It’s that most poignant of times again. Remembrance Day marks the incredible sacrifice of those that fell fighting in the Great War, and has become a regular of the numismatic calendar, especially over the last few years, because it’s been a century since many of those seminal events took place.
This year doesn’t mark the centennial of any event from the war, but does mark 100 years since a British Army soldiers body, of undetermined identity, was interred in London’s Westminster Abbey. Buried simultaneously with a French soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, on 11 November 1920, the burial was meant to represent the countless soldiers that were killed in this brutal war and who did not have a proper gravesite to mark them.
As for the coin, it’s a superb effort. You expect the poppies and the ‘Lest We Forget’ inscription, so it’s about how they’ve been used in the overall design that gives each annual issue its individuality. Designer Natasha Preece has gone for a simple, yet striking look, relying almost exclusively on the negative space created by surrounding a silhouette of a WWI soldier in the poppies. It’s an impeccable piece of work that perfectly encapsulates the message.
Two variants are on offer. The first is a standard ounce of sterling silver, struck to a proof standard. The second is identical in every regard, except as a piedfort, is twice the weight. We’ve never been huge fans of piedfort commemoratives and would rather see the increased weight of metal employed in a bigger diameter. Best of all, there’s a terrific looking set (£280) with a 100 mintage, that includes the 1 oz variant, along with eight circulating coins from 1920, including three carrying Britannia designs. A wonderful piece of history – something that numismatics do so well. All variants are available now, along with a base metal version for the budget minded, but no gold.