The Isle of Man is back in the commemorative coin game with new Tower Mint partnership

After announcing a break from the Pobjoy Mint after forty years, the Isle of Man has partnered up with The Tower Mint, the last remaining London-based mint (the Royal Mint moved to Wales years ago) to get back in the commemorative coin market, as well as produce new circulating currency. On March 9th, in a ceremony at the Tower Mint’s headquaters, first strikes of new coins took place with representatives of the Isle of Man Treasury in attendance.

Owned by Raphael Maklouf, the designer of one of the best effigies of Queen Elizabeth II to be used on coins, the Tower Mint will produce Manx coins from April 1st for the next decade at least. A new effigy by Jody Clark will sit on the obverse of the new coins. Precious metal proof versions of the new currency should be available at a later date, with international distribution being handled by industry giants, Coin Invest Trust.

To the right you can see Paula Primrose, chief accountant of the Isle of Man Treasury, being presented with the first coin, one she struck herself, by Raphael Maklouf. Excellent to see the Isle of Man’s interesting image and history back in coins so soon.

PRESS RELEASE: The Isle of Man is a nearly 600 square-kilometre big island in the Irish Sea. The self-governing Crown dependency looks back at a vivid history with strong Gaelic cultural ties dating back to the 5th century, followed by Viking settlements. Subsequent rule of the island alternated between the kingdoms of Norway, Scotland and England. Now part of the Crown since the fourteenth century, the island, however, never joined the United Kingdom, which puts it in an exceptional political position. Although legislation and foreign policy are British, the country’s domestic policy is in the hands of the parliament. Founded in 979 and active ever since, it is the oldest extant parliament worldwide that has been in place without interruption. And with the control of domestic policy also comes the privilege to issue own coins and stamps.

Of course the Isle of Man does not have its own mint to strike the coins for its round about 85,000 inhabitants. For more than 40 years, the coins were minted for them by the British Pobjoy Mint. This longstanding relation ends on April 1, 2017. In February 2016 the government of the Isle of Man had invited tenders for the new coinage in the framework of a public competition. The decision was made on August 5, 2016. The new contract, which is laid out for 10 years, went to the British Tower Mint. David Anderson, member of the Treasury, gave an explanatory statement: “The Treasury was impressed with the quality of the samples of circulating and commemorative coins provided in the tender process. Tower Mint was particularly impressive in its marketing capability and production of a rolling five year plan for the sale and distribution of quality commemorative coin issues on a global basis. There are also exciting plans for new designs of circulating coins in 2017.”

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Tower Mint has indeed garnered an international reputation over the last decades, especially with its coinage for Gibraltar, which as a British overseas territory also has its own coin right. The Tower Mint company, founded by Raphael Maklouf, is the last remaining mint actually based in London. Raphael Maklouf came to prominence with his design for the effigy of Elizabeth II featured on all British and Commonwealth coins between 1985 and 1997. By founding the Tower Mint in 1976, he created the only minting company founded by an artist which is internationally active today. Accordingly, the artistic dimension of coin design still plays a central role at Tower Mint. In keeping with traditional craftsmanship, all designs are first cast from plaster.

On March 9, 2017, a first-strike ceremony for the new circulating coins for the Isle of Man took place in the presence of Paula Primrose and Colin Campbell representing the Treasury. Colin Campbell commented: “We are very excited. These motifs are so quintessentially Manx. Our citizens are going to love each and every one of them.” And Raphael Maklouf said: “Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected that. The only thing I wanted was to make beautiful medals. And then Gibraltar happened and now the Isle of Man. We have truly exciting plans for the future. We want to create coins which really suit the Isle of Man. And, of course, their design should be beautiful too.”

Heimo Steriti, CEO of Coin Invest Trust, which is to take over the international sales and distribution of the commemorative coins, ended with this remark: “It is a joy and a privilege to trade coins as beautiful as those planned by Tower Mint for the Isle of Man.”

THE TOWER MINT