International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
To celebrate, in this blog we take a closer look at just some of the incredible women who have been commemorated on our UK coins!
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Celebrating her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the fourth longest reigning monarch in worldwide history!
There have been some incredible coins celebrating Her Majesty, including the recently issued Platinum Jubilee 50p coin – the UK’s FIRST Royal 50p!
This 50p features a reverse design by agency Osborne Ross but, what’s particularly special about this coin is that TWO versions have actually been created…
One includes an obverse design by John Bergdahl featuring the Queen on horseback (pictured left) and the other includes Jody Clark’s obverse of the Queen’s portrait.
QEII is arguably the most loved and respected monarch our country has ever seen so it’s only right on the day we honour the achievements of women throughout history, that we dedicate a portion to Her Majesty.
Dame Vera Lynn
Coined as the ‘Forces Sweetheart’, singer Dame Vera Lynn rose to fame in 1940 with her wartime songs, White Cliffs of Dover, and We’ll Meet Again.
Vera Lynn spent time travelling the world, singing to soldiers who were fighting on front lines.
She risked her life to inspire others when they needed it most and provided comfort to those of wouldn’t survive to return home.
Sadly, in 2020, we received the news that Dame Vera Lynn had passed away. She touched the lives of so many, that Her Majesty the Queen sent a private message of condolence to Dame Vera’s family.
In 2022, The Royal Mint commemorated Dame Vera Lynn’s life and achievements with this brand new £2 coin. Featuring a portrait of the famous singer on the reverse, this £2 is the perfect tribute to one of the UK’s most inspirational women.
Mary Anning was one of Britain’s greatest fossil hunters and her discoveries were some of the most important geological finds of all time.
Her discoveries of spectacular marine reptiles prompted the scientific community to begin further investigation into explanations for changes in the natural world.
In 2021, a new 50p series was issued to commemorate Anning by The Royal Mint.
These 50p coins, issued in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, feature designs of the Temnodontosaurus, Plesiosaurus and, Dimorphodon – all prehistoric giants discovered by Anning on the Jurassic Coast!
A truly inspiring woman, who pushed for her passion, making important historic discoveries and changes as a result.
English chemist, Rosalind Franklin sits right at the very heart of the story of DNA.
Her ground-breaking research and inspiring work ethic were central to the discovery of the helical structure of DNA, which was later publicised by Watson and Crick.
Tragically, at the age of just 37, Franklin passed away from ovarian cancer, robbing her of the same awards and recognitions that her colleagues were gifted.
But in 2020, to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday, she also became the second scientist to be celebrated in The Royal Mint’s Innovation in Science series.
The reverse design of this coin, by David Knapton, features a depiction of her famous Photograph 51, which enabled her to discover the structure of DNA in her laboratory in Cambridge.
After the end of the First World War, Christie published her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
This incredibly popular story introduced readers to one of Christie’s most famous characters – Belgian detective Hercule Poirot*.
Writing well into her later years, Christie wrote more than 70 detective novels as well as short fiction which have been adapted into films, television, and radio programmes.
In 1971, she was made a Dame of the British Empire for her outstanding contribution to Literature.
In 2020, to mark 100 years since her first publication, The Royal Mint celebrated the world’s best-selling novelist with a £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.
There really have been some incredible women celebrated on our UK coins, and this is just a small selection.
Is there an influential women you’d like to see on our coins in the future? Let us know in the comments below!
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Did you know that an Insulin 50p is set to be issued this year?
The Royal Proclamation from the 23rd July 2021 confirmed that a 50p will be issued in 2021 featuring a design dedicated to the hormone, Insulin.
Whilst the design remains top secret, the Royal Proclamation reveals the coin’s reverse design will feature a depiction of insulin molecules and the chemical formula for insulin.
Insulin was first discovered in 1921 by Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best, and JJR Macleod at the University of Toronto.
Before this, very few people with type 1 diabetes lived more than a year or two, and it remains the only effective treatment for people with the condition to this day.
In the 100th anniversary year of its discovery, could this new 50p become the very latest issue in The Royal Mint’s Innovation in Science series? It hasn’t been confirmed but we certainly think it would make a great addition!
We’re so excited for the design of this brand new coin to be revealed – it’s sure to make a huge breakthrough into the coin collecting world!
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Be one of the first to receive the brand new Insulin 50p!
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It’s hard to imagine life without television but back in the early 1920s, it was a complete unknown.
