Remembrance 2016. Alderney and the Royal Mint issue new silver coins
Remembrance Day 2016. Alderney and the Royal Mint issue new silver coins
Remembrance Day is fast approaching. Observed on 11th November to commemorate the 1918 end of hostilities of the First World War, the memorial is marked by Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty. Because of the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, the day has become inextricably linked with the red poppy flower. After reading the poem, Moina Michael, a professor at the University of Georgia, wrote the poem, “We Shall Remember,” and swore to wear a red poppy on the anniversary. The custom spread and poppies were worn for the first time at the 1921 anniversary ceremony. At first real poppies were worn. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.
Alderney has been issuing a Remembrance Day coin with the help of the Royal Mint for some years now and there have been some fine designs amongst them. Always incorporating the traditional poppy flower so associated with the day in Britain, they have nevertheless shown a good degree of variation. The first one we covered was in 2013, a reissue of Emma Nobles 2012 design depicting a single large poppy. A falling poppies design in 2014 by Laura Clancy was a bit different, although not quite as nice as the 2013 in our view. Eschewing inscriptions for an all-over piece of art, Glyn Davies did the design last year, and it was an attractive, arty work.
COIN & PACKAGING
This year is another all new design, and by a first time Remembrance Day coin designer, Thomas Docherty. There’s certainly no shortage of poppies in his reverse side artwork, but it is extremely well done and very appropriate for the subject matter. We can imagine collectors of these coins being very pleased with the design. The obverse carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Despite being a Royal Mint coin, it sticks with the older Ian Rank Broadley effigy instead of the new Jody Clark one from last year. The issuer (ALDERNEY), denomination (FIVE POUNDS), Queens name (ELIZABETH II) and date (2016) are all inscribed around the portrait.
There are two ostensibly identical versions of the coin available. Both are sterling (0.925) silver, one a standard ounce (28.28 g) and the other double that weight. Diameter remains the same as the weight has been put completely towards thickness – it’s a piedfort coin. The standard coin is a relatively pricey £80. The piedfort a simply staggering £160. Our recommendation is the smaller coin for obvious reasons. We said this last year “Given the cost of design, dies, packaging, advertising and the myriad other expenses that go into modern coins are pretty much identical for both, it’s clear that the metal content is the only real difference with regards to the production cost, which leaves the only real extra as being around £8 worth of metal. Charging an extra £80 for that is stretching economics too far for us“. We stand by that this year. Please Royal Mint, lets have some realism applied to piedfort prices. Both boxed, with a COA, they’re available to order now.
On November 11, poppy wreaths are laid across the country as a mark of respect for those who have given their lives in the service of their country, and those engaged in modern day conflicts. Each year The Royal Mint plays its own part in Remembrance, releasing a coin created by one of our own coin designers. For 2016 Thomas Docherty has taken the poppy, a symbol of remembrance but also one of hope, for his reverse design. His poppy wreath has been enhanced by colour printing with the vivid red petals highlighted by the minting technique. The moving inscription, “their name liveth for evermore”, completes the design.
The coin has been struck in 925 sterling silver, finished to Proof standard, and is presented in a case with a booklet on remembrance and the inspiration behind this year’s design. This year’s coin has been endorsed by Imperial War Museums and a donation from every coin purchased will be made to the organisation to support their important work.
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