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 are being released simultaneously, but can 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 has brought the Royal Mint website to its knees today. From early this morning until late tonight, the website has been under constant heavy load, even going down for a period. We’ve logged in a few times and seen queue numbers running from 700 to well over 20,000. It’s just over an hour to midnight in the UK and the queue currently stands in excess of 6,000 people. Anybody that says coin collecting isn’t a big thing in the UK might want to check the potential. And maybe we were wrong on the stupidy of the Queuing coin…..
It’s taken a bit of work, but 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.