That was until John Logie Baird successfully produced televised objects in outline in 1924, transmitted recognisable human faces in 1925, and demonstrated the televising of moving objects in 1926.
To celebrate the life and works of the ‘Father of Television’, a brand new 50p in the UK’s Innovation in Science series has been released, designed by Osborne Ross. a London based design agency.
The design features key milestones from Baird’s life, presented between the lines of transmission radiating from the centre of the coin.
To secure this brand new coin for your collection, in Brilliant Uncirculated quality for JUST £4.50 (+p&p), simply click here >>
The Father of Television
At the age of 34, John Logie Baird set about experimenting in television – the start of a passion which was to drive him for the rest of his life.
By early 1925, Baird was successful in demonstrating one of his experiments to the public, in Selfridges’ display window on Oxford Street, London. Bemused shoppers were treated to ‘a recognisable, if rather blurred’, image of simple forms such as letters printed in white on a black card.
Baird’s breakthrough came in 1925 when he produced a recognisable image, complete with shades of grey and in 1926 he gave the world’s first public demonstration of television.
To mark this incredible breakthrough in technology, John Logie Baird now joins the likes of Rosalind Franklin and Stephen Hawking in The Royal Mint’s Innovation in Science series as he’s commemorated on a brand new UK 50p.
Innovators in Science Series
In 2019, The Royal Mint confirmed a new series of coins commemorating some of the most influential Innovators in Science.
2019 Stephen Hawking 50p
The series kick-started with a 50p commemorating Stephen Hawking, less than a year after his death.
Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ enlightened millions to the workings of the universe and revolutionised the way we understand time and space. As an ambassador for science, his significant contributions to humanity have left a lasting presence on all of us.
The striking design by Edwina Ellis features a stylised black hole to reflect his breakthrough work, as well as an inscription of his name and most notable ‘Bekenstein-Hawking formula’ describing the thermodynamic entropy of a black hole.
2020 Rosalind Franklin 50p
In the year that would have marked her 100th birthday, The Royal Mint released a 50p celebrating the life and crucial work of Rosalind Franklin, the first female scientist to be commemorated on a UK coin.
David Knapton’s striking design of this coin, features a depiction of Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray, ‘Photograph 51’, which revealed the helical structure of DNA, in her laboratory at King’s College, London.
One of Britain’s greatest scientists, Franklin made a crucial finding to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA.
Outside of the Innovators in Science series, we’ve seen an impressive selection of engineers and innovations celebrated on our UK coins…
2001 Wireless Transmission £2
In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian physicist, succeeded in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving theories that the curvature of the earth would limit the transmission to 200 miles or less.
The message – simply containing the Morse code signal for the letter ‘s’ – travelled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall to Newfoundland in Canada and won him worldwide fame and a Nobel Prize in physics in 1909.
This £2 coin was issued in 2001 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this outstanding breakthrough.
4,558,000 of these coins entered circulation.
2004 Steam Locomotive £2
The first steam engine locomotive was built by mining engineer Richard Trevithick and travelled from Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales to Abercynon on its first journey in 1804, carrying 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 people on the 9 mile trip.
This £2 coin was issued in 2004 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of this impressive development in transportation.
The reverse design pays tribute to this first engine known as the ‘Pennydarren‘ which started the growth of railway transport in the 19th Century.
5,004,500 of these coins entered circulation. Have you found one?
2006 Brunel £2
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an English mechanical and civil engineer whose designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.
He is perhaps best remembered for the network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts constructed for the Great Western Railway as well as the Clifton Suspension Bridge which crossed the River Avon.
This £2 coin commemorates the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1806 and features a portrait of Brunel against a section of the Royal Albert bridge, wearing a top hat with a trademark cigar in his mouth.
7,928,250 of these coins entered circulation. Have you found this coin in your change?
Brunel is perhaps best remembered for the network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts constructed for the Great Western Railway as well as the Clifton Suspension Bridge which crossed the River Avon.
This £2 commemorates the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1806 and features a section of the roof of Paddington Station – one of his most famous works.
7,452,250 of these coins entered circulation in 2006, making it the rarer of the two Brunel £2 coins.
We’re so excited to see the 2021 UK John Logie Baird 50p join the marvelous Innovation in Science series and we’re sure this brand new coin will prove incredibly popular with collectors!
Will you be securing these coins for your collection? Let us know in the comments!
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