Today is Prince Philip’s 98th birthday, an extraordinary milestone by all accounts, and so we’ve taken a look back at some of the coins issued to commemorate key moments throughout his life.
Born in Corfu in 1921, he is actually the oldest living great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. Prince Philip was born into the Greek royal family but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child.
In 1939 he began corresponding with Princess Elizabeth, and after World War II he was granted permission by the King to marry her.
Prince Philip’s life of royal service began at the Queen’s accession in 1952 and he has since become the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest-ever male member of the British Royal family.
2007 Diamond Jubilee £5
In 2007, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, a remarkable 60 years of marriage.
Due to this massive milestone and a truly proud moment for them both, the Royal Mint issued a new £5 coin.
Designed by Emma Noble, the reverse beautifully depicts the Rose Window at Westminster Abbey. This highly sought after coin is the only UK coin to feature the conjoined portrait of the Queen and Prince Philip.
2011 90th Birthday of Prince Philip £50
In 2011 a UK £5 coin was issued by The Royal Mint in celebration of the 90th birthday of Prince Philip.
The coin’s design features a specially commissioned portrait of Philip by Mark Richards FRBS.
Excitingly, just 18,730 of these coins were struck in Brilliant Uncirculated presentation packs making it one of the rarest £5 coins ever. And because of this, the coin is extremely sought after by collectors and is virtually impossible to get hold of on the secondary market.
2017 Prince Philip 70 Years of Service £5
In 2017, The Royal Mint released a brand new UK coin paying tribute to Prince Philip and his 70 years of service.
On 4th May 2017, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh would be retiring from public duty. This marked an incredible 70 years of service to the Queen, the United Kingdom, British Isles and the Commonwealth.
As well as a Base Metal coin, a very limited number of Silver Proof coins were made available, with just 3,000 coins being struck. Unsurprisingly, this coin was quick to sell out at The Royal Mint and with their distributors.
Did you know he worked with the Royal Mint?
In 1952, The Duke of Edinburgh was appointed President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. His role included selecting the design of coins, medals and seals for the new reign of Her Majesty the Queen.
He worked with the Royal Mint right up to his retirement in 1999 so it’s fair to say that the coins we know and love from years gone by, were specially selected by Prince Philip.
Secure the 2017 Prince Philip 70 Years of Service £5 coin
Whilst the Silver Proof version of this coin was quick to sell out, you still have the opportunity to get your hands on the Base Metal £5 coin in CERTIFIED BU quality.
Have you ever wondered how the coins in your change are made?
From the drawing board to your pocket, there’s a lot that goes into the production of UK coins, and so we’ve put together a 5 stage infographic to break it down for you…
First, The Royal Mint’s marketing team look at possible themes and develop a brief for the designer. They work with internal artists, graphic designers and external artists such as competition winners.
The designer sketches a concept either by hand or on a computer and this is sent to The Royal Mint Advisory Committee for feedback and approval.
The final stage in design is to send the coin to the Queen for final sign off of the design.
It was actually revealed recently that the Queen took a particular liking to the 2019 Stephen Hawking 50p, which has proven to be a big success and a hugely popular design this year.
2) Moulding and Engraving the Master Die
Designs are transferred and sculpted onto a plaster mould 5 times the size of the coin.
This model will be scanned and stored as a digital image to be used by an engraving machine.
The transfer-engraver reproduces the design onto a master die the same diameter as the coin to be struck.
This will be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.
Sheets of metal are pressed into the exact thickness of the coin required and then rolled into coils.
These huge coiled strips of metal are then cut into the correct shapes by blanking presses.
The presses punch out blank discs with a pressure of around 60 tonnes, creating coins at a speed of 850 strikes per minute!
The blanks are checked before being annealed and blanched to create a lustre suitable for coining.
To transfer the design onto the blanks to be struck, the coin blank is pressed between two dies using a hydraulic press.
The variable pressure of the press is up to hundreds of pounds per square inch.
This forms the shape and design of the finished coin, striking up to 25,000 coins every hour!
5) Inspecting, Sorting and Bagging
The final stage involves checking the coins for imperfections and sorting them into the correct denominations or designs.
They are wrapped and stacked in bags to be stored in ‘the long room’, ready for despatch.
The Royal Mint and cash distribution services regularly review the amount of coins in circulation and it’s only when they are short of a particular denomination that stocks will be called from The Royal Mint, and these coins will be issued into circulation, ready and waiting to be found in your change!
