The Royal Mint have launched their latest addition to the series of 12 Lunar coins to be struck for the United Kingdom. The series launched last year with the striking depiction of the Year of the Horse issue, and continues with the Year of the Sheep.
Known as the Shēngxiào Collection, the Royal Mint’s Lunar coin series reflects the Shēngxiào tradition, linking each year to one of 12 animals, with the animal traits attributed to those born in a given Lunar year. Celebrated annually in February, it is a time during which it is traditional to exchange tokens and, in particular, gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolizing good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.
The Year of the Sheep, or Ram, designs are created by British Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho – who designed the 2014 Year of the Horse coins, which were critically acclaimed by avid coin collectors and mainstream media alike. She continues the theme which once again combines both British and Chinese heritage. The Year of the Sheep coin is the second in this auspicious series, and its design reflects characteristics of those born in the year of the sheep, freedom-loving with a passion for company.
|2 Pounds||.999 silver||31.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||9888 pieces|
|2 Pounds||Gold plated .999 silver||31.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||4888 pieces|
|10 Pounds||.999 silver||156.2 grams||65 mm.||Proof||1088 pieces|
|10 Pounds||.999 gold||3.13 grams||16.5 mm.||BU||2888 pieces|
|100 Pounds||.999 gold||31.21 grams||32.69 mm.||Proof||888 pieces|
|500 Pounds||.999 gold||156.29 grams||65 mm.||Proof-like||38 pieces|
Wuon-Gean’s inspiration for the 2015 series are Swaledale sheep, which are a British breed. She also relied on her veterinary experience and memories of the lambing season. Wuon-Gean recalls observing sheep as part of the British landscape – in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, on the hillsides of the Peak district and in the rolling Brecon Beacons – their presence very much a part of British life.
The obverse of all the coins includes the current portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II created by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and seen on all circulation and several commemorative coins in the UK since 1998.
As the number “8” is considered lucky in Asia, each mintage ends in either one, two or three 8’s as is relevant to the coin and expected demand though several of the 2015 series have reduced mintages from last year.
For more information on the Shēngxiào Collection or to place pre-orders for the coins, please visit this section of the Royal Mint website. Information offered in English – international orders dispatched.