The Isle of Man Treasury have officially issued their new range of coins for 2017. The series is being produced by the Tower Mint, with offices and facilities in London. The new coin sets were featured during the official release ceremony on the 10th April, with Isle of Man Treasury member Bill Henderson in attendance along with Tower Mint chairman Raphael Maklouf, Isle of Man coins expert Mike Southall, MBE (who also launched his new, updated edition of Coins of the Isle of Man), and Isle of Man Treasury minister Alfred Cannan taking part in the event.
The designs were formally approved by the Tynwald on the 21st February. Production of the first consignment of the coins began on the 9th March at the Tower Mint, United Kingdom, who also hosted a first-strike ceremony in the presence of Ms. Paula Primrose, the Isle of Man’s chief accountant, and Mr. Colin Campbell, the Isle of Man’s investment and banking manager.
The 2017-dated coin series consists of seven denominations from £5 through to 5 pence, depicting bold new reverse designs that are associated with the Isle of Man’s culture, wildlife, and history. On each reverse, the triskelion is placed within a small circle above the main design, while the denomination, in two lines, is placed in a small circle below. Each reverse design is bordered with a traditional linear or Celtic pattern.
The obverse of the coins includes a new effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, who, as Lord of Man, has been depicted on all Manx coinage since its initial introduction in 1971. The new effigy is the work of Jody Clark, product designer and engraver at the Royal Mint. The portrait was created at the same time as the definitive fifth portrait now used exclusively on U.K. coinage, appearing on all circulation and many commemorative coins since March 2015.
5 Pounds—The £5 reverse depicts the Isle of Man’s instantly recognisable triskelion, which is featured on the Isle of Man flag and is the primary element on the coin. The triskelion is known in the Manx language as tre cassyn, or “the three legs.” The symbol has been associated with the island since at least the 13th century. The three-legged figure—whose legs, connected at the centre, are depicted in a clockwise running position and form the distinctive circular emblem—is centred on the reverse and surrounded by a traditional linear pattern specific to this coin. Metal composition: Alpaca. Weight: 11.7 g. Diameter: 32 mm.
2 Pounds—The reverse of this bi-metallic coin depicts an image of the Tower of Refuge, along with two seagulls in flight. The tower is an instantly recognisable feature of Douglas Bay and was built on the instigation of Sir William Hillary (1770–1847), the founder of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, after several shipwrecks occurred upon the semi-submerged rock on which the tower is now situated. It is built on a partially submerged reef within Douglas Bay, also known as St. Mary’s Isle. The first stone for the tower was laid by Lady Hillary on Easter Monday, the 23rd April, 1832. The Tower of Refuge derives its name from a poem by William Wordsworth:
The feudal Keep, the bastions of Cohorn,
Even when they rose to check or to repel
Tides of aggressive war, oft served as well
Greedy ambition, armed to treat with scorn
Just limits; but yon Tower, whose smiles adorn
This perilous bay, stands clear of all offence;
Blest work it is of love and innocence,
A Tower of refuge built for the else forlorn.
Spare it, ye waves, and lift the mariner,
Struggling for life, into its saving arms!
Spare, too, the human helpers! Do they stir
’Mid your fierce shock like men afraid to die?
No; their dread service nerves the heart it warms,
And they are led by noble Hillary.
Since the construction of this distinctive landmark, not a single accident has occurred. A similar design for the Tower of Refuge was last seen on the 5-pence denomination at various times since 1971. Metal composition: Bi-metallic. Weight: 12 g. Diameter: 28.4 mm.
1 Pound—Highlighted on the reverse of the £1 coin is a detailed depiction of a peregrine falcon and a raven, perched face to face. The activity of falconry has been a long-standing tradition within the British Isles and on the Isle of Man for more than 1,300 years. As recently as 1764, the Dukes of Atholl were granted the feudal tenancy of the Isle of Man for a “rent” of two white gyrfalcons, to be paid to successive monarchs upon their coronation. The peregrine falcon and raven have been included on the royal crest of the Isle of Man from 1996. Metal composition: Nickel-brass. Weight: 9.5 g. Diameter: 22.5 mm.
50 Pence—The reverse depicts another animal species unique to the island: the Manx Loaghtan, a native breed of sheep, whose serene face is centered on the coin. These distinctive sheep are charactised by their four (or occasionally six) horns. The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx words lugh dhoan, which mean mouse-brown and describe the colour of the sheep’s coat. Metal composition: Cupro-nickel. Weight: 8 g. Diameter: 27.3 mm.
20 Pence—The history of the Isle of Man is rich in Viking culture, which is proudly honored with a detailed depiction of a Viking-era longboat, with a dragon’s head at the bow, on the reverse of the new 20 pence. The depiction of a Viking longboat was previously seen on the 50-pence denomination at various times from 1971. Metal composition: Cupro-nickel. Weight: 5 g. Diameter: 21.4 mm.
10 Pence—This reverse includes an image of one of the island’s more famous residents, the Manx cat. An indigenous breed prevalent on the island, its natural lack of a tail is believed to be due to a spontaneous gene mutation. The Manx cat has become an unofficial—and endearing—ambassador of the Isle of Man. Metal composition: Nickel-plated steel. Weight: 6.50 g. Diameter: 24.5 mm.
5 Pence—The reverse of the 5 pence depicts the Manx shearwater in flight. Known for their habitation along coastal communities, they are a welcome sight to sailors in transit, who know they are within a short distance to land when a shearwater is in the vicinity. Metal composition: Nickel-plated steel. Weight: 3.25 g. Diameter: 18 mm.
The Tower Mint, United Kingdom, became the Island’s official minter from the 1st April, having won a bid tendered out last year. The new agreement between the Isle of Man government’s treasury and the Tower Mint will continue for a 10-year period from that date. Collector sets, including Brilliant Uncirculated mint and Proof sets in both base metal and precious metals, will go on sale to eagerly awaiting collectors at a later date.
The Tower Mint will also be working closely with Westminster Collections, premier U.K. distributors and retailers of foreign and British coins, who will play a key role in further activity for the sale and marketing of Isle of Man products. Isle of Man coins from the £2 denomination to the 5-pence coin are produced utilising the same specifications as British coinage. The £5 circulation coin will be minted to the specifications set out by the Isle of Man Treasury.
For additional information about the Tower Mint, please visit their website. ❑