GREAT BRITAIN A-Z by the Royal Mint2018-03-16T16:31:23+00:00

Project Description

Royal Mint releases 26 new coins to mark the new 10p coin with an A to Z of Britain

It seems the Royal Mint has decided that a five-coin range isn’t enough and has gone full blast with a new 26-coin series called The A-Z of Britain. Similar in concept to the Royal Australian Mints A-Z nature set, all coins were released simultaneously, but could be bought individually. Each depicts an aspect of British life, or at least a popularised romantic view of it. All are struck in 6.5 grams of sterling 0.925 silver and carry a 10p denomination.

The design style is very simple. A big letter over a view of what was chosen to represent it. Some are fairly safe choices, like U for Union Flag, S for Stonehenge and L for Loch Ness Monster. Others like W for World Wide Web, G for Greenwich Mean Time and N for National Health Service are a little bit more adventurous. Some, like I for Ice Cream, M for Mackintosh and Q for Queuing, are downright stupid. A mixed bag, we’re pretty sure that people buying all 26 silver coins will be a very rare breed, so if you’re looking to buy one or two, there’s plenty to choose from and items like this with a letter on have always made good gifts for loved ones.

Packaging is excellent. We constantly go on about how good the acrylic frames are that the Royal Mint and the NZ Mint use and that isn’t about to change. A collectors box that holds all 26 silver coins is also available for a not unreasonable £45.00 and is unlikely to disappoint. The individual coins sell for £35.00 each, although in the acrylic frame they sell for £45.00. Not especially cheap for the weight of silver, they are nevertheless reasonably priced for Royal Mint coins – no doubt a reflection of the sheer numbers of choices available.

Of more interest to collectors, although not necessarily of this site, is the availability of base metal versions. At £2 each and packaged in a custom themed blister pack, we suspect that the first strike versions of these are what brought the Royal Mint website to its knees and caused queues of almost 25,000 people. All 26 coins are depicted on the tabs below, along with mint descriptions. This should save you the immediate pain of the RM website at least.

ANGEL OF THE NORTH

Sitting proudly at the entrance to the North East, the Angel of the North is the largest sculpture in the whole of the UK and thought to be the largest angel sculpture in the world!

Since spreading its wings on 16 February 1998, Sir Anthony Gormley’s masterpiece remains the region’s most famous piece of artwork and one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world – seen by more than one person every second, 90,000 every day or 33 million every year.

Weighing in at 200 tonnes and costing a total of £800,000, the statue is made of weather resistant Cor-ten steel, allowing it to withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour and preserving its presence in the North East for more than 100 years.

BOND…JAMES BOND

First debuting as a film character more than 50 years ago, few fictional characters remain as popular as Bond.

The brainchild of novelist Ian Fleming, James Bond is the ultimate hero. Since his creation in 1953, Bond has been the idol for many men and women, defining what it means to be ‘cool’.

Bond first appeared on our screens in 1962 in the classic inaugural film, Dr No. Now some 56 years later, 007 is still our favourite secret agent, and with a new cinematic adventure on the horizon for 2019, we can’t wait.

CRICKET

Cricket, the Great British pastime! Though its origins are lost in the mist of time, it’s widely known that it became the country’s national sport in the 18th century and developed globally in the 19th and 20th centuries.

With its complex rules and unique character, cricket continues to capture the heart of the nation.

By the middle of the 18th century, cricket was being played at every level of society, from village greens to wealthy estates. However, the game lacked a coherent set of rules.

It wasn’t until 1835 that the newly established Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord’s Cricket Ground gave cricket its first formal laws, which still stand today.

DOUBLE DECKER BUS

The Double Decker Bus is an iconic symbol of London, people all over the world, associate the famous red bus with our capital city.

This global icon, was first seen as early as 1829 when George Shillibeer started operating his horse drawn omnibus service from Paddington to the city.

His clever idea soon caught on and in 1855 the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) was born, and soon official buses were available to the public.

ENGLISH BREAKFAST

You can’t beat a traditional English breakfast. Also known as a ‘fry up’, a traditional English breakfast, according to the English Breakfast Society, features an array of ingredients including bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, grilled tomato, fried bread and toast.

