £5? Let us know in the comments below!
Add the Brand New Bond £5 to your collection!
You can now secure the first Bond £5 in superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality – what better way to match the luxurious lifestyle of the suave secret agent?