For nearly 100 years, the story of an incredible, heroic woman was forgotten, but Mary Seacole is finally receiving the recognition she deserves by being celebrated on a UK coin.
A true likeness
This brand new UK £5 coin has been issued to mark Mary Seacole’s selfless efforts during the Crimean War, where she cared for sick and injured soldiers.
The reverse design by Sandra Deiana is based on a genuine photograph of Seacole. The photograph was taken around 1870 and is now held at Winchester College.
Caring in the crossfire
From the age of 12, Mary Seacole helped her mother, a nurse who specialised in traditional Jamaican medicine. Inspired by her mother and following the death of her husband, Mary focussed on caring for the sick.
Her medical expertise was invaluable during the Crimean War, where, along with Thomas Day, she opened a ‘British Hotel’ near the battlefields. She devoted her time and resources to caring for sick and injured soldiers, even riding on horseback into the battlefields under fire to help men from both sides of the conflict.
The 2023 UK Mary Seacole £5 has been created in collaboration with ‘The Mary Seacole Trust’ to pay tribute to her dedication to helping others.
‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’
In 1957, Seacole penned a memoir, fittingly named ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands’ which detailed her humanitarian contributions during her 75 years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that people started to discover her story and realise how much of an impact she made on history.
Seacole was commemorated with a memorial in 2016 which is located in front of St Thomas’ Hospital. The sculpture was designed by none other than Martin Jennings, the creator of the King Charles III effigy that we see on UK coinage.
Secure your 2023 UK Mary Seacole £5
2023 marks 75 years of our NHS, and to celebrate, a UK 50p has been issued.
This coin may look familiar, and that’s because it featured in the 2023 Annual Coin Set released earlier this year, but now you can finally own it individually!
A closer look
The 2023 UK NHS 50p represents the nation’s appreciation for NHS workers and services, with an original design by Alice Lediard. The reverse design features key words associated with the NHS such as dedication, hope, support and compassion. The words ‘National Health Service 75’ can also be seen highlighted in the centre of the coin.
What’s more, The Royal Mint are donating 100% of the profit made from these coins to NHS Charities Together. Over 230 NHS Charities across the UK provide additional support and resources for both staff and patients.
What better way to say thank you for the last 75 years or service.
The nation’s service
Since it was established in 1948, the National Health Service has played a pivotal role in the lives of the British public. It provides millions of people with vital care and medical services. This was especially apparent in recent years during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Numismatic history of the NHS
This isn’t the first time the NHS has been celebrated on a UK coin…
1998 50th Anniversary of the NHS 50p
In 1998, a UK 50p was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the NHS.
The reverse design by David Cornell shows a pair of hands cupping rays of light along with the inscription ‘NHS FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY’.
2018 A-Z ‘N’ NHS 10p
Almost 20 years later in 2018, the NHS 10p was released as part of the 26 coin A-Z 10p series.
The series celebrated all things British, so it’s no surprise that the NHS was chosen to represent the letter N. The reverse design shows a stethoscope wrapped around the letter N in the shape of a heart.
The A-Z 10ps have become some of the hardest UK circulation coins to find, with a mintage of only 304,000 per letter.
And that brings us to 2023 and the new 75th anniversary of the NHS 50p, which you can own in brilliant uncirculated quality.
Secure your 2023 UK 75 Years of the NHS Certified BU 50p
Today marks the start of National Storytelling Week, which is celebrated in February each year. It’s a great chance for people to share their own stories and listen to the stories told by others.
As part of the celebrations, we’ve taken a look at some UK coins that celebrate some of the very best storytellers.
One of the greatest storytellers and playwrights of all time, William Shakespeare, shot to fame during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre.
He wrote 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets and a variety of other pieces!
In 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary since his death, The Royal Mint issued a three-coin series, each taking inspiration from a theme of Shakespeare’s plays.
This coin’s design was inspired by Shakespeare’s history plays, with an edge inscription that reads: “The Hollow Crown”, from his play “Richard II”.
Beatrix Potter’s enchanting tales of countryside characters, including Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle skyrocketed her to stardom. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 and it instantly became a best-seller!
And it was in 2016 that Peter Rabbit escaped from Mr. McGregor’s Garden and made his first debut on United Kingdom coinage.
Issued to celebrate 150 years since the birth of renowned Children’s author, Beatrix Potter, this 50p changed coin collecting forever.
This series of coins continued into 2017, 2018 and 2019. Fifteen Beatrix Potter coins have now been issued since 2016, each featuring one of Potter’s delightful characters, from Flopsy Bunny to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.
The title of the rarest of the Beatrix Potter 50p actually belongs to two coins! The 2018 Peter Rabbit and 2018 Flopsy Bunny both have a mintage of just 1.4 million!
A list of great story tellers wouldn’t be complete without Charles Dickens!
Dickens’ enchanting stories, vivid characters, and depiction of Victorian life are widely acknowledged across the world by critics and scholars alike and his novels and short stories continue to be widely popular to this day.
The reverse design of this £2 coin by Matthew Dent features Dickens’ recognizable profile crafted from the titles of his most famous works.
This coin had a circulating mintage of 8,190,000 and is one of my personal favourites!
Agatha Christie’s first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 and it kick-started the nation’s love of her detective novels and murder mysteries.
In 2020, to mark 100 years since her first publication, The Royal Mint celebrated the world’s best-selling novelist with this £2 coin.
David Lawrence’s design of this coin pays homage to Christie’s crime novels, with a piece of a jigsaw slotting into place and her signature at the bottom.
The coin also features the edge inscription ‘100 years of mystery 1920’-2020’ to mark this very special anniversary.
Sherlock Holmes 50p
In 2019, to mark 160 years since the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Royal Mint issued this 50p coin.
The prolific writer is best known for his incredibly popular detective stories featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes™. It is said his works revolutionized the crime genre, and despite Doyle sharing an ambivalent relationship with his famous character, Holmes’ popularity resulted in Doyle becoming one of the best-paid authors of the time.
The reverse has been designed by Stephen Raw and features a silhouette of Sherlock smoking a pipe, surrounded by a few of his most-famous story titles.
Are there any other great storytellers you think should be celebrated on our UK coins? Comment below!
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