Over the years, the preparing of a traditional English breakfast has evolved, however the contents have stayed the same.

The tradition of an English breakfast dates back to the Victorian era when two meals a day was the norm – breakfast and dinner. For the landed gentry, breakfast was a time to socialise and impress your guests so was a very leisurely affair, much like dinner is today.

FISH AND CHIPS

There’s nothing more British than freshly cooked, piping hot, fish and chips, smothered in salt and doused with vinegar, wrapped in newspaper and eaten out-of-doors on a cold and wintry day – it simply cannot be beaten!

For many of us, fish and chips conjure up an array of memories, from seaside holidays, a pay-day treat at the end of the working week or a late-night supper on the way home from the pub.

Few of us can resist the mouth-watering combination, even Churchill was a fan calling them “the good companions”. And we each have our preferences – salt and vinegar? Pickled Onion? Scraps?

GREENWICH MEAN TIME

HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

The Houses of Parliament have been a feature of the River Thames skyline for nearly 300 years in their current form. The oldest royal palace in London, the Houses of Parliament is one of most recognised buildings in the world.

It has been in continuous use since the first half of the 11th century. The original Houses of Parliament was decimated by a fire in 1834 and took 30 years to be recreated.

The most famous part of the building is the Clock Tower which houses, Big Ben. Victoria Tower, the southern tower, is 102m high and was the largest and tallest tower in the world. On top is 15m flagpole which fly’s the Union flag when parliament is ‘sitting’.

ICE CREAM CONE

Who doesn’t love ice cream? From children to grownups, it’s our nation’s favourite treat. Not only are there endless flavours to choose from, but they now come in all different shapes and sizes.

Ice cream recipes first appeared in England in the 18th century. The recipe for ice cream was published in Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts in London in 1718.

According to research by Neuroscientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, eating ice cream really does make you happy. Scientists found that a spoonful of the cold stuff lights up the same pleasure centre in the brain as winning money or listening to your favourite music.

JUBILEE

We don’t need much excuse in Great Britain to get out the bunting and hold a good ole fashioned Street Party and a Royal Jubilee does just that. They provide us with an occasion to celebrate the life and reign of our monarch and are usually marked with people coming together with neighbours, sharing food, drink and embarking on a range of fun activities.

Queen Elizabeth II, our longest reigning monarch, and Queen Victoria are the only two reigning British monarchs to have celebrated their Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne). Both with extensive celebrations.

Over 2million people took part in street parties to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012. The occasion was marked with an array of celebrations over the weekend, including the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a maritime flotilla of some 1000 boats and vessels led by the Queen’s Royal Barge, ‘Gloriana’ and a Diamond Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace.

KING ARTHUR

The legend of the Great British leader, King Arthur, continues to fascinate today. Known as the king that was and the king that shall be’, King Arthur is recognised all over the world as one of the most famous characters of myth and legend.

According to legend, Arthur lived in the mythical city of Camelot and formed a Round Table of some 150 knights.

His existence has been widely debated, all that is known, with even the least degree of certainty, is that a man named Arthur, or Arturus, led a band of heroic warriors who spearheaded the resistance of Britons against the invading Saxons, Jutes, and others from the north of Europe, sometime in the fifth and sixth centuries AD.

LOCH NESS MONSTER

Nothing gets the mind wondering as much as traditional British folklore. And the top of all the mythical beasts is the Loch Ness Monster.

Reportedly a huge monster which mauls and drags its prey to the depths of Loch Ness, it has been described by the lucky few to set eyes on it as ‘the nearest approach to a dragon I have ever seen in my life’.

It was during the 17th century that Britons really took an interest in Nessy. In 1871 D. Mackenzie spotted an object, similar to a log or an upturned boat “wriggling and churning up the water”. After this story was passed to Rupert Gould, interest in the Loch Ness Monster increased.

MACKINTOSH

What’s more British than complaining about the weather? It seems we’re never quite satisfied, and for every Briton, the Mackintosh is an item that accompanies them every day.

Invented by Charles Macintosh in the mid-19th century, the Macintosh (sometimes spelt Mackintosh) was a revolution. Made by sandwiching a layer of naphtha and rubber between two layers of fabric, the fabric only found its true calling when the Macintosh company merged with clothing company Thomas Hancock.