I don’t know about you, but the next time I check my change I’ll certainly be considering the journey the coins have been through to end up in my purse and the incredible production process that goes into creating UK coins.
If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:
– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app
World Book Day is recognised across the globe as an opportunity to celebrate great books and authors. But more excitingly for Change Checkers, it’s an opportunity to take a look at which of these great books and authors have been commemorated on UK coins!
In recent years, we’ve seen some classic British books and authors celebrated on UK coinage, from Jane Austen to Julia Donaldson’s much-loved Gruffalo. Take a look below to find out what these coins are and where their designs came from.
Beatrix Potter 50p series – Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit has sold some 150 million copies since its release in 1903. The much-loved children’s character was initially featured on a 50p coin in 2016.
First issued as a series of five coins featuring Peter Rabbit and his friends the 50ps designs by Emma Noble, were taken straight from the illustrations of the original books. These 50p coins started an unprecedented collecting phenomenon and have been so hugely popular the series has been continued throughout 2017 and 2018 with the release of a further eight 50p coins. The question is, will we see more of these coins in 2019?
Shakespeare £2 set – In the 400 years since his death, William Shakespeare has become widely regarded as the greatest writer in British history and the world best dramatist. In 2016 The Royal Mint struck three official £2 coins in honour of the playwright – a first for the UK. Each coin celebrates an aspects of Shakespeare’s famous work, tragedies, comedies and histories, all designed by John Bergdahl.
Jane Austen £2 – It might come as a surprise to some collectors that it was only after Austen’s death in 1817 that her works were sent out to print. In 2017 The Royal Mint issued a £2 coin to commemorate 200 years since her death; the reverse design, by Dominique Evans, features a portrait of Austen herself and was approved by leading Jane Austen Academic, Professor John Mullan.
Frankenstein £2 – Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein’ is widely regarded as the first science-fiction novel. To celebrate 200 years since publication, The Royal Mint issued the Frankenstein £2 coin in 2018. The design, by Royal Mint designer Thomas T. Docherty, portrays ECG monitor style wording of ‘Frankenstein’. The coin also features the edge lettering ‘A SPARK OF BEING’ which is a quote taken from the novel.
Paddington Bear 50p pair – Struck to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the classic book, two Paddington Bear 50p coins were issued in 2018. The design on each coin is derived from the modern film adaptation of the book and shows the much-loved bear at Paddington Station and at Buckingham Palace. Collectors and Paddington fans alike have been thrilled with the detail on the coins, designed by David Knapton, from Paddington’s famous duffle coat to the label around his neck that reads ‘Please look after this Bear, thank you.’
The Snowman 50p – To celebrate 40 years of Raymond Briggs’ classic tale, The Royal Mint issued this particularly special, festive commemorative Snowman 50p in November of 2018 that would not enter general circulation. Briggs’ characters are brought to life by designer Natasha Ratcliffe as the boy and the snowman soar through the night sky together. The design was approved by Robin Shaw, assistant director of The Snowman and The Snowdog animation, to ensure the detail was perfect.
The Nutcracker £5 – The Nutcracker story is renowned, and just like coins, it has a long history with Christmas. This £5 coin was issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate Christmas 2018; the reverse design by Harry Brockway shows an enchanted Christmas Nutcracker scene. £5 coins are reserved for the most important Royal and Historical anniversaries, which shows the significance of this Nutcracker £5.
The Gruffalo 50p – Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo was first published in 1999 and to celebrate 20 years of the world’s best-loved monster, The Royal Mint issued a commemorative 50p, featuring The Gruffalo, which will not be entering general circulation. The reverse image was designed by Magic Light Pictures themselves and features The Gruffalo as seen in the modern film adaptation. The Gruffalo 50p has seen remarkable popularity since its release last month and is proving a firm favourite with collectors.
It’s hard to believe we’ve had all these coin releases celebrating British authors and stories in just the last few years.
What’s more, in 2019 we’ll also see the release of a further two coins celebrating famous British authors – a £2 coin to mark 350 years since the famous diarist, Samuel Pepys’, last Diary Entry and a brand new 50p coin to celebrate the prolific writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s, famous detective stories featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Although the designs for these coins have already been released they are not yet available to buy or find in your change – keep your eyes out for their releases later this year!
What authors and books would you like to see on UK coins in future? Let us know below and comment on what your favourite author, story and coin is!
You can now secure some of Britain’s Best Loved Coins featuring your favourite authors and book characters in Brilliant Uncirculated condition.