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 issued a four coin series throughout 2019 celebrating the history of the Tower of London, one of Britain’s most iconic attractions. The series included coins depicting the following:

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

The collection continues in 2020 with four new £5 coins featuring original designs, each exploring a different element of the Tower of London’s history. The series will include coins depicting the following:

  • The White Tower
  • The Royal Menagerie
  • The Royal Mint
  • The Notorious Prison

2020 White Tower £5

The Royal Mint has just released the first coin in the 2020 Tower of London series, with the new £5 being issued to celebrate the White Tower.

2020 UK White Tower of London £5

Designed by heraldic artist, Timothy Noad, the reverse of the coin depicts the model of the White Tower, which sits on top of the mace that the Chief Yeoman Warder carries.

In a nod to the previous collection, when all four coins are placed together, a full image of a Norman arched window can be seen, framing the design of each coin.

The White Tower £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 your coin in Brilliant Uncirculated quality

The White Tower

Built 1078-1097 under William the Conqueror’s rule, the White Tower is the oldest part of the Tower of London and is the most famous castle keep in the world.

Built to awe, subdue and terrify Londoners, the White Tower’s ramparts, which are 90ft high, would have cast dark shadows over the wooden buildings of medieval London.

In 1674, the skeletons of two children were discovered in the White Tower, during the demolition of a staircase leading to the chapel of St. John. The bones have, for years, been speculated as the remains of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. Richard III is the name most associated with the mystery of the two little princes. It is believed that he had them killed as their right to the throne was stronger than his… Whilst this mystery is still yet to be solved, one thing’s for definite, this Tower really is a centre-piece of British History.

Now, the White Tower showcases the awe-inspiring historic and world-class Royal Armouries collections, including the royal armours of Henry VIII, Charles I and James II.

The White Tower. Source: Britannica

The Royal Menagerie

From the 1200s to 1835, the Tower of London housed a menagerie of exotic wild animals, never before seen in London, including Elephants, Lions, and Polar Bears.

The Royal Menagerie began as a result of medieval monarchs exchanging rare and strange animals as gifts (Historic Royal Palaces). In 1235, Henry III was presented with three leopards by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, inspiring him to open a zoo at the Tower.

Although many of the animals had brand new houses and dedicated keepers, they did not survive in the cramped conditions.

Therefore, Edward I (1239-1307) created a permanent new home for the Menagerie, known as the Lion Tower, named after the beasts kept there. During this time, visitors to the Tower would have first crossed a drawbridge to the Lion Tower, experiencing the terrifying sounds and smells of the animals.

Today’s world-famous London Zoo in Regent’s Park was founded by the original 150 animals moving from the Tower Menagerie.

The animals of the menagerie are commemorated by 13 wire sculptures around the Tower, by artist Kendra Haste.

The Royal Menagerie. Source: AAJ Press

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.

The Royal Mint. Source: hrp.org.uk

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.

Tower of London. Source: hrp.org.uk

The 2020 White Tower £5 really has kick started what is set to be an incredible series. We can’t wait to see the designs for the other coins!


Secure your 2020 White Tower £5 Here

2020 UK White Tower £5

The Royal Mint has just released the first coin in the 2020 Tower of London series, with the new £5 being issued to celebrate the White Tower.

Click here to secure yours today

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.

James Bond actors. Credit: 007.com

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?

Click here to secure your coin today.

The Royal Proclamation issued on the 14th of February 2020 confirms that an Elton John £5 coin will be released this year.

The news comes following the exciting release of the first coin in The Royal Mint’s Music Legends coin series – the Queen £5 – earlier this year.

It’s safe to assume the Elton John £5 will be part of this series and we’re sure that collectors and Elton fans alike will be feeling the love for this new coin.

At the moment, the designs are still top secret but the reverse is said to feature Elton John’s boater hat, glasses and bow tie set against a union flag and the inscription “ELTON JOHN”.

If you’d like to find out more, you can fill in our sign-up form below to stay up-to-date with all the latest news about this release.

Elton John BU £5 Sign Up

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Who else would you like to see on a Music Legends coin? Let us know in the comments below.


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