The first manufactured versions had a nasty habit of melting in the hot summer sun, however after a few improvements, the true Macintosh was born. For years, creating a material that was truly waterproof was a pipe dream, however thanks to this Glaswegian chemist the Macintosh is now an item that we take for granted.

NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE

Opening its doors in 1948, the NHS is one of the oldest and iconic nationalized health service providers in the world.

Held at its heart is the three core principles which have guided it to greatness: That it meets the needs of everyone; that it is free at the point of delivery; and that it is based on clinical need, not the ability to pay.

On 5th July the NHS will turn 70 and a chance for everyone to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to talk about the wide array of opportunities being created by advances in science, technology and information, and to thank the extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are always there to greet, advise and care for us.

OAK TREE

A symbol of strength and endurance, the mighty Oak has made its way throughout the UK. As the national tree for England and Wales, as well as the emblem for County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, the British people are somewhat smitten by the Oak with the Scottish particularly fond of storing their fine Scotch Whisky in barrels made from the tree.

Perhaps the allure of the Oak sits in its hardy, protective nature. Many of the famous Oak trees have a history of protection.

But even at a local level, many Oak trees can be found across the UK, on village greens or in the park. Many of these trees are some of the oldest trees in the country. Watching over generations of children playing, the oak tree has a special place in our hearts.

POST BOX

Introduced in 1852 the post box, or pillar box, was created just 12 years after the introduction of the Penny Black postage stamp. It wasn’t until 1874 that the bright red colour was chosen to replace the 1859 green that had been introduced to standardise the boxes.

After the 2012 Olympics, held in London, many postboxes throughout Britain were painted gold in the home towns of gold medal winning athletes.

You don’t need to look far to find your local postbox. According to the Royal Mail, a post box stands within half a mile of over 98% of the UK population and there are around 115,500 pillar, wall, and lamp boxes to choose from. Each post box has a story to tell and many have particular meaning for local communities.

QUEUING

ROBIN

Officially named the UK’s favourite bird, the charming red robin with its iconic red breast can be found chirping its happy tune in UK hedgerows, gardens, parks and woodlands.

Found front and centre on many yuletide cards, the charming robin is often associated with the festive season. Historically associated with ill fortune, a handful of people still refuse to write their Christmas wishes on a card featuring the red breasted bird!

With a length of 14cm, wingspan of 20-22cm and a weight of just 14-21g, these cute little birds are often thought to be friendly creatures, but that is certainly not the case. They may look adorable, but robins are aggressively territorial and quarrelsome, and will not hesitate to drive away other intruding robins.

STONEHENGE

Shrouded in mystery, the historical site of Stonehenge, located in located in Wiltshire, England, is often considered to be the world’s most famous prehistoric monument.

The first monument at Stonehenge was built in approximately 3,000 BC and comprised a circular earthwork. By 2,500 BC this original site was changed with huge sarsen stones and smaller bluestone were raised, to form the incredible monument we see today.

Added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in1986, Stonehenge continues to be one of Britain’s biggest tourist attractions to date.

TEAPOT

No matter the occasion, day of the week or temperature outside, there’s always time for a delicious cuppa.

Contrary to popular belief, it was actually the Portuguese who brought tea to our attention, and in particular, one woman, Catherine of Braganza. Daughter of Portugal’s King John IV, Catherine won the heart of England’s King Charles II and moved to Britain to join her husband, with her favourite loose-leaf tea packed firmly in her luggage.

Originally a costly product imported from India, tea was initially adopted by the nobles and not long after, the upper class. Once demand was heightened, more and more tea was imported and the price was lowered, enabling the lower classes to indulge in the popular brew.

UNION FLAG

VILLAGE

Villages and “village life” are a huge part of British culture, lots of tiny interconnected dwellings where everyone seems to know each other, and no business is private. Flash, in the Peak District has long been recognised as Britain’s highest village (or town), sitting 463m above sea level.

