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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