Royal Mints 2020 Remembrance Day issue marks a centenary since the internment of the Unknown Warrior

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.

PRESS RELEASE

As the original maker of UK coins, The Royal Mint has marked milestone moments in history for over a thousand years. Today it has revealed a new coin, created in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, to commemorate Remembrance Day 2020.

The coin’s designer Natasha Preece, who works at The Royal Mint, captures this poignant national event on the coin’s design by honouring the Unknown Warrior. Surrounding the soldier are poppies; a symbol that is synonymous with Remembrance Day and the traditions that surround it.

This year marks the centenary of the ceremonial burial of the Unknown Warrior – the unidentifiable soldier who represented nearly one million servicemen and women who lost their lives serving on Britain’s behalf as a result of the First World War.

Using the latest innovative technology, the poppies that feature on the coin have been digitally printed to add the vivid red colour that is commonly associated to the flower. Additionally, the poppies have been designed to stack upon one another making them appear 3D adding depth to the design whilst also elevating the silhouette of the soldier that sits at the heart of the coin.

Natasha Preece, Coin Designer at The Royal Mint, commented on her design, “I wanted to create something unique and different to commemorate 100 years since the ceremonial burial of the Unknown Warrior. I knew from the start that it should incorporate a silhouette of a soldier to represent all the soldiers who had fallen in the line of duty.

“In addition to that, I felt that the coin should feature the common poppy as a prominent part of the design due to its strong association with the First World War, and symbolism of those that died during the conflict.”

Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of the Commemorative Coin Division at The Royal Mint said, “We have been commemorating historical moments in history on UK coins for a millennium, and each year we create a poignant design to commemorate Remembrance Day and those who gave their lives.

“This year’s coin pays tribute to the Unknown Warrior, the unidentifiable soldier that represents around one million servicemen and women who lost their lives as a result of the First World War. The Royal Mint’s Remembrance Day commemorative coin is a poignant reminder of the brave men and women in our Armed Forces – past and present.”

Imperial War Museums (IWM) have worked in association with the Royal Mint on a variety of coins commemorating conflict and remembrance. David Fenton, IWM Head of Retail and Admissions, commented “We are honoured to once again be working with The Royal Mint on their Remembrance Day coin. Marking the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior is a particularly poignant historical moment to remember. A donation from each purchase of these commemorative coins will ensure that the stories of those who have lived, fought and died in conflict since 1914 continue to be heard.”

In 1920, the decision was made to honour all those who had lost their lives while serving in the forces during the First World War with the ceremonial burial of an anonymous fallen hero. The unnamed soldier would symbolise all those who made the journey to the frontlines and never returned home. The Royal Mint commemorates the 100th anniversary of this poignant national event by honouring the Unknown Warrior on an official UK coin for the first time.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION £5 UKP £5 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 28.28 grams 56.56 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.61 mm 38.61 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 1,920 700
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
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