Villages have also long played a major role in popular culture in the UK from made up places to real life ones where you or me might reside. From Emmerdale, Midsomer and Dibley where some of our most loved TV characters have lived to the idyllic Port Wenn, Cornwell where Doc Martin plies his trade and Runcorn where those couch potatoes from Two Pints of Larger and A Packet of Crisps lived.

There’s no doubt about it, it wouldn’t be Britain without the humble village.

WORLD WIDE WEB

Invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 – the World Wide Web connects the entire world at the click of a button. It’s allowed us to reconnect with lost friends and family and document our everyday lives to the entire world.

Starting with noisy old dial up to superfast fibre optic broadband, the World Wide Web is without doubt one of the greatest inventions in human history.

From the first web browser page in 1990, to Google, Wikipedia and Social Media, it’s impossible to imagine life without it.

X MARKS THE SPOT

Steeped in mystery and unclear in origin, ‘X marks the spot’ has taken on many meanings and been intertwined with popular culture, mythology and everyday life for centuries. The first recorded use of X marks the spot was in 1813, although it’s widely thought that it is much older than this.

From pirates and treasure hunters to famous explorers, the saying goes that X marks the spot where the bounty is held. It’s the point to head to on an expedition, it’s where the long-lost treasure is hidden and it’s often the final meeting point in countless films.

For The Great British Coin Hunt, The Royal Mint Experience marks the spot, the only place in the world where you can see UK coins being made.

YEOMAN

Yeomen Warders, or to give them their official title, The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, were formed by King Henry VII in 1485 during the Tudor period.

Yeoman Warder’s have been immortalised on souvenirs, keyrings, pencil cases you name it, they adorn the signs outside countless restaurants and pubs and even sit proudly as the name of one of the nation’s favourite brands of Gin!

As of 2011, there were 37 Yeoman Warders and one chief warder and in 2007, Moira Cameron became the first women to ever hold the position of Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London after a 22-year career in the British Army. And in 2009 members of the British Navy were allowed to be a Yeomen Warder for the first time.

ZEBRA CROSSING

Not to be confused with a pelican crossing, the zebra crossing’s most distinguishing feature is its alternating black and white stripes on the road that resemble the coat of a zebra, hence the name zebra crossing.

Introduced in 1949, by James Callaghan, the then parliamentary security to the minister of transport, came up with the name ‘zebra’ as he believed it would be easily understood and remembered.

Zebra crossings don’t always get the credit they deserve but one has stood out in history as possibly the most famous zebra crossing in the world. We are of course talking about the one that adorned The Beatles Abbey Road album cover, possibly one of the most iconic album covers in history.

ACRYLIC FRAME AND COMMON OBVERSE

MINTS DESCRIPTION

London, 1st March 2018: The Royal Mint has revealed a brand-new collection of 10p coins that mark an exciting departure from themes normally associated with the 1,000-year-old organisation.

Featuring amongst the new designs that were unveiled today are a cup of tea, fish and chips, cricket, and the Loch Ness monster. The 26 coins map out the A-Z of what makes Britain great – from the Angel of the North to a Zebra Crossing. The iconic everyday symbols will be immortalised on UK currency, so The Royal Mint asked the Great British public what is important to them. As well as the more everyday items, the collection acknowledges some of the UK’s most astonishing scientific and technological achievements.

Anne Jessopp, CEO at The Royal Mint said “These designs were selected because we feel they represent a diverse mix of elements that make up the country we all love. There is a lot to be proud of in the UK – whether it’s at the highest level, our Houses of Parliament representing democracy and freedom of speech, technological advancements such as Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, or just a good cup of tea, it’s all here in the designs.

“We hope the British public is inspired to take part in the Great British Coin Hunt by checking their change for those miniature works of art that spell out just some of the many iconic themes that are Quintessentially British.”

Dr Kevin Clancy, Director of the Royal Mint Museum, commented: “This is a departure from the standard way in which The Royal Mint has celebrated what is great about Britain in the past. We have marked great events, celebrated engineers, politicians and of course royalty. This series really drills down into the heartland of what makes Britain British. It’s the granularity of British life celebrated on the coinage.”

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION £0.10 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 6.5 grams
DIAMETER 40.00 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE Unlimited (15,000 per design in frame)
BOX / COA Optional / No
European Mint ad
LPM Group ad

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.