The Royal Mint has unveiled (4th January) their collection of commemorative coins which will be part of the 2021 programme starting in January. This year, the Mint will start off with five coins that will comprise the Mint and Proof sets for 2021. Included will be two 50-pence coins, two £2 denominations, one £5 crown, and the other eight denominations in circulation. The subjects to be honoured include:
50 pence — Decimal Day, 1971-2021. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the change-over in the United Kingdom from a monetary system consisting of pounds, shillings, and pence to a decimal pound comprising 100 pence. This changeover took nearly a decade in planning which included a re-design of coinage for both the obverse and reverse, transitional coins issued in 1968 to ready the public, and ultimately the complete changeover. On the 15th February 1971, the country officially adopted the new pounds and pence currency with minimal glitches. With the adoption of the new coins, a new denomination was introduced into circulation. The first seven-sided coins in the world were first released into circulation in 1969, equal in value to an old pre-decimal pound of 10 shillings, the new coins weren’t popular at first but became one of the most used coins after Decimal Day. The commemorative design on the reverse is graphic artist Dominique Evans’s work, whose compilation includes fragments of the pre-decimal coinage issued during the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. In the centre of the collage is a seven-sided shape with the text 1971 DECIMAL DAY. On the obverse is the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II introduced onto the first decimal coins issued in 1968 in preparation for Decimal Day. Created by eminent sculptor Arnold Machin (1911–1999) the graceful portrait was used on British coins until 1985 and many Commonwealth countries from 1964 to 2000. The denomination of FIFTY PENCE is placed below the Queen’s likeness.
50 pence — 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the death of John Logie Baird (1888–1946), a prolific inventor whose name became synonymous for his early prototypes of television, John Logie Baird’s work changed society and entertainment around the world when he demonstrated the world’s first working television system on the 26th January 1926. Coincidentally, this year is also the 95th anniversary of this demonstration. Baird also invented the first publicly demonstrated colour television system and the first purely electronic colour television picture tube. The reverse design is created by artist Osborne Ross. He depicts a television transmitter antenna with relevant year dates and events pertaining to the development of television emanating from the centre and is complete with the commemorative text at the top edge which reads JOHN LOGIE BAIRD TELEVISION PIONEER. Below the design and between the transmitter depiction are the years 1888 and 1946, the years of Baird’s birth and death.
Two pounds — 75th anniversary of the death of H.G Wells (1866–1946). The reverse side design is the work of artist Chris Costello, who has brought together elements of Wells’ novels with representations from the Invisible Man and the Time Machine. Below the primary design is the year and text 2021 HG WELLS.
Two pounds — This year will be the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832). Today, Scott is credited with having created the modern historical novel that has inspired generations of writers and audiences alike and his input to the Highland revival put Scotland back on the map. While perhaps not as immediately synonymous with Scotland as his predecessor Robert Burns, Scott has been immortalised in monuments as far apart as Glasgow and New York and still appears on the front of Scottish banknotes. The reverse side is designed by artist Stephen Raw, who has included a depiction of Sir Walter’s bust along with stylised lettering that reads SIR WALTER SCOTT. Additional text reads NOVELIST HISTORIAN POET. Above the primary design is the commemorative inscription 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH.
Five pounds — 2021 sees the celebration of a remarkable milestone as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 95th birthday and becomes the first British monarch to reach such a grand age. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the first child born to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York. Born on the 21st April 1926 in London, she was, from the time of her birth, third in line to the British throne behind her Uncle the Prince of Wales and her father Prince Albert, Duke of York. As the first grandchild of King George V, she was regarded as her Grandfather’s most beloved in the family; he once remarked that the little Princess had the makings of a great queen. In January 1936 with King George V’s death and just 10 months later with her uncle, King Edward VIII’s abdication in December, young Princess Elizabeth of York became heir presumptive to her father, now King George VI. In 1952, with the unexpected death of her father, Princess Elizabeth succeeded as Queen Elizabeth II. During her reign, the Royal Mint has created five different effigies of Her Majesty, which succinctly documents her reign. Her likeness has been included on the obverse side of every British coin produced for circulation since 1953. The reverse design is created by Royal Mint artisan Timothy Noad, who has depicted a bouquet of flowers centred along with the Queen’s royal cypher consisting of E II R superimposed. Above the primary design are the commemorative years 1926 and 2021 with an inscription shown below, which reads MY HEART AND MY DEVOTION.
Each commemorative coin will be available during the year in base metal, silver, and gold Proof options, and separate purchases. The Proof and Mint sets also in base metal, silver, and gold Proof are available from this month. All commemoratives are available in special five-coin Proof sets in gold which are limited to 95 sets. The silver options are available in limited presentations of 550 sets, or 300 sets for Piedfort strikes. For additional information, please visit the Royal Mint’s website.
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